Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Casserole (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

low carb jalapeno popper cauliflower casseroleAs you know, Mondays are for low carb meatball recipes here on IBIH. Lately, I feel like I’ve also gotten into the habit of posting variations of the low carb cauliflower casserole recipes on Wednesdays.

I’m not committing to a cauliflower Wednesday or anything – though I probably could, since this cauliflower casserole alone is so versatile that there is no end to the flavor combinations one could come up with!

It’s a delicious rut to be stuck in, and I plan to explore the many possibilities over the coming months (though not always on Wednesdays, because let’s face it, I’m not that organized.)

My latest low carb cauliflower creation is this Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Casserole. It’s an impossible task to figure out which is my favorite so far between this one, the insanely popular Pepperoni Pizza Cauliflower Casserole, or the Mexican inspired Cheesy Chipotle Cauliflower Casserole.

Honestly, they are all fantastic. Let’s just say that I love this one AT LEAST as much as the others, if not a hair more.

jalapeno popper cauliflower casserole low carb and gluten free

[pinterest text=”Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Casserole (low carb and gluten free) even your kids are going to love this one!!! ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/poppercasserole5small-700×942.jpg”]
Creamy, cheesy, spicy – this recipe has it all!  Super kid friendly (and picky husband friendly too), this recipe makes a great low carb side dish, though I’ve also eaten it with a salad as a main course.   I hope you guys will love it at least as much as I do!

As a side note, as you can see by the photos we cooked this in our new Wood Fired Oven that Mr. Hungry built – it works just as well in a regular oven though, or even the microwave, if you’re pressed for time with all of the back to school chaos coming up!

jalapeno popper cauliflower casserole low carb and gluten free recipe
[pinterest text=”Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Casserole (low carb and gluten free) even your kids are going to love this one!!! ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/poppercasserole4small-700×478.jpg”]
One last thing, the pictures don’t show it, but when I ate it leftover the next day I added some crumbled bacon on top – Mind. Blown.  I’ve listed the bacon as optional in the recipe (crazy, right?) since without it, this dish is vegetarian friendly as well.  Otherwise, you can, and should, feel free to pile bacon on this sucker with wild and reckless abandon!

Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Casserole (Low Carb and Gluten Free)

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: generous 1/2 cup

A low carb cauliflower recipe inspired by the jalapeno popper! Kid friendly, this is a recipe the whole family will love! Serve as a side, or with a salad for a main dish!


  • For the puree:
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp raw jalapenos, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the cream cheese layer:
  • 6 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup salsa verde
  • For the topping:
  • 3/4 cup colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup raw jalapenos, sliced (seeds removed)


  • 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, jalapenos, and garlic powder. Puree until smooth (or you can leave it chunky if you prefer. Season generously with salt and pepper to taste.
  • For the cream cheese layer:
  • Put the cream cheese in a microwave safe bowl and nuke for 30 seconds to soften. Add the shredded cheese and salsa verde, mixing thoroughly. It should be very spreadable - if not, nuke for a few more seconds.
  • To assemble the casserole:
  • In a medium-sized oven proof dish (approximately 8 x 8), spread out a thick layer of cauliflower puree. Spread the warm cream cheese mixture on top of the puree. Top with a layer of shredded colby jack cheese, and sliced jalapenos. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese is completely melted. You can finish it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown further if you'd like. Alternatively, microwave on high for about 6 - 8 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is heated through. Serve hot.
  • Optional - top with cooked, crumbled bacon before serving.


Approximate nutrition info per serving: 336 calories, 29g fat, 3.8g net carbs, 13g protein

low carb and gluten free jalapeno popper cauliflower casserole

[pinterest text=”Jalapeno Popper Cauliflower Casserole (low carb and gluten free) even your kids are going to love this one!!! ibreatheimhungry.com” layout=”horizontal” image=”http://www.ibreatheimhungry.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/poppercasserole3small-680×950.jpg”]
Do you have a favorite cauliflower casserole so far?  I’d love to hear which – and also any ideas you might have for another flavor combo you’d like to see me try.  As always I look forward to your comments and suggestions!
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  1. Eric says

    I like to use cauliflower in a base for “cream of…” soups. Just nuke the florets until tender, add a half of an onion, diced and sauteed, if you wish, then put in a blender with just enough chicken stock (or other stock, depending on what kind of soup you are making), and puree until smooth. Add the main ingredient : broccoli, red peppers and shrimp, spinach, cheddar cheese, whatever… I usually have these cooked, but not always… and puree again, unless you want to leave some as chunks. Add additional stock as needed, and perhaps 1/4 cup or so of cream. Season as desired and serve. These soups are good hot or cold (I was on a cold fennel soup kick this summer… so good!), and can go lots of ways depending on what seasonings you use (curried soups are great!).

    • Sandi says

      Wow thank you so much for your tip on the “cream of” soup substitute! I am not a fan of cauliflower so that’s an amazing way to sneak it in :)

  2. Joanna says

    Tasty creamy cheesy magic! Made it tonight! Tasted too good! Im doing atkins induction at the moment to get where I want to be, and having this was such a treat! Thanks for listing the calories cause I will be making this many times after Im done with my lowcarb!!!

  3. Cindy says

    I have all the ingredients to make this dish tonight, except the salsa verde. Do you think substituting traditional salsa would be okay? Any other substitution suggestions?

  4. Patricia Porter says

    I’d love to read all your low carb recipes and try them. We are trying to go low carb and lose some weight, which we have. But, we have to keep it off!!!!

  5. Nancy Orr says

    Do your children gobble this up with the tablespoon of jalapeños or do you leave them out? How about the peppers on top?

    • says

      The peppers in the mix don’t really add much heat – the peppers on top I would do at your discretion depending on how spicy your family likes things – maybe half with and half without?

  6. Judy says

    Could someone please please tell me what jalapeño popper is. I’m not in America so cannot buy it but I don’t know what it is :'(

    • Tyffany says

      Judy, a jalapeno popper is an American appetizer made by stuffing a jalapeno pepper with cheese and sometimes other ingredients, then breading and deep frying. A jalapeno pepper, which is the ingredient called for in this recipe, is a hot green chili pepper which is usually about 3 inches long and about 3/4 inch in diameter at it’s widest point. If fresh jalapeno peppers are not available where you live, a similar hot pepper would probably be a good substitution. Here in America, jalapeno peppers are also available pickled in jars, so you might look for those.

      Hope this helps!

  7. says

    I made this recipe tonight as a side dish (served with London Broil) and it was a-mazing! I didn’t have salsa verde so I substituted chopped pickled jalapenos. It was absolutely delicious and now I want to buy more cauliflower so I can make it again!

  8. Jamie says

    How would you prep the Cauliflower if you do not have a microwave? Just steam it then add the cream, or would it bettern heated with the cream in a covered sauce pan? or?

    • says

      Steaming it in the saucepan with the cream and butter would work great. Just be sure to bake long enough for the cream and butter to reduce in the oven until it’s thick and not watery – enjoy!

  9. Nancy Orr says

    If I didn’t have a microwave, I’d cook the cauliflower in a small (2-3 Tbl.) amount of water in a covered pot. Keep the heat no higher than medium, and don’t lift the lid. Give the florets about 15 minutes, then check for doneness. THEN add cream and butter and stir until butter melts.

  10. Debra says

    I’m thinking of making this a main by adding a protein – maybe some shrimp? or some leftover shredded chicken? Amazing idea…

  11. Nancy Orr says

    Sounds good to me, but if you haven’t tried the recipe as written, I recommend giving it a go first. It’s really not that spicy even with all the jalapeños. These two additions will really jazz this recipe up.

  12. Tammy says

    I am trying this very soon. It looks so delicious, Mellissa! Went to the store today to get the ingredients. Hope you are feeling better!

  13. Stephen says

    I don’t understand 2 things :

    1. How much is a head of cauliflower? I have seen some large ones (around 3# before cutting) and small ones (around 1 1/2# before cutting) so I am having trouble here.
    2. When i spec this out with 600g of cauliflower I only get 271cal but with 5net carbs and 22g Fat. Am I picking out wrong ingredients in MFP using the recipe import feature?


  14. Keri says


    I know I’m a little late to the party here, but I just made this yesterday. It was delicious, thank you! I agree about the bacon, I had my first portion of it in a bacon bowl and it was awesome. I also had a bit of a the puree left over since my cauliflower was massive; it worked great for a slightly spicier base for the “potato” skins recipe elsewhere on the site. Thanks for sharing all your great recipes!

  15. Amanda says

    This was beyond yum! I think I mmm’d after every bite! Thank you soooo much for this recipe. I was literally going scoop by scoop thinking, “I get to eat this? Really? This is on my diet? THIS IS AWESOME!!!”

    • says

      I felt the same way the first (and second, and third….) time I made it Amanda! Glad you liked it too! Love this flavor combination and I recently made a popper omelette that was phenomenal! Have to make it again soon and take photos of it so I can post it for you guys!

  16. Judy says

    Is there anything else I can use in place of the salsa verde? Or do you think it would be ok just to leave it out?


  17. Dawn Miller says

    Boom Baby! You did it again Dahling! I loved this so much, I wanted to take a bath in this, put it in my pillowcase so I could eat some during the night, face plant myself right into the bowl…too much? Ah well, next time I will put more jalapeno in it…I like it spicy! Every recipe has been so good. I thank you so much for trying these and perfecting them for us LCHF minions!

  18. Mary Mary says

    Absolutely delicious. I roasted my cauliflower florets first (w/olive oil, fresh garlic & seasonings) then kind of improvised with the steps since I rarely use my microwave to cook. I must say I absolutely loved this and will become a regular addition to our meals.

  19. Tonya says

    I used five jalapenos, added cooked chicken and used a bit ahem more cheese and this was delicious. Next time I’ll double the cauliflower.

  20. Crystal says

    Hi there,
    I just ran across your site and love it! I’m doing a version of the ideal protein diet and like yours better because it includes avacado and some dairy. Do you know why they would omit it…maybe slows the weight loss? I would like to be a convert! :)

  21. nicole says

    oooooh girl! i just made this and WOW it is so good!!I added white onion, green onion, serranos, & cilantro. absolutely delicious. thank you for the recipe!

  22. Christina says

    OMG is this sooo good!!! My husband loved it too! I just ate my luch at 11:15 because I couldn’t wait any longer to eat the leftovers!!

    Turns out my blender sucks, so my cauliflower was chunky- which was still great! I would double up on jalapenos next time for a little more spice!

  23. Bonnie says

    We love this recipe…but we actually like cauliflower and don’t have a problem with eating mashed potatoes. That a given… We half cook the cauliflower-do not blend it but leave it in clumps and follow directions after that. Amazing!!!!
    Friends and co-workers love it this way as well.

  24. Claudia says

    I’m going to make this tomorrow and would like to use it as a side dish,do you have any suggestions what else I can make that may complement this side dish? Thank you!

  25. CaitlinBrooks says

    OMG! Made this today and it is awesome! Even my anti-jalapeño mom loved it! Wow! Another amazing recipe! Thanks Mellissa!


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