Cauliflower and Broccoli Flan with Spinach Béchamel

Cauliflower, a versatile vegetable that is underappreciated (mostly, I think, because most people have only eaten cauliflower that is beyond its prime). When you purchase cauliflower from the farmers market you are getting it at its peak of freshness. Cauliflower can be eaten raw, steamed, roasted, grilled, fried, pickled, shaved or riced. There are lots of tasty ideas to explore. I chose this recipe because it incorporated cauliflower, broccoli and spinach; all are produce that can be found at the market. The recipe also incorporates a few other common ingredients and it can also be made in advance if needed. The name of the recipe sounds fancy, but chances are you have made this sauce without thinking it had a fancy name.



  • 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 12 oz spinach leaves
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Cook cauliflower and broccoli in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Drain, reserving 2/3 cup cooking liquid. Transfer vegetables to large bowl. Cool.

Rinse spinach, then toss in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just wilted. Drain and cool. Squeeze spinach dry; finely chop.

Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk until smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in milk and reserved 2/3 cup vegetable cooking liquid. Whisk constantly over medium heat until sauce thickens and boils, about 3 minutes. Stir in spinach and cheese.

Using fingers, coarsely crumble cauliflower and broccoli in bowl. Add spinach béchamel sauce; stir to blend. Season with salt and pepper. Butter 1 1/2-quart baking dish. Spread vegetable mixture in prepared dish. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake flan until puffed and heated through, about 25 minutes if at room temperature and 35 minutes if chilled. Serve hot.


Recipe by Lori de Mori