This side dish is one of my husband’s favorite recipes.  For the past couple of months, I’ve changed my way of eating to a keto based diet. Let me say it is hard being the only person in the household on a diet! However, for me, this was the only successful diet where I was able to lose that final stubborn baby weight I still had, no matter how much I exercised after my son was born. All the baby weight is gone plus another ten pounds thanks to eating keto! I don’t feel like I’m starving myself at all, and I love this way of eating but that is another story in itself. I will add that when you are feeding a husband who doesn’t want any “diet food” and a toddler who is picky little eater, dinner time can be challenging! Thankfully, both have loved my keto dishes and I’ll always make a carb side dish for them anyway, which they appreciate and enjoy. After knowing a friend of mine who was successful on this diet, I decided to jump on board myself. I found out that many foods I already ate, I could still eat on the keto diet! However, one of the foods I couldn’t eat anymore was potatoes.  Potatoes have always been my weakness. I have always loved loaded baked potatoes! Let’s face it,  who doesn’t love a cheesy baked potato? They are wonderful! But they are also so carb heavy. So, after the initial shock and sadness of giving up potatoes wore off, I noticed that many people on this diet substitute cauliflower for potatoes.  I decided it was worth giving it a try.

Generally speaking, cauliflower is very versatile vegetable and can be substituted for other carb heavy ingredients in dishes. I decided to venture out and make some baked loaded cauliflower and test it out on my family to see if they would like it. If it passed their taste bud tests, it would be a side dish I would start to make for my family. My husband, who is not on any diet whatsoever and has no interest to ever be on one, ended up loving this dish! He was shocked at how cauliflower was used in this recipe and that it also tasted so good. My son, who is a picky little toddler himself, also ate every bite on his plate as well. It was a success!! My husband now requests this side dish quite often and it’s always a hit when I make it every single time.  It is pretty easy to make too, and I know it’s a healthier option for my family which is of course always good. This vegetable is loaded with many healthy benefits. It has vitamin C, vitamin K, protein, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. That’s a lot of stuff!  So here you go, hope you enjoy making easy baked loaded cauliflower!

Easy Baked Loaded Cauliflower

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes

Author: Life of a Cherry Wife

Skill Level: Easy

Serving: Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1- 8oz package cream cheese
  • 8 oz shredded cheese (any kind, I use mixed blend)
  • Spices: salt, pepper, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder (all to taste)
  • chopped green onion (for topping)
  • bacon bits (optional, for topping)

Instructions:

1. Take one head of cauliflower and cut it up into bite sized flourets and stem pieces.

2. In a medium/large pot, steam cauliflower on medium/ high heat. Steam until flourets become soft when poked with a fork and fork goes through.

3. In separate microwave safe mixing bowl, add the 8oz pack of softened cream cheese (I soften cream cheese by microwaving for 30 seconds). Add 3/4 of the shredded cheese, spices and half of the green onion. Spices are added to taste. Mix all of it together.

4. In a baking dish (I used 9×11 glass casserole dish) add the steamed cauliflower florets. On top of the softened florets, spread the cream cheese mixture.

5. With a potato masher, mash up and mix the cauliflower and mixture until it is evenly coated.

6. Once evenly coated, sprinkle the remaining shredded cheese,  green onion and bacon bits topping.

7. Place in oven covered with foil paper for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

You can also add a dollop of sour cream or chives to this dish as well when you are plating it.

Easy and delicious. Enjoy! ☺️