Cauliflower flan is a savory custard-like dish that is a cross between a quiche and a souffle. If you are looking for a tasty cauliflower side dish with a creamy, lighter-than-air texture that's also full of flavor – you will love this savory flan with cheddar crisps and bacon.
I have been on a cauliflower craze lately, and if you don't like cauliflower, I am going to change the way you think about this pale-colored vegetable.
I've made roasted cauliflower, buffalo cauliflower, and even tried cauliflower pizza. But this time I really hit the bullseye. This cauliflower flan is so good I think I might need to invent a special emoji for after I eat it.
I originally created this recipe several years ago for a #makeitwithmilk contest sponsored by the Florida Dairy Farmers. When I started to think of a dairy recipe I could create, I kept thinking flan but could not get cauliflower off my brain. Why not a savory flan? This is a great dinner party side dish. I could eat this for lunch or brunch too. I think it could also be served as a nice fancy appetizer.
This dish might seem difficult to make but it really isn't. It does take a little bit of time but you can make it in advance, reheat it in the oven and assemble it right before dinner.
Ingredients Needed for Savory Flan
- Cooking Spray – This is essential to keep the cauliflowe flan from sticking to the ramekins.
- Butter – Any household butter will do.
- Cauliflower – Look for a medium to large head of cauliflower or a bag of prepared cauliflower florets in the fresh produce section.
- Salt and Pepper – Always taste for seasoning as salt and pepper help to bring out the natural flavor of a dish.
- Water – Water will keep everything from drying out as you cook the cauliflower.
- Dried Parsley – Adds a little color and a little flavor.
- Milk – I used whole milk.
- Garlic – Mince fresh garlic so noone gets a big chunk.
- Eggs – Eggs will help to provide the lift and fluffiness of this savory flan.
- Cheddar Cheese – Some of the cheese will be added to the cauliflower flan and some will be used to make the crisps.
- Boiling Water – Pouring boiling water around the ramekins helps everything to get fluffy and fabulous.
- Bacon – Everything is just better with a bit of bacon.
- Chives – A handful of fresh chives make this cauliflower side dish look bright and beautiful.
Steps to Making Cauliflower Flan
- Saute and steam the cauliflower until it is tender then puree it in a blender and allow it to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the parsley, milk, garlic, eggs, and ½ cup cheddar cheese to the blender and puree until everything is smooth.
- Pour the mixture into prepared ramekins and place them in a roasting pan.
- Pour boiling water around the ramekins and bake for 35-40 minutes or until they are set.
- While the flan is baking, fry the bacon and make the cheese crisps by sprinkling cheese into a dry pan and cooking until it is melted and crispy.
- Arrange cheese crisps on a platter and turn the slightly cooled cauiflower flans onto the cheese. Top with bacon and chives before serving.
While the flans were baking, I fried up the crispy bacon and made the cheddar cheese crisps. They are similar to Parmesan frico which I love in salads. I think I could also eat a plate of cheese crisps as a snack. They do need to be guarded from everyone in the house. No nibbling on the cheese crisps until dinner!
The savory custard is creamy but the crunch of the bacon and crispy cheese almost made me want to cry when I ate it. I'm usually not this emotional over something I've cooked. Unless of course, it's raw onions.
If you want to keep this vegetarian, you could always omit the bacon. But why would I ever do that? Okay, I might because my daughter is vegetarian.
More Side Dish Recipes
- Caprese Pasta Salad with Pesto
- Oven Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Zest
- Air Fryer Baked Potato Recipe with Seasoned Sour Cream
Once again, I have proven to my husband that he really doesn't dislike vegetables like he thought he did. I made six cauliflower flans for dinner and now have to hide the leftovers in the back of the refrigerator. Since I made them, I think I should be able to have one for lunch tomorrow.
If you like this Savory Custard Cauliflower side dish, please leave a 5-star rating.
Savory Cauliflower Flan with Cheddar Crisps & Bacon
- cooking spray
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 12 ounces cauliflower florets about 3 cups
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 -3 tablespoons of water plus more if needed
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 2 cups boiling water
- 4 thick slices of bacon chopped
- a handful of fresh chives
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 6 ramekin cups (6 ounces) with cooking spray and set aside in a roasting pan.
- In a medium size sauce pan, melt butter on medium high heat. Add cauliflower, salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes or until cauliflower starts to brown. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to the pan and cover with a lid. Turn heat to low and steam for about 10 minutes or until cauliflower is tender and water is evaporated. If water starts to evaporate too soon, add another tablespoon or so of water. When cauliflower is cooked, place in a blender and let cool for 5 minutes.
- Add parsley, milk, garlic, eggs, and ½ cup cheddar cheese(reserve other ½ cup) to the blender. Blend for 60 seconds or until smooth.
- Pour mixture into each ramekin and pour boiling water into roasting pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until flan is firm and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- While flan is baking, fry up the bacon in a medium size pan for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Set aside.
- Heat a non stick pan on medium heat and sprinkle cheese in a 2 to 3 inch circle. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes and turn gently with spatula when cheese crisp is firm. Cook for another 30 seconds and reserve on a plate. Make 6 of these.
- After flans are baked, remove each ramekin with potholder and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Arrange cheese crisps on plate and run knife around the edge of each flan. Turn upside down on the plate and garnish with the crispy bacon bits and chives.
First Published May 2017 ; Updated August 2021