Caramelized Cauliflower and Sauteed Kale Casserole

December 2, 2013

Caramelized Cauliflower and Sauteed Kale Casserole

This is the kind of dish I typically make on a Sunday night while watching football.
Other dudes drink beer, and shout at the screen while munching popcorn, nachos or pretty much anything they can get their hands on while watching football. I can’t do it.
First off I can’t sit still for too long (oh yeah, I’m the worst person to go to the movies with!)
Plus during football games there's a ton of commercial breaks; and I hate commercial breaks.
Being passively bombarded by innumerable ads won’t do it for me; I need a distraction.
But, most of all, Sundays are valuable to me.
It’s when I get to do things I don’t have time to do during the week.
Nothing transcendental - nothing like bringing world peace to the world - more like doing ordinary chores.

Caramelized Cauliflower

Over the years I found out that the best thing to do while watching a football game is - surprise, surprise - cook (and, by the way, this is a pro tip, you might want to write it down.)
I’m a devoted football fan, but also a devoted cook. In my world: Football + cooking = awesomeness.
Call me a weirdo if you like, but that’s pretty much how I roll.

Caramelized Cauliflower and Sauteed Kale Casserole

And Sundays are perfect for cooking up healthy lunches to bring to work. Something like a broccoli and zucchini casserole or a paleo moussaka or a spicy quinoa casserole. You’ve got the idea.
Here’s what I do: Open the fridge, look inside, and decide what to make.
You might call it inspiration; I like to call it “making the best with what you have.”
On this particular Sunday (i.e., yesterday) I had a “vision” as soon as I opened the fridge's door: Making a casserole using cauliflower and kale.
I love kale, but I always feel that its strong taste and bitterness needs some toning down. And what’s better than sweet cauliflower?
In a nutshell, here’s what I did: I caramelized the cauliflower in the oven, while I was sauteing the kale on the stove. I mixed everything together with some ricotta cheese, grated Parmesan cheese and a touch of lemon zest. Hop intp the oven and there you have it: an amazing casserole.
It’s total comfort, warm fuzzies and huge flavor. And now I’m hungry.
I’d actually eat it right now for breakfast.

Caramelized Cauliflower and Sauteed Kale Casserole
Caramelized Cauliflower and Sauteed Kale Casserole                                        Print this recipe!


1 medium cauliflower head (about 3 cups when processed), washed, cored and cut into florets
2 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch of kale (about ¾ lb), tough stems and ribs removed, coarsely chopped
1 cup / 8 oz / 225 gr ricotta cheese
zest of ½ lemon
¾ cup / 2 ¼ oz / 64 gr grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish


Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C) and place a rack in the middle. Rub a medium-large baking dish (I used a 9-by-13-inch) with a bit of olive oil. Set aside.
Spread cauliflower florets in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and black pepper.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cauliflower is caramelized, turning once.
In the meantime, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is beginning to soften, 4 minutes.
Add kale, cover with a lid, and cook until almost tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
When the cauliflower is ready, in a large bowl, combine kale, caramelized cauliflower, ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and ½ cup of Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish, top with remaining ¼ cup Parmesan cheese and bake in the oven until top is nice and golden, about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve warm.

Nutrition facts

One serving yields 218 calories, 15 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs and 12 grams of protein.


  1. Cauliflower + Kale? I'm in!

  2. I have sauteed cauliflower on the stove and baled kale before and combined the two with black beans and tomatoes - but your version is incredibly mouthwatering and not to mention - I gotta try sauteing kale instead of baking it!

    1. That black bean + tomatoes + cauli + kale sounds amazing, I wanna try it!

  3. Sounds soooo amazing. Just my taste! I WILL try and most probably love it.
    Keep cooking that kind of stuff.

    Greets, Lisa from Blogschokolade & Butterpost

  4. This looks delicious! One of my favorite easy side dishes is to just roast cauliflower in the oven. It changes the flavor so much and is absolutely amazing. Adding cheese and kale will only make it even better I'm sure!

    1. Roasted cauliflower is indeed awesome, combining it with ricotta and kale is like adding greatness to great! :)

  5. HA! My kind of guy! Surely, you had a nice side of rib steak, with that? Sorry, that's the cavewoman in me talking. Can't get her to sit still... ;)

    And really? You don't shout at the screen, spill beer and spit Doritos all over the place while watching football? Instead, you cook up a storm and clean up the house? You're weird, man! (in a good way, of course, in a good way!)

    1. I actually shout at the screen (especially this season...) but I can cook at the same time. I don't need to be sitting couch for the whole duration of the game.
      You can call me weirdo but in reality I'm one awesome multitasker. ;-)

  6. Looks delicious! I love to cook and bake on Sundays to help get ready for the week ahead when I know I'll not be as motivated to cook.

    1. Thanks Nicole, and yes Sundays are, hands down, the best day to cook AND bake!

  7. in the oven as I type primal meals for the week, this will be Wed, quick heat up after my son's Orchestra concert. Tonight we had the Chicken Parm Meatballs....YUM! Thanks, Mike! xo

  8. In the oven as I type this....banging out primal meals for the week...this will be Wed after my son's Orchestra concert when we are rushed...working mom with two growing boys needs to stay ahead of things! Tonight we had the Chicken Parm Meatballs....made them a little bigger as an entree; they were a hit! I can see trying these super small with toothpicks and bring as an app to a party....gonna keep that one in my back pocket....thanks, Mike!

    1. That's fantastic Andra, I'm so glad you like the meatballs (and hopefully you'll like the casserole too)

      BTW, your son plays in an Orchestra? That's really impressive. Like really impressive!

  9. I only had Kale and Califlower in the fridge, and I thought, hmmmm that might be good together. I decided to do a quick search to see what recipes were out there before trying my hand at it. Thankfully I found this one. I was going to saute it all in a pan. But, after seeing your recipe, I popped the califlower in the oven. I have to admit that I left out the ricottta out because I have two teenagers who wont touch it. Followed everything else. It was sooo yummy, my daughter took the left overs for lunch today. (and there wasn't enough for leftovers for both girls so they flipped for it). I will be making this many times. Thank You!!