Kitchn Love Letters

This Sleeper Ina Garten Recipe Is My Favorite Weekday Lunch

published Jan 6, 2022
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Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

I’ve been a fan of Ina Garten for as long as I can remember. Every single recipe I make of hers is delicious! And while some of them (like her chocolate cake) are super popular and well-known, others remain sleeper hits — and these under-the-radar recipes are some of my favorites. Case in point? The cauliflower toast from Ina’s cookbook Cook Like a Pro.

The first time I made this recipe I was blown away. I stumbled across it online and was immediately hooked. I’ve made it over and over again, and I never get sick of it. It has since become my go-to Ina recipe. Sure, it’s not as flashy as a chocolate cake, but it’s seriously good, and I think everyone should know about it.

Get the recipe: Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Toast

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

What Makes This Toast So Good?

I know the concept of a “cauliflower toast” might not sound too exciting, but hear me out! There’s something magical about the way Ina has constructed this recipe that makes it more than the sum of its parts. Let me explain.

You’ll start by roasting cauliflower with nothing more than salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. After it cools slightly, toss it with grated Gruyère, mascarpone, prosciutto, salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. The mascarpone binds everything together into a savory mixture that I would happily eat with a spoon. Then, pile the mixture on top of thick slices of toast, dust it with paprika, and broil until melted and browned. Right before serving, grate a final flourish of Parmesan on top and sprinkle the toasts with fresh chives.

These toasts are everything I could want from a weekday lunch. They’re simple and hearty, but not too heavy. The roasted cauliflower and cheese meld together, with bites of salty prosciutto breaking through. I like to make a double batch of the topping and stash it in my freezer so all I have to do is quickly throw it together. For anyone working from home, I would 100% recommend this recipe.

Credit: Jesse Szewczyk

If You Make Ina Garten’s Cauliflower Toast, a Few Tips

Before you head into the kitchen to make this toast, keep these tips in mind.

  1. Use whatever melty white cheese you have on hand in place of the Gruyère. I’ve made this recipe with sharp white cheddar cheese and it was just as delicious. As long as the cheese melts easily, you should be good!
  2. Use thick, hearty slices of bread. The cauliflower topping is quite heavy, so it needs a sturdy slice of toast that won’t get soggy. I usually buy a whole loaf of sourdough and slice it myself into 3/4-inch-thick slices.
  3. Don’t skip the paprika. Right before you pop the toasts in the oven, Ina has you dust the tops with paprika. Not only does this look pretty, but it adds a wonderful warm, smoky flavor to the toast that really takes it to the next level. If you have paprika on hand, definitely don’t skip this step.
  4. Turn the leftover topping into grilled cheese. On more than one occasion, I’ve used the leftover cauliflower topping to make grilled cheese. Simply sandwich it between two pieces of bread, toast each side in a buttered skillet, and that’s it! It’s cheesy, warm, and delicious.

At Kitchn, our editors develop and debut brand-new recipes on the site every single week. But at home, we also have our own tried-and-true dishes that we make over and over again — because quite simply? We love them. Kitchn Love Letters is a series that shares our favorite, over-and-over recipes.