Dips and spreads are my weakness, so I’m going to fancy it up with this Spicy Baked Cauliflower and Cheddar Pate. So creamy, so cheesy, and so delicious! A perfect dish to make for company!
Another cauliflower dish? Really, Byron? Is that what you’re saying right now, Dear Reader? I know, I know! But, I love cauliflower and I love dips, so I have no excuse or regrets. Even though this dish really doesn’t qualify as a dip, it’s still great with crackers or crusty bread. I love the spreadable texture of this dish and the rustic flavour as well.
The task of roasting the cauliflower before you make the dip and the pairing of it with fresh thyme and cheese, before baking it to perfection, makes it so much better! The roasted flavour really does come through in the final result. I guess you could think of this as a twice-baked spread, because once we finish with the roasting and assembling, we are heading back to the oven to bake this gorgeous creation.
Now, you know how much I love cauliflower and in almost any state I can get it. But, in this spread or pate, I’m combining roasted and pureed cauliflower with cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and sour cream. Sounds great so far right?
Next, I’m going to add the earthy flavours of fresh thyme and fresh garlic, some basic salt and pepper, and of course, a bit of freshly grated nutmeg. In my opinion, there are only two vegetables in the world that absolutely beg for nutmeg, and that’s both cauliflower and potatoes. The nutmeg is imperative to this pate. It really drives it home.
Now, because I tend to like a little bit of heat in my dips and spreads, I’m also adding a scant pinch of dried red chili flakes. This is, of course, completely optional and entirely up to you. The final dish will not be altered in any way with our without the chili flakes; it’s just a bit of heat.
When I make dishes like this, it’s so hard not to just sit back and eat the whole thing once I’m done with taking the photographs. In most cases, I’ll quickly devour whatever dipper I’m using – in this case, the bread – and pack the food up for later consumption, or hand it off to McKenna and John.e. Their metabolisms are much higher than mine, unfortunately!
It’s really no secret. I’m a dipper. I love dips of all kinds. And, I’m not sure why I keep calling this a dip, or talking about dips, because this is a spread. Spicy Baked Cauliflower and Cheddar Pate is a great liverwurst or meat-based pate alternative too. Your vegetarian friends will thank you!
Pate is just one more thing that cauliflower can add to its personal recipe repertoire. It is, by far, my favourite vegetable. (Don’t tell roasted beets, Brussels sprouts, or asparagus; I may have said the same thing about them at one point or another.)
Just in case you’re looking for some more cauliflower creativity or inspiration. Let me introduce you to some of my other cauliflower recipes that are my personal favourites. I would say that my favourite recipes on my blog would be Vegetarian Cashew Cauliflower, most certainly Cauliflower Brown Rice Meatballs, and without a doubt, both Fried Cauliflower in Garlic and Ginger Sauce, and Crispy Fried Honey Lemon Glazed Cauliflower. There’s really something there for everyone!
Spicy or not, dip or spread, this Spicy Baked Cauliflower and Cheddar Pate is perfect for any occasion – even if it’s just for you and your best friend, Netflix. 😉
Spicy Baked Cauliflower and Cheddar Pate
- 1 small cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup light sour cream
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup old white cheddar, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes, optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once.
Transfer cauliflower to a food processor and pulse until well chopped - should look like rice. Add the cream cheese and pulse into the cauliflower.
Add "riced" cauliflower and cream cheese mixture to a large bowl, along with the sour cream, thyme leaves, garlic, cheddar, and chili flakes. Stir well to combined.
Transfer mixture to a baking dish. Smooth out the top and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.
Top with a few fresh thyme leaves (optional) and serve with good crusty bread.
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