Cheesy Vegetable & Bacon Gratin

A simple dish topped with a crispy crust of breadcrumbs and melted cheese, gratins are a rustic, crowd-pleasing way to serve up the flavours of fall. Rich and creamy with a beautiful crunchy and cheesy top, this dish is perfect to serve along all your favourite fall roasts.

Prep Time

30 mins

Cook Time

45 mins

Total Time

1 hr 15 mins


  • large pot
  • oven-proof skillet


  • 1 head local cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 8 cups/2 L)
  • 8 slices bacon, cut into thin strips, divided
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) butter
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried
  • 2 cups (500 mL) 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) salt


  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook cauliflower for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside in a bowl.
  3. In a large, deep, oven-proof skillet, cook bacon over medium heat for about 8 minutes or until crispy. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Return skillet with bacon fat to medium heat and add leeks. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 7 minutes or until very soft and becoming golden. Add to bowl with cauliflower.
  4. Add butter to same skillet and melt over medium heat. Stir in flour, thyme, salt and pepper; cook, stirring for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in milk and cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes or until bubbly and thickened. Stir in Gruyère and Parmesan cheeses until melted. Stir cauliflower mixture and all but 1/4 cup (60 mL) of the bacon into sauce until well coated.
  5. Topping: In a small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs with reserved 1/4 cup (60 mL) bacon, Gruyère cheese, butter and parsley until well coated. Sprinkle over top of cauliflower. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is golden. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.


If you do not have an oven-proof skillet, transfer the cauliflower mixture into an oven-proof casserole dish to bake.