January can get feeling long if you're being strict on a healthy eating plan, and I created this Low-Carb Ham and Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin on a January day when I wanted some low-carb comfort food. I had ham and cauliflower in the fridge, and thoughts of Low-Carb Twice Baked Cauliflower gave me the idea for this casserole with lots of cauliflower with ham, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, Parmesan, green onion, and cheese, and I'd consider this a pretty healthful dish for a cold winter night!
But flash forward to 2016 when weather issues have caused the price of cauliflower to skyrocket, and I wondered if I should wait to share the updated photos for this comforting casserole. Then I looked at the Top Ten Recipes of the Week (on desktop they're over in the right sidebar) and I noticed that Low-Carb Twice Baked Cauliflower and Low-Carb Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Tots are both in the top ten right now. So I guess cauliflower fans are still buying it!
(Low-Carb Ham and Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin was updated with better photos in January 2016.)
If you want to skip the photos below and watch a video instead, here is a video of how to make this recipe. See more recipe videos on My You Tube Channel.
You need at least 6 cups of cauliflower, cut into small pieces. Cook the cauliflower in boiling salted water until it's just getting soft; don't overcook. Drain the cooked cauliflower well (at least 5 minutes). While the cauliflower cooks, cut up two cups of lean ham. Soften cream cheese in the microwave for a minute or so, then mix in the fat-free Greek yogurt (or sour cream), Parmesan, and sliced green onions.
Mash the cauliflower slightly (in the pan you cooked it in) then stir in the sauce mixture so it's completely mixed with the cauliflower and gently mix in the ham. Season to taste with fresh-ground black pepper. Spray the baking dish with nonstick spray or olive oil, put the casserole mixture in in the dish, and sprinkle with cheese. Bake 30-35 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and starting to brown and the mixture is hot throughout and starting to slightly bubble.
And just for fun, here's the original photo of this recipe from January 2012. Definitely kind of monochromatic, but not horrible!
Ham and Cauliflower Casserole au Gratin
(Makes about 6 servings; recipe created by Kalyn with inspiration from Twice Baked Cauliflower.)
at least 6 cups cauliflower flowerets, cut fairly small (1 large head cauliflower or 1 1/2 small heads)
1/2 tsp. salt (for water to cook cauliflower)
2 cups diced lean ham
4 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt (I used my favorite fat-free Greek yogurt but you can also make this with sour cream if you prefer.)
2 T finely-grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
fresh ground black pepper to taste
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese (or more, depending on the size of your dish; use low-fat cheese for South Beach)
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Fill a medium-sized pot half full with water, add 1/2 tsp. salt, and start to bring to a boil. Cut up the cauliflower into small flowerets, discarding the leaves and core. Put cauliflower pieces into the water and cook at a low boil until the cauliflower is starting to get barely sort. Check it often and don't overcook; the cauliflower will soften more in the oven.
While cauliflower is cooking, cut the ham into very small cubes and slice green onions. Put cream cheese into a glass dish or measuring cup and soften it in the microwave for a few minutes. (Or you can soften it on top of the pre-heating oven if you don't have a microwave.) When cream cheese is soft stir in the Greek yogurt (or sour cream), Parmesan, and sliced green onions.
When cauliflower is cooked enough to start to soften, pour into a colander placed in the sink and let it drain well (at least 5 minutes.) Put the drained cauliflower back into the pot you cooked it in and mash with a potato masher until it's barely mashed with quite a few chunks left. Stir in the sauce mixture and combine well with the cauliflower; then gently mix in the diced ham. Season to taste with fresh-ground black pepper. (I didn't use salt because the ham and the Parmesan are both salty.)
Spray glass or crockery casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil. (I used a round dish that was 8 inches across with fairly high sides the first time I made this. For the new photos I used a glass casserole dish that was about 8" x 10".) Pour cauliflower mixture into the dish, spread out evenly, and sprinkle with the cheese.
Bake 30-35 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned and all the mixture is hot throughout and starting to bubble. Let sit 10 minutes for any liquid to be absorbed, then serve hot.
I am assuming that this freezes well, but I still haven't tried freezing it because I never have any leftovers.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This recipe would be suitable for South Beach Diet Phase One, low-glycemic diets, and low-carb diets, adjusting ingredients for the preferences of each diet. If you're making it for the South Beach Diet they would recommend lean ham, reduced-fat cream cheese, fat-free Greek yogurt, and low-fat cheese. For other types of low-carb eating plans this can be made with whichever dairy products you prefer.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
If you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Tasty Low-Carb Ideas with Cauliflower:
Roasted Cauliflower with Red Bell Pepper, Green Olives, and Pine Nuts ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
20 Interesting Cauliflower Rice Recipes ~ Everyday Maven
Cauliflower Rice with Basil, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
25 Amazing Low-Carb and Gluten-Free Cauliflower Recipes ~ I Breathe I'm Hungry
The Best Pureed Cauliflower with Garlic, Parmesan, and Goat Cheese ~ Kalyn's Kitchen