Cauliflower Cheese with Red Onion

Cauliflower Cheese Red Onion

This is a simple cauliflower cheese with red onion, that I finished off by browning under the grill.  When you’re making a small portion and cooking for one person it often seems pointless to add time and effort to making something – so the extra step of browning the cauliflower cheese is often omitted.

I love cauliflower cheese and serve it as a side dish or the main event – and today this was my main meal, although it’s quite tiny really.  I do try to retain some sense of portion control some of the time 🙂 It’s easy to cook for 3-4 and then eat the lot in one sitting.

I’ve recently bought some little pie dishes, Charlie Bigham’s Pies are sold in boxes of two, containing ceramic dishes, which can then be re-used.  I’d not bought Charlie Bigham’s pies as they are £7.50 for a pack of two individual pies, I’d simply bought the pie dishes, which you can find 2nd hand.  I thought one of these pie dishes would make a good cauliflower cheese dish – I was wrong, it wasn’t really large enough to be honest, limiting my ability to fully brown the cauliflower cheese as it started to overflow!

Cauliflower Cheeese & Red Onion Recipe

  • 100-120 grams cauliflower, I used frozen florets.
  • A small amount of white sauce, I make my own microwave white sauce, but for this quantity you could make up some instant white sauce.
  • 1/4 of a red onion, sliced. I chop/slice/freeze red onion so I can grab it from the freezer on demand.
  • 30-50 grams cheese, you choose how cheesy you want it!


  1. Using frozen cauliflower florets to make this cauliflower cheese I defrosted and cooked the cauliflower and the red onion in the microwave by placing the florets in a covered dish with some water.  It takes under 10 minutes until the florets are cooked and soft.  Adding the red onion to the cauliflower will soften it – if you like your red onions crunchy then you can simply defrost them in a mug of boiling water for 2 minutes and add the onions to the cauliflower once the cauliflower’s cooked.
  2. I made up a tiny amount of white sauce, using butter, flour and milk, for such small quantities then you might try using a white sauce mix, just mix up 1 teaspoon of white sauce powder as per the packet instructions (I’ve never actually tried a packet of white sauce mix, so can’t advise further).  Add your cheese to the white sauce so it is a cheese sauce for cauliflower cheese.
  3. Combine the cauliflower, cheese sauce and red onion and put the mix into an oven safe/grill safe dish.  Sprinkle the top with a little more cheese.
  4. Grill for 5-10 minutes until the top is brown and cheesy.

Note: It is important really to use a larger dish than I did as the dish does tend to spill over as the cheese melts and the sauce bubbles slightly, hence the mess I made 🙂

Charlie Bigham Pie Dishes

I wouldn’t make this dish again in a Charlie Bigham pie dish as it was too small for my liking.  They DO make great individual pies though, so if you see any dishes for sale it’s worth grabbing them.  I was very surprised to see Charlie Bigham pie dishes for sale on ebay -but I guess if you like his pies and buy them regularly you do start to wonder what to do with all the pie dishes accumulating, so selling them on ebay would make some sense.  The usual price seems to work out at £2/pie dish.

They also make great party dip bowls I bet!

Food Cheats:

This is a simple meal to put together as there are several food cheats you can use.  I tend to use frozen cauliflower as it’s easier for me to grab just the right amount I want, rather than staring at a whole cauliflower and thinking “I have to eat ALL of that in the next few days”.

If you really want to go the whole hog, you can buy a packet of white sauce mix and even ready grated cheese. This would still work out cheaper than a ready meal cauliflower cheese!

50p Dinner: 

This is a very budget friendly meal, probably costing under 25p if I broke it down and worked it out!  Portion size and quantity is hard to gauge for pricing it up as this portion size was probably too small for most people to consider it to be their main meal of the day – preferring to double up all the quantities and really tuck in to a huge bowl full…. even so, a large bowl of cauliflower cheese can work out to be a “50p Dinner”

This could be vegetarian if you use vegetarian cheese too .. I am not vegetarian, I just don’t bother eating much meat, so whether individual products are vegetarian friendly doesn’t hit my radar.