Recipe: $4.84 | Per Serving: $0.81 | Yield: 6
We've got you covered for vegetable side dishes for Christmas! This loaded cauliflower dish is a perfect side dish for dinner parties, holidays, and family dinners. It is mostly vegetables, but it's packed with flavor thanks to cheddar cheese and bacon!
First things first: I don't care how annoying Jack Johnson's Bubble Toes is. It brings a little happy feeling in my stomach of jamming out to the song back in my college dorm room while wearing flowy skirts and being weird. Totally unrelated to this post, except that I'm listening to it right now.
Second: This is something you should take to all your potlucks, cookouts, and holiday gatherings. It is kind of like loaded baked potato skins without the potato. (Although, cauliflower will never be potato.) And for you bacon lovers out there - this has bacon. You're welcome.
Let's talk about this stuff. It's got all your favorite loaded baked potato flavors, but with cauliflower! I don't even like bacon. Seriously, I don't. And this was still amazing. Oh and there's a reason the cauliflower looks yellow. It's technically "cheddar cauliflower" from my CSA box. Which apparently has a more ""buttery" flavor, but I thought it tasted basically the same.
I really love potatoes. Let's just put that out there. French fries are my raison d'être. (Well, and pizza. Pizza is my food Patronus though. And chocolate-chip cookies.) But I do have a few problems with potatoes. Sometimes, they're put in delicious dishes where they get sad and soggy. And that is when I don't love them. Crunchy breakfast potatoes? Fantastic. Crunchy breakfast potatoes at home = awesome. But when they're covered in things like cheese and vegetables and eggs and not eaten right away, they get less awesome. They get soggy.
We recently had Poutine during our trip to Canada, and it was probably the saltiest thing I'd ever eaten, though still good. However, after all the crispy fries were consumed, neither of us wanted the gravy-laden sad and soggy ones left at the bottom. (PLUS: potatoes are super starchy and not super nutritious.) These are the reasons I didn't use potatoes.
And why I think this dish is so perfect with cauliflower! It's like taking those flavorless loaded twice-baked potatoes you could buy in the freezer section of TGIF-branded food (like, really TGIF, you're only confirming all your appetizers come from cardboard boxes), and adding actual flavor, some leafy greens (swiss chard!), and removing the starchy potatoes. Because you should save the potatoes for crispy perfection.
I will say that this is definitely not the cheapest thing on the menu because it's not really a full dinner for 6 people; however, I calculated for pretty expensive white cheddar ($4 for 7 oz), and Straus Organic Yogurt, both of which could be replaced with a cheaper option if necessary. We splurged a bit. You can replace the $6 Straus yogurt with $3 TJ's organic plain yogurt. Feel free to sub out the swiss chard for a different green, or bulk up the meal by mixing in some chicken, or maybe even adding some potatoes. ;)
This dish was an instant hit. For realz.
Loaded Cauliflower Casserole With Swiss Chard & Bacon
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets (4 cups)
- 2 slices bacon
- ¾ cup plain full-fat yogurt I used regular, but Greek would be great too
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup cheddar cheese shredded
- 3 green onions thinly sliced (can use chives too!)
- 2 cups swiss chard or spinach, kale, etc., shredded
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Cut cauliflower into florets and steam or boil however you’d like. Drain, and mash a few of them to help create a denser consistency.
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon! You can use the oven method, or fry it on the stove. Then chop it into pieces. Reserve half for topping.
- Chop the green onions and separate the whites from the greens. Reserve greens for topping. Chop or shred the swiss chard. (You can optionally cook the swiss chard in the microwave for about 30 seconds to wilt it.)
- Add yogurt to a large bowl, mince and add the garlic, about half of the cheese, and the spices and mix well. Add the cauliflower, swiss chard, white part of the onion, and ½ the bacon to the yogurt cheese mixture and mix well. Pour into a well-greased baking dish. Top with remaining bacon and cheddar cheese and bake, covered, for about 20-25 minutes. If you want the cheese to get bubbly, remove the lid and bake an additional 5 minutes.