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Those creamy casseroles that everyone loves, that can be made ahead of time, that just happen to be super gut-healthy and nourishing too … here ’tis: Cauliflower-Chicken Au Gratin Casserole with Bacon. It’s Keto, Low-Carb, Primal and GAPS diet-friendly. The nourishment comes from a lot of fat! So source your cheese and cream beautifully, if you can; because that’s where our health comes from, right? — Great ingredients. Let’s get cozy with this one-dish comfort food dinner casserole! …
Keto Cauliflower-Chicken Au Gratin Casserole
Whoever (not me) tires of comfort food dinners (like this Chorizo Butter Stew, this Chile Relleno Casserole or this Pizza Bake)? I eat lots of salad and roasted veggies to keep the right balance (and because I love them).
But ultimately, what my body loves more than anything else is FAT. I am grateful daily that my body thrives off of dairy (the good stuff: French cheese and A2, raw, pasture-raised milk and cream 🙂 ). This way I can combine the pleasures of bacon, bacon fat, butter, cream and cheese! Happy me. Happy you!
This casserole does all that, plus we get (in this cheesy au gratin setting) heads of wholesome cauliflower and as much protein-rich chicken as you prefer. Top it all not only with cheesy goodness but with a sprinkling of green onions, so it’s extra pretty and has a fresh, spicy zing.
It’s almost like low carb/Keto/GAPS/Primal cauliflower mac and cheese, but with chicken and bacon too!
If you want extra color or nutrition, I even give a couple of variations below for adding in peppers or spinach. Versatile and nutritious, with a bunch of hearty helpings!
How to make ahead, freeze and reheat
Cauliflower & Chicken Au Gratin Casserole freezes and reheats well. Follow these simple steps:
- Complete the recipe through Step 5 below. Begin Step 6, by topping the casserole with grated cheese.
- Then cool completely, cover well, and freeze for 2 to 3 months.
- To cook, set casserole dish on the counter to partially defrost, about 4 hours, or overnight in the fridge. Then resume Step 6, baking the final 20 minutes.
- You can also bake right from frozen for about 40 minutes, until hot, browned around the edges and bubbly.
Cauliflower & Chicken Au Gratin Casserole with Bacon
- casserole dish
- 1 head cauliflower chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 packages cauliflower rice: frozen, 24 ounces (or use your own fresh cauliflower rice)
- 1 to 1-½ pounds chicken leftover or already cooked, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups heavy cream preferably raw, ideally not ultra-pasteurized (for GAPS: Use half coconut cream and half fully cultured sour cream, 1 cup of each)
- 8 ounces brie or cream cheese, cut into 1" cubes (for GAPS: Use brie)
- 8 ounces cheddar cheese or other aged cheese
- 1 package bacon about 8 ounces, cooked then crumbled, save the fat for roasting the cauliflower
- ¼ cup gelatin see discount code! and link in Recipe Notes
- 3 tablespoons bacon fat rendered from cooking the bacon
- 3 teaspoons sea salt divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or white pepper (which is lovely); see Recipe Notes
- ½ bunch green onions greens only, chopped small for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place 3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat, 1 head of chopped cauliflower and 24 ounces cauliflower rice in roasting pan or casserole dish. Add 2 teaspoons sea salt and toss to coat. Roast cauliflower in preheated oven 30 minutes.
- While cauliflower roasts, make cheese sauce in blender: Heat cream in small saucepan until hot; but do not simmer. Remove from heat.
- Place brie or cream cheese into blender. Add remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt. Pour slightly cooled hot cream over cheese and sea salt. Sprinkle gelatin over all. Use caution when blending hot liquids: Turn blender speed to lowest setting. Blend on low speed about 10 seconds then increase to medium speed for an additional 10 seconds.
- Remove roasted cauliflower from oven. Add chicken, cheese sauce and pepper, using spatula to scrape cheese sauce from blender (it's thick). Use two spoons to stir together (right in the casserole dish) cauliflower, chicken and cheese sauce.
- Smooth the surface. Top with cheese. Return casserole dish to oven for 20 minutes, until golden brown and very bubbly all over.
- Top with crumbled bacon and green onions.
- Allow casserole to set up 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serve!
Find the best grass-fed, pesticide-free gelatin HERE. Use code BEAUTIFUL10 at checkout for 10% off your entire order.
One of my favorite cooking ingredients!: White Pepper HERE.
Variations: Add 2 diced bell peppers and/or fresh/frozen spinach when roasting the cauliflower, if you want more color and more veggies. (Just make sure to use a larger casserole dish!)
Any leftovers? Au gratins are also delicious cold!
What is gratin you ask?
Au gratins are stupendously rich, browned casseroles. Gratin itself refers to the shallow baking dish used.
The casseroles are usually topped with either a cheese sauce, a béchamel cream sauce or breadcrumbs — so there is pretty much always a lot of butter involved.
This dish browns up quite beautifully due to the unique cheese sauce (no broiling necessary).