Cauliflower, Pancetta and Mushroom Bake

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Ever fancy comfort food, but not heavy carbs? Pasta is always my go-to when I want a warm, filling meal at the end of a long, cold day, but I decided to try this cauliflower, pancetta and mushroom bake – a non-carb version of a macaroni cheese, to see if it could really be just as comforting.

It was!

Now, I’m not normally one to advocate leaving the pasta out of a dish (it’s one of my favourite staples), but this worked so well and it’s no surprise really, considering cauliflower cheese is a fantastic dish in its own right.

Cauliflower, Pancetta and Mushroom Bake – The Ingredients

The mixture of a rich cheese sauce with salty pancetta, earthy mushrooms and soft cauliflower really works here. I’m a big fan of meats like pancetta adding that depth of flavour without the whole dish being really meaty.

You could easily make it veggie by ommitting the pancetta and swapping the parmesan for a vegetarian version, but I loved it like this. If you did want to leave the pancetta out, I’d advise using a couple of porcini mushrooms too to add the depth of flavour.

I served this with a simple side salad, but if I did it again I’d be inclined to serve a garlicky flatbread too and dunk it in that delicious cheesy sauce.

Making the Bake

This recipe follows much of the same process as a traditional macaroni cheese. If you can make a cheese sauce, you’ll be flying! If not, the steps are all there in the recipe – give it a go.

You could make this in advance and keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours before baking – perfect if you’re doing it for a dinner party.

I used these cute little one-portion dishes to bake in the oven, but you could use a larger one and portion it all up at the table.

Looking for other cauliflower dishes? Why not try Sticky BBQ Ribs with Cauliflower Mash or Mac ‘n’ Cauliflower ‘n’ Cheese?

Want to browse my favourite cookware? Head to my storefront.

Cauliflower, Pancetta and Mushroom Bake (1)

Cauliflower, Pancetta and Mushroom Bake

Save This Recipe
Harriet Young
An easy, cheesy, low-carb bake
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people


  • 1 large cauliflower
  • 1 onion
  • 200 g cubed pancetta
  • 400 g button mushrooms
  • 20 g butter
  • 20 g flour
  • 1 pint semi-skimmed milk
  • 150 g cheddar cheese grated
  • 20 g parmesan grated


  • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  • Chop the cauliflower into florets and add to a pan of salted, boiling water. Cook for approximately 10 minutes until soft, then drain and leave to one side.
  • Put a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the pancetta and sizzle until starting to crisp, then add the chopped onion and halved mushrooms. Cook for around 5 minutes, then take off the heat.
  • In another saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat then stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and gradually whisk in all of the milk. Put back on the heat and cook, whisking all the time, until it thickens. Remove from the heat again, stir in the grated cheddar and season with salt and pepper.
  • Take an oven proof dish and pile in the cauliflower. Drain any liquid from the pancetta and mushroom mix, then add the mixture to the dish. Pour over the cheese sauce, sprinkle over the parmesan and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden.
Keyword cauliflower, cheese, low carb

29 responses to “Cauliflower, Pancetta and Mushroom Bake”

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. I’ll have to try this asap!

  2. I really want to try this! I love mac n’ cheese, but it’s so carb heavy. THIS is something I can super get down to!

  3. My kind of dish; great picture 😉

  4. Sounds and looks really good!

  5. Ah my goodness, this looks so delicious!

  6. OMG I love this!!! I make my mac n cheese in a cauliflower sauce like this… this is to DIE for!

  7. I love cauliflower! There is so many different things to do with it. Have you tried cauliflower pizza crust?! It is SO good and very easy to make.

    1. No haven’t tried that yet but definitely will!

  8. Wow – love it! I use cauli as a potato substitute all the time and will be making this very soon.

  9. The perfect comfort food, love this dish – just wishing I had a cauli in the fridge as I’d make this today if I did! Thanks for sharing:-)

  10. Yes please! I think this might be what’s for dinner tonight!!!

    1. Hope you enjoy it Mary 🙂

  11. I quite often swap half the pasta for chopped cauli. I am convinced cauliflower is the new kale. Lovely comforting recipe.

    1. I definitely agree about it being the new kale Helen!

  12. Nice 😀 I HAVE to try this 🙂

  13. I made this over the weekend and substituted the pancetta with chopped, uncured hot dogs. I actually like pancetta but I had been wanting to try an uncured meat product. It was divine! Just a suggestion you may want to try — I sprinkled the top with some panko bread crumbs before baking and it gives the dish a nice crunch. Cheers!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it! Panko breadcrumbs sounds like a great addition

  14. […] Cauliflower, Pancetta and Mushroom Bake. […]

  15. […] it is a well established fact now that cauliflower is a decent substitute for any carb (even pasta). It is the trending vegetable of the […]

  16. […] it is a well established fact now that cauliflower is a decent substitute for any carb (even pasta). It has been the trending vegetable of many a year. Try this for your next Sunday dinner; it was a […]

  17. 5 stars
    Loved it, and the bonus was that I already had all the ingredients in the fridge. Super cheesy and very filling, whilst still being low-carb! Great recipe!

  18. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe – my friends loved this!!

  19. 5 stars
    This is such a cozy meal! Everyone loved it. I love how easy it was to make too. 10/10!

  20. 5 stars
    This looks so yummy. All these ingredients are right up my alley. Thanks!

  21. 5 stars
    I’m always looking for lower carb dishes, and this cauliflower bake was perfect! Comforting without all the carbs!

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Hi there!

I’m Harriet, writer and cook, and I’m so pleased to have you here! I love nothing more than cooking delicious food and sharing it with the world. You can find out more about me here.