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Smothered Cauliflower

Smothered cauliflower is an old-fashioned recipe, and an extremely easy and delicious way to enjoy a whole cauliflower.

You’ll need a cauliflower and just four other ingredients to make this warm and nutritious dish that can be enjoyed as a meal or side dish.

smothered cauliflower in baking dish

Transforming the (humble and healthy) cauliflower

Cauliflower is packed with nutrients, high in fibre and is extremely versatile.

Known for its high antioxidant count and potential to reduce inflammation and protect against cancer, heart disease and other diseases, cauliflower can be eaten raw or cooked.

Raw, it’s great to use with dips.

But to truly transform this vegetable, there are so many options to get more creative.

Cauliflower rice, soups, fritters and chutneys, are just some of the popular options for transforming this vegetable into something lovely.

whole head of cauliflower sitting on bench

Preparing your smothered cauliflower

While cauliflower rice might be the latest and greatest way to enjoy cauliflower, years ago the Smothered Cauliflower was popular.

This recipe is based on one from 1925 – and it’s similar to the “whole roasted cauliflower” recipes that are still around today.

To make this recipe, you first need to prepare the cauliflower for smothering and roasting.

First, select a small to medium cauliflower.

When selecting a cauliflower look for “a creamy white colour with densely packed florets that are free of blemishes, browning or wet spots” and “fresh and vibrant” leaves.

“9 tips for buying, storing and prepping fresh cauliflower”, Oregon Live

Trim the leaves and excess stem from the cauliflower and boil it, whole, for five minutes.

Transfer the cauliflower to a greased baking dish and cut into 4-6 slices with a sharp knife. The cauliflower will break up a little as you make these slices.

The next step is easy. Just smother your cauliflower with the remaining ingredients:

  • butter cubes
  • passata (or use 2/3 cup tomato paste mixed with 1/3 cup water)
  • cheese
  • breadcrumbs.

Pop into a moderate oven and cook for 45 minutes or until a golden colour.

smothered cauliflower uncooked

An old-fashioned Smothered Cauliflower recipe

Keep scrolling for the tested and tweaked version.

smothered cauliflower recipe newspaper clipping
From Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, August 1925
smothered cauliflower

Smothered Cauliflower

A lovely old-fashioned baked cauliflower recipe.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Australian
Keyword: smothered cauliflower
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 serves
Calories: 187kcal


  • 1 small-med cauliflower
  • 60 grams butter
  • 1 cup tomato passata (or use 2/3 cup tomato paste mixed with 1/3 cup water)
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs (panko work well but you could use other types)
  • salt and pepper


  • Pre-heat oven to moderate (180 degrees celsius, fan-forced).
  • Remove the leaves and any excess stem from the cauliflower. Boil in a large saucepan for 5 minutes.
  • Grease a large baking dish with oil or butter and place the whole cauliflower in the dish. Cut cauliflower into large slices.
    sliced cauliflower
  • Cut butter into cubes and sprinkle over cauliflower.
  • Pour passata over the cauliflower.
  • Sprinkle cheese and breadcrumbs over the cauliflower.
  • Season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Place into oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a golden colour.


Calories: 187kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 244mg | Potassium: 216mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 651IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 1mg
Recipe Rating

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