When you want a lighter, lower-carb side dish, reach for this Baked Loaded Cauliflower. It has all the decadent flavor of a baked potato without the heaviness.
I love when a short and simple ingredient list yields a flavorful and desirable dish. My family request this recipe instead of mashed or baked potatoes sometimes.
And unless you are a crazy person like me who shreds his own cheese and makes homemade ranch dressing, you can actually find all this stuff ready to go and just toss it in the oven.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top of the post, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the full recipe card with ingredient measurements and instructions.
OK. This recipe is REALLY easy to make, and only takes a few minutes of active work time, like 5 minutes. Start by tossing the florets in a bowl with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then lay them out on a foil-lined sheet pan (for easy clean-up) and roast until they begin to brown.
When they have browned a bit, add the bacon bits to the pan, and the cheddar cheese. Then place the pan under the broiler until the cheese melts and crisps.
When the cheese is crispy, remove the pan from the oven and drizzle with ranch, and top with the green onions. And it is ready to eat!
This is a great side for when you are grilling in the summer. It goes great next to a perfectly cooked steak.
Notes & Tips
The key to really getting this recipe to be great is roasting at a high temperature. If the cauliflower isn't browning after 20 minutes turn the broiler on too high and get it a little brown before adding the bacon and cheese.
If you want to make this really easy, buy already cut-up cauliflower, and premade bacon bits. I even see cut green onions in the prepared foods section too.
To make the best ranch ever, make it freshly homemade to the recipe on the back of the hidden valley seasoning bottle. It is ½ cup mayo (use a good one like dukes or hellman's) and ½ cup milk. Then whisk in 2 ½ tablespoons of the ranch seasoning. It makes THE BEST ranch EVER!!!
This recipe can also be made with broccoli. Or a mix of broccoli and cauliflower. I often do with both and it is just as amazing!
If you would like to keep this vegetarian, you can omit the bacon. But don't skimp on it if you don't.
I usually keep Tillamook's sharp cheddar around, I buy the big block and shred it myself. But white cheddar or even gruyere would be a good cheese substitute here too.
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