Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Preserved Lemon and Thyme

This creamy gratin has the vibe of an upscale macaroni and cheese but with nutrient-packed cauliflower instead of macaroni.

Serves: 8Prep: 10 minutesCook: 50 minutesTotal: 1 hourDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 8


  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 pounds cauliflower, about 1 large head, trimmed and chopped into ½” pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon preserved lemon rind, minced
  • 1⁄2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1⁄2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1⁄2 cup Panko bread crumbs


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a large baking sheet and heat in the oven for 3-5 minutes until butter is melted. Add the cauliflower and season with salt and black pepper. Roast the cauliflower for 30-35 minutes, stirring occasionally to lightly brown.
  • In a large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and add the flour and whisk together over low heat to make a roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the roux becomes golden and then gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce is thickened. Stir in 1 teaspoon thyme, preserved lemon, ricotta and ¼ cup of the Parmesan cheese. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and toss with the Panko, remaining Parmesan and remaining ½ teaspoon thyme leaves. Season with additional salt and fresh ground black pepper.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Toss the roasted cauliflower in the cheese sauce to coat evenly. Butter a 2 quart baking dish and spread cauliflower mixture into the dish and top with the seasoned bread crumbs. Place the dish in the oven and roast until golden and bubbly, about 20-25 minutes. Serve warm. Refrigerate leftovers.