Baby kale, broccoli, cauliflower and cheddar bake is my take on my favorite mac and cheese casserole with a twist; only it's without the mac! It's made with a blend of fresh baby kale, steamed broccoli and cauliflower topped with cheddar and parmesan cheeses, then baked with some cream until the cheeses have melted, and the veggies are tender. So good, the kids kept asking for seconds!
I like to think of it this way, it's like eating my favorite mac and cheese, only it's vegetables and cheese! It's very light, and creamy without it being weighed down with a lot of cream. Even the leftovers are amazing when reheated in the microwave the very next day.
I've even made this a second time and added a sprinkle of fresh spinach in there as well. It was amazing!
As the designated cook in the house, I have to think of different ways of making vegetables look and taste delicious week after week. It's a huge challenge, mind-boggling, and even daunting at times just to figure out what to do with them. As I try my best, sometimes they turn out great, and sometimes not-so-great. This one that definitely made it to my "great" list.
This creamy vegetable-cheese bake turned out so delicious! I loved the fact that I was able to hide the healthy greens in there to avoid hearing complaints from my picky eaters.
Steaming the broccoli and cauliflower is relatively easy, then you layer the baking dish with fresh kale on the bottom. Then transfer and the broccoli and cauliflower and cover the layer of kale, followed by scattering the two kinds of cheeses on top. Drizzle with some cream over it and bake for 20 minutes.
It's a perfect dish for those busy nights when you need a quick side. Only 10 minutes to prepare, then bake. I served it as the main course on one of our meatless Fridays along with a green salad. Dinner came together in no time!
The texture of the cauliflower and broccoli is very tender and creamy, while the thin layer of kale on the bottom is mildly sweet, similar taste to Swiss chard or baby spinach.
Best of all, the kale is completely hidden (that's the part I love). Everyone loved it! The creaminess and cheesiness in this casserole reminds me of my favorite classic macaroni and cheese; only this one is gluten-free! Without the macaroni! Enjoy!
Thank you for stopping by and hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Baked Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower and Cheese
- 1 small head fresh cauliflower- rinsed, cord, cut into 2-inch florets
- 1 small head fresh broccoli -rinsed, cord, cut into 2-inch florets
- fresh baby kale, about 2 cups or more
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 2 cups shredded mild cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- optional: fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 8 x 8 Pyrex baking dish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. First, steam the broccoli and cauliflower: Place the broccoli and cauliflower in a large pot filled with 1 inch of water. Sprinkle with salt over the vegetables. And cover with a lid. Set it over high heat.
2. Bring water to a boil, lower and simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the broccoli turns into a bright green color. Turn off the heat. Drain water, and transfer them back into the pot and set it aside, covered for additional 3 to 4 minutes to steam the vegetables until they are tender to the bite. Then, remove the cover to stop the cooking.
3. Meantime, layer with fresh baby kale on the bottom of an 8 x 8 Pyrex baking dish and spread evenly.
4. Transfer the steam vegetables on top the baby kale. Scatter on top with grated Parmesan cheese, and then with cheddar cheese. Drizzle the heavy cream over the vegetables.
Optional: Season with some fresh cracked pepper to taste.
5. Place the baking dish, uncovered into the oven.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is completely melted and the cream has slightly thickened. Remove and set aside for a few minutes to cool down before serving.