Have you ever tried a cauliflower gratin? This is a healthier twist on the cheesy potato dish you might be familiar with and would be perfect on a spring holiday table and suits the dietary needs of practically everyone, whether they be paleo, autoimmune, vegan, kosher… or an ordinary omnivore who just loves tasty food! The star ingredient is all dressed up with a dairy-free sauce and topped with a grain-free crunchy crust. To my pleasant surprise, the leftovers also held up well and reheated nicely.

Notes on ingredients

This cauliflower gratin does require a few specialty ingredients, but ones that you will be happy to stock in your pantry for other uses, particularly if you are following a grain-free and dairy-free diet like the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP).

The cream sauce is built upon coconut milk, cassava flour for thickening, and nutritional yeast for flavor. See below for my brand recommendations and links to buying information:

In my recipe testing, I found that I had the best results when I also added some homemade bone broth to the sauce. If you don’t want to make your own broth, check out the post here to see buying options. If you are serving vegans, use homemade vegetable broth or just a cup of plain filtered water.

To make the crunchy topping, you need a package of cassava flatbread, such as the Yucan Crunch sold by Mission Heirloom in Berkeley, California. You may be able to find a similar product in a well stocked international market under the name “casabe bread,” but your best bet may be to order online.

As always, my favorite place to buy AIP-friendly shelf-stable ingredients is ShopAIP! Be sure to check out the regular sales and other staples while you are there and use code SHOP to get 10% off your first purchase.

Notes for healing/special diets

AIP, Paleo, Whole30 – This cauliflower gratin recipe is dairy-free, grain-free, gluten-free, nut-free, and nightshade-free and therefore 100% compliant with the elimination phase of the Paleo autoimmune protocol (AIP) and also meets the requirements of the Whole30.

Specific Carbohydrate (SCD) – Cassava is a starchy vegetable and is illegal on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). You could make this recipe without the thickening flour or the topping and just turn it into a creamy cauliflower dish, or if you tolerate almond flour I think you could make a nice crunchy topping using that.

FODMAP – My apologies to my friends who need to be low-FODMAP. Cauliflower is probably not your friend and there is no way around that! I sympathize… even today after years of healing, I have to be careful not to eat too much cauliflower in a single meal or else I have uncomfortable gas.


AIP Cauliflower Gratin Recipe

Creamy Cauliflower Gratin (AIP, Paleo, Vegan)
Recipe type: Side Dish
Serves: 4-6 servings
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Turn boring cauliflower into an inviting side dish with this dairy-free cauliflower gratin recipe. It's perfect for holiday dinners. Make extra because the leftovers keep and reheat very well.
  • 1 large head of cauliflower trimmed and cut into ¾ inch florets (about 4-6 cups in total)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 tablespoon cassava flour
  • 1½ cups coconut milk
  • 1 cup bone broth (or vegetable broth for vegan)
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • salt
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
To make the topping
  1. In a large skillet, melt coconut oil. Add crushed cassava flatbread and ¼ teaspoon salt.
  2. Mix thoroughly, then remove from skillet to a small bowl and set aside. Do not clean skillet
To make the filling
  1. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a large pot and add 1 teaspoon salt. Add cauliflower and cook for just 2-3 minutes, until lightly tender. Drain into a colander and rinse with cold water and allow to dry as much as possible.
  2. Using same skillet you used to make the topping, melt coconut oil over medium heat. Add shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes, until softened.
  3. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant.
  4. Stir in cassava flour and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Immediately whisk in coconut milk and broth. Increase heat to bring mixture to a boil, then remove from heat.
  6. Add mace, ¼ teaspoon salt, thyme and nutritional yeast.
To assemble and bake
  1. Arrange cauliflower in a 3 quart casserole or gratin dish.
  2. Pour coconut milk mixture over cauliflower and mix gently to insure all cauliflower is evenly coated.
  3. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the filling.
  4. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown on top and sauce is bubbling.
  5. Serve immediately.


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