Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cauliflower Gratin Recipe

Get all the comforting texture and flavor of a potato gratin and none of the heaviness with this delicious gluten-free, dairy-free cauliflower gratin recipe!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Caulifower Gratin

Give it a try: Madalene Rhyand's Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Caulifower Gratin.

[Updated November 1, 2016]

This easy vegetable dish makes a special hot lunch or a dinner side. It offers excellent flavor and a satisfying creamy texture without dairy or gluten. Good-for-you cauliflower provides healthy nutrients and a firm bite. The perfect antidote for a chilly winter evening.


6-7 cups water
1 large cauliflower
2-3 tablespoons butter or margarine of choice
3 tablespoons brown rice flour or gluten-free flourblend of choice
1 (14-ounce) can lite coconut milk
teaspoon salt or to taste
teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning or your favorite spices
1 medium red or green pepper, chopped into -inch pieces
cup shelled, roasted sunflower seeds or chopped nuts, if tolerated, optional
1 cup reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese or dairy-free cheese alternative, optional
cup fresh parsley, chopped for garnish, optional


1. Bring 6 to 7 cups water to a boil in large pot.

2. Meanwhile, wash cauliflower. Cut out core and discard.

3. Break cauliflower into florets about 2 inches in diameter and toss into boiling water. Water should just cover florets. (To break large florets into smaller ones, cut through stems at bottom and break upward into smaller pieces.)

4. Bring back to a boil. Then turn heat down to medium and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Florets should remain firm, so don’t over-cook.

5. Drain water and set cauliflower aside to cool.

6. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or oil a baking dish.

7. To make sauce, melt butter in a saucepan on low heat. Add flour and stir until combined well. Pour in coconut milk and raise heat to medium/high, stirring constantly until well combined. Add salt, pepper and Italian seasonings and simmer on low heat, 6 to 8 minutes until sauce thickens. Set aside.

8. Arrange florets with stem sides down in prepared baking dish. Sprinkle chopped peppers and seeds or nuts, if desired, over florets.

9. Spoon sauce over top, moving florets if necessary to allow sauce to seep around and down into dish. Let rest 5 minutes.

10. Sprinkle with cheese or Bread Crumb Topping, if desired.

11. Place in preheated oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until tender. Cover if cheese darkens too quickly.

12. Serve hot, garnished with fresh parsley or dill.

Each serving contains 307 calories, 25g total fat, 15g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 11mg cholesterol, 407mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 8g protein.

Bread Crumb Topping


Parmesan cheese or dairy-free cheese alternative can be added to this topping, if desired.

2 slices gluten-free bread, crumbled (about 1 cup)
teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
teaspoon ground turmeric or spice(s) of choice (garlic or onion powder)
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or oil of choice

1. In a bowl, stir ingredients together until well combined.

2. Sprinkle over Cauliflower Gratin. Bake as instructed above.

Recipe by Madalene Rhyand, director of Gluten Free & More’s test kitchen.

Comments (8)

Thank you, was searching for a good breadcrumb receipe, thanks Madalene! You're the best!

Posted by: rosiecross108 | September 16, 2015 12:28 PM    Report this comment

The lines showing dairy ingredients - butter and parmesan - suggest that a non-dairy substitute may be used, making the dish dairy free.

Posted by: LW Moderator | April 17, 2012 2:50 PM    Report this comment

I have a question, if the above recipe, Gluten free, Dairy Free Cauliflower Gratin is dairy free, how come
it lists either butter or margarine in it's ingredients? Are they not dairy? Is Parmesan Cheese not dairy?
Look forward to your comments.

Posted by: Unknown | April 16, 2012 4:18 PM    Report this comment

To make "cheesy" dairy free recipes, I use nutritional yeast instead of parm. Sometimes I will use soaked cashews, sea salt & nutritional yeast that has been whirred in the vitamix until creamy and add that into recipes like this and it works well.

Posted by: Cassy G | January 13, 2012 12:56 PM    Report this comment

In response to the parmesan alternative question, I like garlic gomasio on pasta dishes. You can find it at Whole Foods.

Posted by: Delores F | January 13, 2012 12:51 AM    Report this comment

I can't have cow milk dairy but have been tested safe for goat and sheep products (their proteins are different than the cow milk we drink, which is mostly Holstein. Some people can even drink milk from African or Asian cows, and some can drink milk from Guernsey/Jersey cows--provided the milk is purely from those cows and not mixed in with other milking varieties).

That said, I buy Pecorino Romano sheep cheese, aged 9-months, from COSTCO and grate it. When grated, it looks and taste just like Parmesan. We love it.

I also buy a raw milk milk cheddar goat cheese from Mt Sterling (a Wisconsin local small goat creamery) that I shred; it looks and taste like Mozzerella.

Posted by: Ann C | January 12, 2012 11:30 AM    Report this comment

What dairy free alternative would anyone suggest that would be comparable to parmesan?

Posted by: Diane F | January 12, 2012 11:11 AM    Report this comment

This looks so good! I will certainly try it. I am gluten, dairy and diabetic also so greatly appreciate your recipies. June

Posted by: June Y | January 12, 2012 9:24 AM    Report this comment

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