Cauliflower Rice Gratin with Kale and Leeks

by Rebekahcooked up on November 1, 2017

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is how crazy it is. I loooove the fact that the house is full of people – friends and family and spouses and kids and more. I love that there are four things for dessert, and that dessert is the only thing done ahead of time. I love the process of breakfast and coffee and making all the sides and waiting for the turkey to be done in my mom’s giant electric roaster.

Cauliflower Rice Gratin with Kale and Leeks - the perfect easy, vegetarian Thanksgiving side | PDXfoodlove

It’s truly amazing to me how Thanksgiving is the end of a long chain of food safety. To get to my kitchen, farmers, manufacturers, distributors and grocers all have to keep that food safe – and when I bring it home to my kitchen, it’s my job to keep the food safe, too. That’s why I’m pleased to be working with the Partnership for Food Safety Education to talk about food safety this Thanksgiving – thanks, guys, for sponsoring this post! 

This year, I’m excited to be at my parents’ home again for Thanksgiving. I’m hoping to make my famous chocolate pie — and also a new recipe I’ve created for this year, a cauliflower and kale gratin!

Cauliflower Rice Gratin with Kale and Leeks - the perfect easy, vegetarian Thanksgiving side | PDXfoodlove

My mom will be doing most of the cooking and kitchen directing, and Dave and I will be cooking up a storm too. Since there will be so much going on, I’m going to take a quick moment to review all the quick tips from Partnership for Food Safety Education for making sure we keep our dinner safe – check them out here!. If you’re sharing Thanksgiving with some little ones, the website also has a fun video and downloadable placemats you can share with them!

Cauliflower Rice Gratin with Kale and Leeks - the perfect easy, vegetarian Thanksgiving side | PDXfoodlove

While you’re preparing your holiday meals, make sure to follow the Core Four Food Safety Practices!  

  1. Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often. Bacteria can be spread throughout the kitchen and get onto hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops and food.
  2. Separate: Don’t cross contaminate. Cross-contamination is how bacteria can be spread. Improper handling of raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs can create an inviting environment for cross-contamination.  As a result harmful bacteria can spread to food and throughout the kitchen.
  3. Cook: Cook to the safe internal temperature. Food is safely cooked when it reaches a high enough internal temperature to kill the harmful bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of cooked foods.
  4. Chill: Refrigerate promptly. Keeping a constant refrigerator temperature of 40°F or below is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness.

This recipe, while it’s deliciously cheesy, is healthy, too! It’s also SO easy, it will be the fastest thing done on your Thanksgiving table. That’s because I used frozen cauliflower rice! Plus some roughly chopped kale and fresh leeks. The result? Cheesy, veggie goodness that comes together in minutes. It’s the perfect side for carnivores or a substantial dish for vegetarians, too.

Cauliflower Rice Gratin with Kale and Leeks - the perfect easy, vegetarian Thanksgiving side | PDXfoodlove

I’m going to tell you a secret: when I photographed this recipe, I ate it all week for lunch. And I was not mad about it. Because you know the true sign of a great holiday food? That it makes GREAT leftovers. Who’s with me??

OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER!!!!!!1 Hey peeps, I mentioned it earlier, but this is a sponsored post! I never work with organizations that I wouldn’t personally support, and my opinions are my own. If you have any questions, just holler! 

Cauliflower Rice Gratin with Kale and Leeks

Cauliflower Rice Gratin with Kale and Leeks

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. frozen cauliflower rice
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen chopped kale
  • 1 leek, washed, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3/4 cup grated fontina cheese, made from pasteurized milk
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

Instructions

  1. Start by washing your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
  2. Wash your cutting boards and countertops with hot soapy water.
  3. Rinse fresh produce items under cool running tap water. Blot dry with clean cloth towel or paper towel.
  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, stir together kale, cauliflower rice, leek slices and salt.
  6. In a saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour, until the butter is absorbed. Quickly whisk the milk in, breaking up the flour paste completely.
  7. Bring the milk sauce mixture to a slow boil, stirring constantly. When it reaches a boil, cook for 1 minute, still stirring, then remove from heat.
  8. Whisk 3/4 cup of the Parmesan and all of the fontina into the milk sauce mixture until smooth. Carefully transfer to the mixing bowl with the vegetables and stir to coat vegetables.
  9. Transfer the vegetable mixture to a casserole dish and top with remaining Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes. Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Optional: Broil for an additional 5 or so minutes to get some nice color on the top.
  10. Allow to rest for ten minutes before serving.
  11. Top with chopped fresh dill.
  12. Store leftovers in shallow containers within 2 hours of serving. Leftovers will last in the refrigerator up to 3-4 days.
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