This Creamy Cauliflower Gratin is delicious and savory without the dairy or the coconut! It’s the perfect side dish, great for the holidays and is AIP, paleo, vegan and Whole30 compliant.
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Here’s a creamy dairy and coconut-free side dish that is AIP, paleo, vegan, Whole30 compliant and sure to please. The hidden ingredient(s) in this Cauliflower Gratin? Zucchini and butternut squash! These ingredients make this “cheese” sauce creamy and give it a yellow colour.
To make this Creamy Cauliflower Gratin, you sauté peeled and chopped zucchini and butternut squash with onions, garlic and spices. Next, add these ingredients with apple cider vinegar and water to a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Return mixture to stovetop and add in tapioca starch slurry to thicken the mixture. Boil cauliflower in salted water for 3 minutes. Arrange the gratin by adding 1/2 the ‘cheese’ sauce to the baking dish, followed by the cauliflower, a sprinkle of fresh parsley and then remaining sauce. In this recipe, I’ve added some Grain-Free Seasoned Coating Mix from Paleo Powder to the top of the dish which gives it a crispy and flavorful crust. You can also add some crushed plantain or cassava chips, or AIP sourdough breadcrumbs (omit for Whole30).
Creamy Cauliflower Gratin FAQs
Can I substitute cauliflower in this dish?
Broccoli would probably work really nicely here alongside or as a substitute for the cauliflower.
Can I use arrowroot starch in place of tapioca?
I haven’t tried myself but these two are usually swappable.
Can I omit the vinegar?
If you can’t tolerate vinegar, you can omit it here but this is what gives the sauce that acidic and cheese like flavor. You might want to compensate for that with the addition of some nutritional yeast, more parsley and garlic powder to add some more “oomph” to the sauce.
Where can I find AIP Paleo Powder?
Shop AIP sells this AIP compliant – Grain-free seasoned coating mix that I used in this recipe. As I’ve noted above, you can omit this, use crushed AIP compliant cassava chips or AIP sourdough breadcrumbs as an alternative.
Here’s a demo:
Looking for more creamy AIP coconut-free recipes? Try:
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Creamy Cauliflower Gratin
This Creamy Cauliflower Gratin is delicious and savory without the dairy or the coconut! It’s the perfect side dish and great for the holidays and is AIP, paleo, vegan and Whole30 compliant.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Side dishes
- 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 cups zucchini, peeled and cubed*
- 1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed
- 1.5 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 TBSP tapioca starch + 1 TBSP water
- 6 cups cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 1 TBSP parsley, chopped
- 1–2 TBSP paleo powder grain-free coating (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375F and set a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil to medium heat.
- Add onions and garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently until onions begin to turn translucent.
- Add chopped zucchini, butternut squash, sea salt and thyme and cook 10-12 minutes or until zucchini and squash have become soft.
- Once zucchini and squash are soft, add to a high powered blender along with apple cider vinegar and filtered water and blend until combined into a smooth sauce.
- Return the blended mixture to the skillet and turn the heat to medium.
- Make a slurry by combining the tapioca starch and water.
- Add slurry to zucchini mixture and whisk to combine until mixture begins to thicken.
- Remove sauce from heat and set aside.
- Pre-cook cauliflower in the salted boiling water for 3 mins**
- Strain cauliflower and set aside.
- Fill an 8×8 baking dish with half the ‘cheese’ mixture.
- Add cauliflower and sprinkle with chopped parsley.
- Add remaining cheese mixture and top with grain-free coating (optional)
- Bake in middle rack of the oven for 20 mins then broil 3-4 mins (optional)
- Serve warm.
* peeling the zucchini is optional, but note that if you keep the skins on your sauce will be green rather than yellow
* *Be careful not to overcook the cauliflower at this point because you will be baking it and don’t want it to be mushy.
Keywords: cauliflower, cauliflower gratin, coconut-free, dairy-free, vegan, aip, paleo, whole30