Cheesy Cauliflower Pancakes

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This recipe comes from here, with only slight modifications.

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder*
  • sour cream
  • olive oil

Cut caulifower into florets and cook in boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and mash while still warm.

Stir cheese, eggs, bread crumbs, cayenne and garlic to taste.

Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil over medium-high heat.  Form the mixture into patties about 3 inches across. Cook until golden brown and set, about 3 minutes per side.

Serve with sour cream.

* Note that I know I added one other spice. I’m guessing onion powder, but it might have been something else. I wish I’d jotted this down earlier, as it turned out perfect. That said, you can really adjust the spices to match whatever you want. The original recipe also called for salt, but as usual I omitted it and did not seem to suffer ill effects. I may have used a bunch more cheese than indicated.

This is one of those recipes that’s nearly infinitely maleable.  I’m going to post the recipe as it actually appears in my files, and then at the end I’ll tell you how I normally change it.

  • 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon powdered mustard
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg
  • 12 oz. sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • fresh black pepper


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup bread crumbs


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta to al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and mustard and keep it moving for about five minutes. Make sure it’s free of lumps.
  3. Stir in the milk, onion, bay leaf, and paprika.  Simmer for ten minutes and remove the bay leaf.
  4. Temper in the egg. Stir in 3/4 of the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the pasta into the mix and pour into a 2-quart cassarole dish.  Top with remaining cheese.
  5. Melt the butter and toss with bread crumbs to coat.  Top the mixture withthe bread crumbs.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.


First off, use whatever pasta you like. I do tend to use macaroni, but I’ve used baby shell pasta to great effect, too.

Secondly, a half teaspoon of paprika?  Seriously?  Pfft.  I put in a lot.  I love paprika.

Thirdly, 12 oz. of cheese is aproximately 340 grams.  I find using aprox. 120 g of goat cheese and 250 g of double-smoked cheddar to go in the mix itself makes it really creamy and really tasty.  To top, I use either shredded mozzerella or sometimes (when I’m feeling lazy) some Kraft shredded cheese mix.

Forthly, I add in a lot of stuff.  I take 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cube them to bite-size chunks, then cook them in a fry pan until cooked through.  Or you can bbq the whole breasts and chop them up after.  I add them in just before I add the pasta. 

I also add in about a cup of frozen peas.  You can really add in anything you like: I like the chicken and peas combination, but you can add diced ham and mushrooms, maybe, or mushrooms and maybe some red peppers for a vegetarian version, or whatever.  Just so long as it’s cooked or will reheat nicely in the oven while it’s baking, it’ll be just fine.

And finally, I also add about a half cup of grated Parmesean cheese and a half cup of chopped parsley to the bread crumb topping.

This can be made ahead a day or two, or even frozen for later use — I don’t put the bread crumb topping on it until just before it goes in the oven, for fear of it getting a bit soggy.  Thaw before baking.  If cooking from room temperature or cooler (if it’s been in the fridge for a day, say), bake for 45 mintues to an hour rather than 30.