cauliflower mascarpone gratin

Cauliflower Mascarpone Tart

Are you the type of Thanksgiving cook (and/or eater) who expects to sit down to the same lineup of food from year to year or do you like to get a little bit crazy and try something completely new every time?

I’ve learned that there are definitely two distinct – and very personal – approaches to getting the holiday menu together. I recognize one, the tried-and-trues, as the keepers of family traditions; rational, organized, intelligent souls who keep things simple (doable) and predictable (foolproof).  Which makes a lot of sense. How else to organize 10, 20 or more people around a dining table and keep the peace?

I count myself in the other, open-to-experiment camp. While I’ve never ditched the turkey altogether and made fish instead (as Debra did to much disappointment in one episode of Everybody Loves Raymond) I like to play with vegetables and entertain ideas on how to handle the turkey (shall we bone it, brine it, spice it, tie it up and smoke it?).

I’ll be sharing a few of my ideas for vegetable side dishes over the next week, nothing too wild and crazy. But maybe something to mix up the usual suspects.

In the meantime, leave me a note and share your family favorites, old or new.

Cauliflower Mascarpone Gratin

Yield: 6 servings


  • 1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 1 8-ounce container Wisconsin Mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup Wisconsin grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh sage
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Freshly grated black pepper


  1. Blanch the cauliflower in a pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes; drain.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 7 x 11 gratin dish with butter; arrange cauliflower in dish.
  3. Stir together Mascarpone, cream, ¼ cup Parmesan,sage, garlic, salt and black pepper to taste until smooth; pour over cauliflower. Sprinkle top with remaining Parmesan.
  4. Bake 30 minutes, or until top is browned and sauce is bubbling. Rest 15 minutes, loosely covered, before serving.


  1. With turkey dinner, I’m a pretty traditional cook. But I will definitely spring for this cauliflower gratin. Although my hubby can be finicky with veggies, I know he’d love this baked, cheesy dish. Thanks so much! I look forward to trying it.

  2. This sounds REALLY good! I love Cauliflower and Broccoli – this makes a nice substitute for the typical Broccoli Casserole for Thanksgiving!

  3. Can it be made ahead of time and reheated?

  4. I’d love to know if there’s a substitute for the heavy cream (unfortunately, we cannot buy such cream in Germany).

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  5. @ Christine – I am in Germany and use Schlagsahne when recipes call for heavy cream. Choose one with 35% fat or more if you can find it. Always works fine for me.

  6. Thank you, Karen and Iz (seems that I cannot answer to your comments), great news, will try the recipe on Sunday (on my guests, harr).

  7. I just saw this and decided to try it at the last minute but don’t have mascarpone. Will see how it turns out. Looks divine.

  8. In desperation I may try a dollop of cream cheese.

  9. oh me oh my. i want this right now!!

  10. I baked this not too long ago and it came out really runny. Any ideas?

    • Hi Vanessa. You could try baking the gratin 10 – 15 minutes more if its not too brown, uncovered. What size baking dish did you use? If the size of the pan is smaller and deep rather than like a shallow casserole it could take longer to bake. As it cools the cream will thicken a bit too.

      • Me too. Disappointed especially the marscaponecisnt cheap. I expected a cheesy, rich dish. It was runny, flat in flavor and just not worth te extra effort 🙁

  11. I was wondering if maybe it needs an egg or something. This was more of a soup. It had a great flavor though. Followed the directions as stated.

    • Bella – thanks for your comment. I’ve adjusted the recipe to reduce the amount of heavy cream. Although I tested the recipe with 1 1/2 cups cream, the cream I used might have had a higher percentage of butterfat and the size of my baking dish a greater amount of surface area – you’re one of a few who’ve had a problem with too much liquid after baking. Glad you enjoyed the flavors!

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  14. thank you for this recipe, this is very helpfull for me, kids very love to eat this vege..

  15. Christina says:

    Wow! I took the liberty of lightening this up quite a bit–still SUPER yummy. I did about 2/3 head cauliflower, prepped according to directions. Maybe 1/2 c marscapone, made saucy w unsweetened almond milk. I reduced parm to ~1/4 cup, just on top. Kept garlic, salt, pepper, added few sprays of spray butter. I know not as rich as you intended, but it still tasted fantastic. Thanks!!

  16. Garrett the guacamolean says:

    I made this recipe and didn’t really like it. I thought it would be a cool twist on cauliflower but left a weird taste in my mouth. Thanks though

  17. This is one of my comfort foods, made for years from a Julia Childs recipe. Instead of parmesan, her recipe uses gruyere, and seasons with a bit of nutmeg and dash of cayenne. No cream is added, although I might try that sometime. Drain the cauliflower well after blanching. This can make a simple dinner, along with a green salad. I think it would be a little rich, though, with a heavy Thanksgiving dinner – maybe better with a beef or pork roast.

  18. Lisa McBride says:

    I’m trying this right now, but in a crock pot. I also used cream cheese instead of Mascarpone as it is what I had on hand. I also added some spinach to it and a half cp of mozzarella. I am on a Ketogenic diet so adding in all the fat I can. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  19. For those not in ‘Murica, 8 ounces is approximately 220grams.

  20. I made this last night, it was good, but somewhat disappointed the sauce was pretty runny, any tips to thicken it up?

  21. This has a really good taste but I really thought the sauce would be ticker, so next time I will add flour or corn starch to the mixture to pour over the cauliflower.

  22. I just made this for dinner this evening. What a great side! I used a deep-dish casserole, worried that the sauce would be too thin based on other reviews, but it was perfect! I doubled the recipe because I had lots of cauliflower and intend to eat it for several days. Hubby is a cauliflower friend but not a lover. I am a lover of it and always look for great recipes. Not only did I bookmark it, I printed it and saved it in my personal recipes. Too thin??? NOT at all. I bet whomever complained did not use Heavy Cream but substituted milk or 1/2 and 1/2 without thickener. The only other possibility, in my opinion, is that they boiled the cauliflower instead of steaming which would also add extra water. So, this is a ***** (5-star) recipe for us.. Thanks


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