Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin with Toasted Hazelnuts

This is unashamed comfort food and we ate it as a main course, although of course you can serve it as a side to meat if you like. Mixing broccoli in with the cauliflower somehow lightens the dish and the hazelnut topping adds crunch and an added dimension of flavour. I could happily scoff the whole lot single-handed.

I used hazelnuts that were already chopped and toasted. I suspect if you went to the trouble of making your own you would need fewer because they’d be more intensely flavoured, but I was feeling lazy. You may not need all of the cheese sauce – it depends on the quantities of veg you want to use/numbers of people you’re feeding.

If you’re not a vegetarian I think the hint of smoky bacon is a welcome addition, but as ever, the choice is yours.

Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin with Toasted Hazelnuts

Image of Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin with Hazelnut Topping


A large head of broccoli

An equal quantity of cauliflower, about 1/2 large one

2-3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons (optional)

A double handful of breadcrumbs made from slightly stale bread

About 100g chopped, toasted hazelnuts

2 tbsp grated parmesan

For the cheese sauce:

Around 350 ml milk

40 g butter

35 g plain  flour

60g Cheddar cheese, grated

60g Parmesan, grated

Salt and pepper


Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.

Make the cheese sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook gently for a minute or two. Add the milk a little at a time, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thick and glossy. You may not need all of the milk.

Season with a little salt and pepper and continue to cook gently until any floury taste has disappeared, stirring often.

Mix in the grated cheese and cook until melted and velvety. Check and adjust the seasoning and put a lid on it to stop a skin forming. Set aside somewhere warm.

Image of steamed broccoli and cauliflower

Break the broccoli and cauliflower into florets and steam until almost cooked but still al dente – they’ll cook more in the oven. Drain them thoroughly. Fry the bacon lardons, if using, and stir them with the vegetables into the cheese sauce.

Image of veg mixed with cheese sauce

Spoon the mixture into a gratin dish. Mix the breadcrumbs with the hazelnuts and strew liberally across the top of the gratin, then sprinkle with the extra parmesan.

Image of gratin ready for the oven

Place in the top of the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the top is golden and the gratin is piping hot. We ate it with roasted cherry tomatoes.

Image of gratin half eaten

16 thoughts on “Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin with Toasted Hazelnuts

  1. Oh thank goodness. I get a vegbox each week and my heart always sinks when it contains, as it does this week, boring boring broccoli. Consider this dish made.

    • I have to admit I find naked broccoli a bit dull too (except purple sprouting) though Him Outdoors loves it. I actually prefer the stalks to the florets. Have you tried it tossed with a bit of butter with a few anchovies and garlic melted into it? Not sure if you like anchovies or not …

  2. This is the ONLY way I can get my picky teens to eat cauli and brocolli 🙂 I also do mine with toasted pine nuts or oat flakes. Yours looks lovely! x

    • Oh, I like the sound of pine nuts, that’s a great idea.Thanks, Lynn! (Would they eat it curried? The Goan Cauliflower Curry on Mrs P is a bit of a winner, if I say so myself.)

      • Yes, it’s yum with pine nuts 🙂 They probably would – they’d rather eat spicy than green! Cheers me dear I’ll take a look. x

  3. There! I’m having a real Mrs. P. moment, and made this for a nice comfort dish this evening. I tried sneaking the stalk in, in discreeet batons, but no dice. ‘Im indoors claims to like his 5 a day, but I have to play the kind of tricks you play on reluctant five year olds to get some things down him.

  4. This sounds great, Linda. We’re coming out of ‘au gratin” season but I’ll be sure to prepare this once fresh broccoli and cauliflower hit the farmer’s markets, weather be damned! And what’s with the “lazy” comment? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a shortcut in my book. Use the time saved constructively, like refilling your wine glass. 🙂

    • I like the way you think! And English weather being as unpredictable as it is, there’s always at least one day in the week when one can be forgiven for eating comfort food. 🙂

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