Cheesy Chipotle Cauliflower Casserole (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

cheesy chipotle cauliflower casserole low carb and gluten freeRecently I posted the low carb Pepperoni Pizza Cauliflower Casserole, which has been wildly popular here on IBIH.  I still make it often, because it’s easy and sooo satisfying! Since that combination worked so well, I thought why not incorporate another of my favorite flavor profiles into it, and give it a Mexican twist?

So I experimented, and created this low carb cheesy chipotle version.  It was a raging success!  Even Mr. Hungry, a sworn hater of all things cauliflower, asked for a second bite of this one when he tasted it.  I think the secret was the chipotle’s that I added to the puree – it really masks the cauliflower flavor and gives it a lovely smokiness.

I was going to call it “Nacho Mama’s Cauliflower Casserole” but stupid SEO is always ruining my fun, and stifling my creative genius when it comes to post titles.  First world food blogger problems.

Originally I made it pretty with the tomatoes and sour cream as seen above.  But then it got cold when I was taking the photos, and so I piled some more cheese and salsa onto it and threw it in the oven to reheat.  I forgot about it, and it was in there for about half an hour before I remembered and took it out.   That’s when this happened…

chipotle and cheese cauliflower casserole

[pinterest text=”Cheesy Chipotle Cauliflower Casserole (low carb and gluten free) –” layout=”horizontal” image=”×866.jpg”]
Oh man, it was soooo good!  The cheese turned all crispy around the edges, and the cauliflower puree absorbed more of the green salsa and chipotle flavors, and it all just got super concentrated and cheesy. Om nom nom….

It’s hard to say if I liked this one better than the pepperoni pizza – that’s like choosing between cheesecake and ice cream, they’re both delicious in a different way.  If you enjoy Mexican flavors though, I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that this one is a winner on every front!

cheesy chipotle cauliflower casserole low carb and gluten free

[pinterest text=”Cheesy Chipotle Cauliflower Casserole (low carb and gluten free) –” layout=”horizontal” image=”×950.jpg”]

Cheesy Chipotle Cauliflower Casserole (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 4 inch square

A low carb and gluten free cauliflower casserole recipe with a Mexican twist!


    For the puree:
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp (or more) chopped chipotles in adobo sauce (canned)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the casserole:
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapenos (optional)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


    For the puree:
  • Clean and trim the cauliflower, breaking it into medium sized pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl with 2 Tbsp of cream and 1 Tbsp of butter. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 10 minutes. Stir to coat cauliflower with cream/butter mixture. Microwave for another six - eight minutes on high (or until cauliflower is tender). Remove from the microwave and put into a high speed blender or food processor along with the cheese, chipotles, and garlic powder. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • For the casserole:
  • Spread the puree in an 8 x 8 casserole dish. Spread on the sour cream, then the salsa verde. Sprinkle the chopped tomatoes and jalapenos on top. Cover with the shredded cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes at 375 degrees (F), or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.


Approx nutrition info. per serving: 335 calories, 26g fat, 6g net carbs, 14g protein

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  1. Danielle Doty says

    I am a bit chipotle obsessed (it pretty much goes in everything I make) so this is right up my alley!! Thanks for the amazing recipe!

    • says

      Absolutely Jess – this can easily be a main dish. I was thinking it would be nice to serve it with some fajita style chicken or beef with some onions and peppers. But taco meat would also work awesome. Or chorizo – YUM! :)

  2. Kathleen says

    This looks delicious and I, like Mr. Hungry, am not big on cauliflower. I will def give this one a try!
    P.S. Nacho Mama’s is a Magazine Street restaurant in New Orleans!

  3. Janet says

    Love the alternative name! I am saving the recipe under Nacho Mama’s Cauliflower Casserole. Cauliflower exacerbates my gout, but I think a little discomfort is worth it in this case!

  4. Alice B. says

    This combination of flavors also got me to thinking that a jalapeño popper inspired version would also probably be heavenly! I plan to try both versions, chipotle and jalapeño!

    Thank you again, Mellissa!

  5. Mary I. says

    When you say salsa verde, are you talking about that wonderful roasted stuff you told us about, from Walmart? Because that’s what I have and I’m going to use it and make this tonight unless you tell me otherwise!

  6. Mary I. says

    What do I do with the chipotles and garlic powder? Do i add them before putting into the food processor or after? I’m hungry, so I’ll wing it, but I’d like to know if the chipotles are meant to be pulverized or not!

    • says

      Thanks for catching that Mary, so sorry! I fixed the recipe – it should have read that you add the chipotles and garlic powder to the cauli before you puree it. Hope you were able to figure that out or that you’ll get this before you make it! Thanks and I hope you enjoy it!

  7. Mary I. says

    Just checked for your answer before I threw stuff in the processor! Thanks so much, Mellissa — I cannot WAIT for dinner! I’ve been craving Mexican, and this is the cure! Plus I’m going to use that roasted salsa verde you turned me onto — that stuff is addictive!

  8. Anne says

    Any suggestions for pairing for my vegetarian diabetic daughter. This seems like a dip but corn chips are obviously out of the question.

    • says

      The puree should be really thick so it’s not really that dip-like, I eat it with a fork and it’s very satisfying. However, if you want to dip it, you could certainly use celery sticks or flax crackers.

  9. Sylvia says

    What if you are sensitive to spices I usually stay away from recipes with some of those ingredients can you substitute something else?

    • says

      Hi Sylvia – the spicy component in this dish is the chipotle – you can omit it or reduce it, but it will definitely alter the flavor so be aware of that. It will be more like an even cheesier version of my better than potatoes cheesy cauliflower puree – which sounds good to me! :)

  10. says

    I’ve made this dish two times now – and it’s so lovely. Even hubby loves it, even though he’s quite skeptical with all og my “strange low-carb-food”!
    I like it so much, that I had to share the recipe with a post on my blog. (It’s written in danish, though..)
    There is – of course – links to your blog and the recipe. Thanks for wonderful inspiration :)

  11. Karen R says

    This sounds fantastic, but I’m wondering could I do it with fat free half and half instead of heavy whipping cream? I’m trying to balance between lower carb and lower fat, too.


  12. Becky says

    I used frozen cauliflower, its easier than cutting up a head of it and works just as well:-) great recipes…keep em’ coming!

  13. MikeyJoe says

    Can I substitute the heavy cream with Greek yogurt? This sounds amazing! I’m a bariatric surgery patient, and all of these cauliflower recipes are a godsend!

  14. Tina says

    Tried it this weekend, epic fail. The texture was weird and I threw most of it away :( I’m sure it was a taste preference issue, but blach! I’ll try some other variations because the recipe combination seems like it should be amazing!

  15. Brandi says

    Thank you SO much for sharing this amazing recipe! It disappeared so fast I didn’t even get to take a picture, the only bad part about this recipe is that there we’re no leftovers :(
    I didn’t use a microwave, I used about a cup of water, added to the butter, cream and caul, in a med pot with a lid, on high for about 15 mins, bring to a boil first and stir a few times. I had to add a little more cream in the blender to get it to blend right but it still turned out super good.

  16. Cindy says

    Tried this tonight and really liked it. My husband thought it needed something else to give it texture but I enjoyed the recipe as-is. :) Thanks for the recipe!

  17. Ariel says

    This was sooo delicious! It’ll definitely be going in my rotation. I think I’ll add bacon next time. Thanks for this recipe!

  18. Matt Streeter says

    Made this with dinner tonight. Even my non-spice eating daughter thought it was delicious! Who knew cauliflower could be so flavorful.

  19. says

    Wow! I rarely come across NEW low carb recipes I haven’t tried and I’m just dying to make this. Thank you for the recipe. Can’t wait to try it! Ps. I love this blog, it’s my go to!

  20. mpope517 says

    You are my new culinary hero!!! I had a huge head of cauliflower, so I made this recipe and your Pepperoni Cauliflower Bake. Wow!!! Is all I can say! I served the Pepperoni dish tonight and my family scraped their plates!!!! Thank you!!!!!

  21. Matthew Underbrink says

    This is by far the best one of your dishes I have tried. I can’t believe it doesn’t even need a protein! I might put some fajita meat in it next time just because though.


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