Rich and Delicious Cauliflower Cheese Bite Appetizers

A few days ago, I made appetizers for a gathering, dusting off a recipe you read here a few years ago called Jalapeno Cheese Bites. And because there is quite a lot of cauliflower coming out of the garden right now – hurrah – it occurred to me that a grand way to use it would be a mild variation on the jalapeno recipe.

The jalapeno recipe basically consists of a lot of grated cheese spread in a pan, sprinkled with chopped jalapeno, then yet more cheese spread over that, and then a couple of beaten eggs poured over all to glue it together in the oven. You cut it in little squares, dot it with salsa if you want to, and scatter chopped cilantro over it.

The same goes for the cauliflower bites, if you want a zippy version. A little hot sauce and honey makes a good dip or dribble over the bites. Or you can send the recipe in an Indian direction with curry powder added and maybe a bit of chutney on top. Dill, parsley, and chives chopped up and added to the cauliflower makes for an herby version. Or keep it mild, and the cheese, provided you use a sharp sort, provides the flavor needed. Add garlic if you like it as much as I do.

I chopped the cauliflower into small florets, steamed them until they were just tender but not soft then whirled them in a food processor for a short while until the bits were pea-sized.

As appetizers go, cauliflower bites are good warm or room temperature, so you can make them ahead if you want. They are really rich, so I don’t think you can offer them before a steak or fried chicken dinner or Lobster Newburg. (Does anyone even make that anymore?) And make sure you have cocktail napkins for your guests to use.

Cauliflower Cheese Bites
  • 2 cups cauliflower chopped into small florets
  • ¾ pound of very sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup milk or cream
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees
  2. Steam the cauliflower florets until they are barely tender then take them off the heat.
  3. Cool then chop them very finely.
  4. Grate the cheese.
  5. In a nine-by-nine-inch pan, spread about half the cheese, and spread the cauliflower bits over that, then top with the remaining cheese.
  6. Beat the eggs and cream together and add salt and pepper and any seasonings you desire and pour over the cheese and cauliflower mixture.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until the mixture is firm and turns a golden color on top.
  8. Allow to cool and cut into bite-sized pieces.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.