Smashed Cauliflower with Cheese Recipe…Perfect for the Picky Eater!
Have you ever known a person who will complain about dinner before he even knows what it might be? Have you ever known someone who lives for sweets, yet will choose to forego dessert to avoid having to eat the vegetable? Meet…my middle child.
I am so fortunate that two of my three children have expanded palates and are open to trying new foods. However, my middle child, who once loved all foods and textures, now makes a face whenever he detects a vegetable. Believe me, I’ve experienced dramatic meltdowns over something as tasty as homemade chicken and vegetable soup, a favorite dish of everyone else in the family…
I always thought my kids would love vegetables just like I do. Of course, I’m also the naive one who once thought that bananas would be my kids’ only “candy,” they’d never watch too much television, they’d sit quietly at a restaurant….blah, blah, blah. You know how it is! 😆 We all have these thoughts in our heads before children, but you never know until you’re actually parenting these little rascals. Anyway, back to the vegetables.
I have tried so many ways to make them more appetizing: zucchini fries, mashed potatoes with so much gravy you can’t see the potato…broccoli covered in a pile of parmesan cheese so high that if you breathe too heavy, it will blow everywhere…carrots glazed with honey…roasted asparagus doused in butter, sweet potatoes roasted into chips…you get the picture. Yet, my middle child will agonize over having to eat even the smallest portions that I give him, and when I say small, I mean only two or three pieces of a vegetable – not even half of a normal portion. Until one day, I discovered that if I smash the cauliflower florets into flat discs, top them with cheese, and bake them until the edges are crispy, my middle child actually asks for more! What?! Hallelujah, it’s a miracle! This has literally made dinnertime a million times more pleasant. Plus, they are SO SIMPLE to make!
So, if you have a picky eater, try this and see if it works for you. Just be sure the cauliflower is nice and soft or it won’t flatten. I recommend adding an extra minute to your steaming time. I’ve also topped these with bacon pieces, and that’s just a no-brainer because everyone loves bacon!
- Cauliflower Florets, Well Done, Steamed or Roasted
- Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
- Garlic Powder
- Green Onion, Chopped – Optional
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil and spray with a nonstick cooking spray…or simply use a sheet of parchment paper for even easier cleaning.
- Using a glass or jar with a flat bottom, smash the cauliflower floret until it’s just a little larger than a golf ball.* I use a small juice glass – the kind that grandmas always have in their cupboards – perfect for little hands, and now for smashing cauliflower!
- Top with cheese and season to taste with the salt, pepper and garlic powder.
- Place on the lower rack of the oven. Bake until edges are crisp and brown, and cheese is melted. Time will vary, depending on your oven. Check at 10 minutes. Continue to cook at 2-3 minute intervals to ensure the cauliflower does not burn.
- Once baked, remove from the oven, top with green onions and serve.
*Don’t worry if the cauliflower appears to fall apart after you smash it. The melted cheese will hold it together.