Greek-Style Cauliflower Gratin with Feta and Olives

cauliflower gratin Greek style

In my quest to incorporate vegetables more regularly into my meal planning, cauliflower has been taking a prominent role lately. Apart from the delightfully sweet and earthy flavor and crunch of fresh cauliflower, it's a wonderfully versatile vegetable that can star with so many other strong-flavored ingredients and in so many different cuisines.

Indian curries have long been among my favorite ways to feature cauliflower, but I've got to say now that Greek flavors are another favorite candidate.

It could be my weakness for good quality sheep milk feta cheese and Kalamata olives, but baking lightly steamed cauliflower and olives in a tangy herbed tomato sauce topped with browned feta cheese and bread crumbs was such a winning combination not only for me but also for my husband and best friend Basil that I ended up making it twice in short succession. It's that good, and disappeared quickly on both occasions.

cauliflower gratin

This is also a great side to keep in mind when you need or desire to make things up ahead of time, because everything can be assembled in the casserole dish and left for hours on the counter or in the refrigerator before baking. I have a feeling that crumbled soft goat cheese would work well in the topping as well instead of feta cheese (just add more salt to the casserole in that case). But whether you use feta or goat cheese, the key as always is to choose top quality ingredients. Inferior olives and cheese will just mute the other flavors instead of enhancing them.

cauliflower gratin with feta and olives

Greek-Style Cauliflower Gratin with Feta and OlivesGreek-Style Cauliflower Gratin with Feta and Olives
Recipe by
Adapted from Mediterranean Harvest: Vegetarian Recipes from the World's Healthiest Cuisine
Cuisine: Greek
Published on April 24, 2014

Fresh steamed cauliflower and plump Kalamata olives baked in a tangy herbed tomato sauce topped with feta cheese

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Ingredients:
  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for greasing the baking dish
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 to 2 jalapeƱos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 14 to 16 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • juice from 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
Instructions:
  • Steam the cauliflower pieces until just tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, brush a 2-quart baking or casserole dish with olive oil and set aside. Preheat an oven to 375°.

  • In a large bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil with the tomato, garlic, jalapeƱo, paprika, oregano, thyme, dill and salt (it shouldn't be necessary to add much salt as both the feta cheese and olives will add plenty of saltiness). Stir in the cauliflower, pine nuts, olives, black pepper and lemon juice. Toss to coat the cauliflower. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

  • In medium bowl, mix together the feta cheese and yogurt and mash with a fork. Make sure to leave some decent sized chunks of feta. Evenly distribute over the top of the cauliflower.

  • In a small bowl, toss together the bread crumbs and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle over the cheese layer.

  • Bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the liquid has reduced.

Makes 6 servings

Greek-style cauliflower gratin

More cauliflower dishes you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Broccoli Cauliflower Mornay
Cauliflower & Olive Salad
Cauliflower and Green Pea Curry
Curried Cauliflower and Black-eyed Pea Soup
Mixed Vegetable Coconut Curry

On the top of the reading stack: Dead Souls by Gogol

Audio Accompaniment: Nicolas Bacher

3 comments:

Deena Kakaya said...

Cauliflower is fast becoming one of my best kitchen friends. Your light, clean and bold flavours are utterly tempting x

Francesca said...

This looks very tasty . Great flavours and I love baked cauliflower although I detest it when boiled.

Lisa said...

Made this tonight, it was very good! I used 5 oz of yogurt and it was not enough- I would double it next time.