Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Loaf is a lower-carb take on my popular Cauliflower Cheese Cake. Although smaller in size, this mini version holds oodles of flavour. Think highly-umami blue cheese crumbles, nutty almond flour and sweetly-fruity pink peppercorns. Enjoy a thick slice – or two – for dinner with plenty of vegetable sides, and perhaps a homemade apple sauce. It is lovely both hot and cold.
Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Loaf. Really?
This savoury loaf may not look or sound all that promising. Cauliflower, while undeniably a top-tier vegetable these days, and super nutritious, is not an expected ingredient in what looks like a cake. But, I pinky-swear that you will not regret giving this a go. It may even tempt the smallest and pickiest members of your family. Especially if you cut their portion into “fingers” and serve with a little pot of ketchup. The blue cheese is not overwhelming and is great for developing budding palates. Most kids like savoury flavours if we give them a chance. If you are a bit nervous though, sub in some grated Cheddar cheese. Or make one of each! They keep well, and you can freeze baked slices to reheat and enjoy at any time.
How easy is this to make?
A dinky, stripped-down version of my crowd-ready Cauliflower Cheese Cake, Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Loaf is remarkably easy to make, and requires only modest effort and skill. If you have children away at college, I really think this is a great recipe to share with them, especially if they are vegetarian. Or trying to eat more vegetables than pizza!
I’ve cheekily asked you to use not-quite-store-cupboard pink peppercorns. But if you don’t have them, just do without. The end result will still be pretty darn fabulous. Though I really do love these fragile little spheres of fruity-hot pepper, finding them an easy way to add an unexpected flavour dimension. I add them as suggested optional ingredient to an upcoming staple low-carb recipe of mine – Low-Carb (Keto) Crackers.
To make this Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Loaf you are essentially just chopping a small cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and steaming it (or you could cook frozen cauliflower, draining well and chopping), then mixing with sautéd shallots (or onion), thyme leaves and some other flavourings. In a mixing bowl you will be whisking up some eggs, almond flour, baking powder and blue cheese, adding the steamed cauliflower and the sautéd, flavoured shallots. Scrape this into an oiled and base-lined loaf tin (the 1 lb size) and bung in the oven for half an hour. That is it! If you like baking sweet cakes, think of this as a nutritious, fiber-rich dinner version.
How easy does this sound?
What do I need?
A small cauliflower – you can use the tender core and leaves too
Olive oil – not much
A fat French shallot or small onion (I think shallots have more flavour)
Fresh thyme leaves
Blue cheese (get vegetarian blue cheese if required; it’s easy to get in the UK) – or a flavourful Cheddar
Almond flour or ground almonds (the former preferred for a smoother result)
Dijon mustard (optional if you hate mustard!)
Turmeric and black pepper
Pink peppercorns (I use Bart’s brand)
Sesame seeds and pine nuts (can use chopped fresh hazelnuts/cobnuts as they are so seasonal right now)
What to serve with Cauliflower and Blue Cheese Loaf
As with my original Cauliflower Cheese Cake, this mini version can go the “roasted dinner” route: roasted potatoes or celeriac, cooked carrots, broccoli spears, gravy. Even a pile of fluffy, puffy Yorkshire puddings or popovers.
My larger cake was developed as a festive vegetarian main dish, so if you fancy this at Thanksgiving or Christmas, surround it with all of the trimmings you might usually have with such a meal. I bet it would be amazing with nippy-sweet cranberry sauce or my Pomegranate and Cranberry Salsa. And, you can certainly scale this one up for a proper extended-family feast – just double the ingredients, put into a round 23 cm cake tin, and bake for about 50 minutes.
One thing I highly recommend is that you serve it with at least one fresh side. You will see in the above image a simple but pretty salad of thinly sliced celeriac and apple. It’s almost no effort and the taste just explodes in your mouth. It makes a nice crisp accompaniment to the softer main dish. I will share this one very soon. But do pop this “dinner cake” on your menu meantime, and tell me below what you think. And don’t forget to rate it, if you try it. Click the stars under the thumbnail image in the recipe card below. 🙂
Blue Cheese Cauliflower Loaf (Low-Carb & Gluten-Free)
A low-carb variation of my Cauliflower Cheese Cake, this mini version holds crumbles of highly-umami blue cheese, almond flour and pink peppercorns. Eat hot or cold.
- 325 g cauliflower
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lg shallot about 60 grams; or onion
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- ½ tsp freshly ground pepper
- ¼ tsp nutmeg freshly grated; otherwise add a bit more
- 100 g almond flour or ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 75 g blue cheese up to 100g
- 3 organic eggs medium (UK) or large (US)
- ½ tsp Dijon mustard optional
- 2 tsp pink peppercorns optional; divided use
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp pine nuts or flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 160C fan/350F. Spray a 1 lb loaf tin with oil spray and line with a strip of nonstick baking parchment paper that overhangs a bit. This will make it easier to lift out.
Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces; finely chop the shallot or onion.
Steam the cauliflower for 8 minutes then allow to cool a bit. If using a microwave, add pieces to a Pyrex bowl along with 2 tbsp of water and cover with a plate. Cook on high for three minutes.
While the cauliflower is steaming, heat the oil in a sauté pan; add the chopped shallot/onion, sautéing gently until translucent and softened – about five minutes for the onion, less for the shallot. Stir in the thyme, turmeric, black pepper and nutmeg, sautéing a further couple of minutes. Finally stir in the cauliflower until coated. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, dry whisk or sift the almond flour and baking powder, stir in the blue cheese and fold in the eggs and mustard, if using. Stir in the cauliflower, Dijon mustard and half of the pink peppercorns.
Scrape the blue cheese cauliflower loaf mix into the prepared loaf tin. If you wish, sprinkle over the remaining pink peppercorns, pine nuts and sesame seeds. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Pull from the oven and let sit on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Use a thin knife to loosen the edges, then pull up the blue cheese cauliflower loaf and cut into thick slices. Serve warm or cool/cold.
Getting ahead: prepare the cake as described and bake for 20 minutes. Cool quickly, cover the tin with thick foil and freeze until use. Bake from frozen at 160C/350F for about 20 minutes, uncovering the foil for the final 10 minutes.
Soft food diet: blend the cauliflower, onions and herbs before mixing with the remaining ingredients. Serve with plenty of gravy.
Go large! To make this for a crowd, double the ingredients and pop into a 23 cm round cake tin and bake for 50 minutes.
Tweak it: if your tastebuds don't accommodate blue cheese, sub in a best-quality Cheddar cheese or part Cheddar and part Parmesan. Bold flavour is key.