Recipe: Bread-free Cauliflower Grilled Cheese

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Photos: Tess Ward

The thing that makes this twist on your childhood fave so special isn’t the rich cheddar (but yum), it’s the (carb- and gluten-free) “bread” you put it on—made out of cauliflower! The veggie is having a moment, especially in riced form (just asked healthy food bloggers who make us drool over their creations on the regular).

And we’re not just talking stateside: This recipe is the brainchild of London chef Tess Ward, whose beautifully photographed images have amassed quite a following on Instagram. She also writes about everything from juice cleanses to date-night restaurants in the popular British weekly Grazia, and she teaches in-home cooking lessons on workout-enhancing meals and detoxing recipes.

Ward’s first cookbook, The Naked Diet, is about stripping diets down to their bare ingredients. In the spirit of that truthfulness, Ward is also a fan of mindful indulgence.

“I feel that too many healthy chefs and foodies can be unrealistic about diet and gloss over the indulgent stuff, which is totally necessary sometimes,” says Ward. “So this is an indulgence for the healthy foodie…it’s a weekend treat when you need a bit of comfort.”

Don’t mind if we do.

Keep reading for her gooey, delicious cauliflower grilled cheese recipe.

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Cauliflower Grilled Cheese


For the cauliflower “bread”
1 small cauliflower head, cut into  florets (should yield approximately three cups of cauliflower rice)
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra to grease
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
1 oz grated Parmesan
1 oz grated comté, appenzeller, or mature cheddar cheese
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

For the grilled cheese
1 Tbsp butter, room temperature
3 oz. comté and mature cheddar cheese
1 large pickled gherkin or jalapeño finely sliced (optional)

For the “bread”
1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and liberally grease it with olive oil. Set aside.
3. In a food processor, rice the cauliflower florets until they are a fine crumb.
4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan on a low-medium heat. Add the cauliflower rice (about three cups) and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring continually or until soft. You want the water to evaporate as much as possible from the cauliflower without developing color. The cauliflower rice needs to be dry, otherwise you’ll end up with mushy dough.
5. Transfer the cauliflower rice to a mixing bowl, add egg, Parmesan, comté, salt, and mix well, then spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet and shape into four bread squares. Place the baking tray in the oven and bake for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden.
6. Remove and let cool for ten minutes, then gently peel them off the parchment paper.

To Assemble
1. Heat a pan over medium heat. Butter one side of each slice of the cauliflower bread and place the buttered side down on the pan.
2. Cover the bread liberally with your chosen cheese, plus gherkin or jalapeño (if using) and top with the remaining slice of cauliflower bread, buttered side up.
3. Cook until golden brown, about two to four minutes, then gently flip and cook until golden brown on the other side.
4. Serve with spicy hot sauce, a salad, and your condiments of choice.

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Originally published on February 13, 2015, updated on April 12, 2016.


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