Comfort Food Done Light: Broccoli Gratin

French methods for preparing vegetables involve far more effort and artistry than a simple steam or sauté. The result: vegetables that you’ll actually look forward to eating! Gratin — from the French word gratter or “to grate” — involves topping a dish with breadcrumbs and grated cheese, which form a delicious crust. It’s a lovely method for preparing vegetables during a long, cold winter, providing comfort food and vegetables all in one dish.

Serves 6


3 tablespoons butter

8 cups broccoli florets, blanched

2 cups half and half

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup grated parmesan

3 garlic cloves

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Pinch red pepper flakes

1 cup bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With 1 tablespoon of the butter, grease the inside of a medium-size baking dish. Place the broccoli in the dish.
fresh broccoli

In a small sauce pan, melt the remaining butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until thick and golden. Add the half and half, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes and whisk until thick. Remove pan from the heat and stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the parmesan.

Pour the béchamel over the broccoli and toss gently to combine. Top with the bread crumbs and remaining parmesan.

broccoli casserole recipe
healthy broccoli casserole

Bake for 40 minutes. Allow to rest before serving.

297 calories, 18g carbohydrates, 21g fat, 13g protein, 498mg sodium, 3g sugar

All photos taken by Pamela Ellgen