Dinner ideas

Julie Goodwin’s cheesy tuna cauliflower bake

A budget-friendly autumn dinner.
Julie Goodwin's cheesy tuna cauliflower bakePhotography: Ben Dearnley. Styling: Vivien Walsh.

Transform a head of cauliflower and a few pantry staples into Julie Goodwin’s cheesy tuna cauliflower bake. This deliciously golden gratin for four is the perfect comfort as we ease into the cooler months.




Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced).


Steam or microwave the cauliflower until tender. This will take about 6 minutes, covered, on High, in the microwave. Drain off any excess moisture and arrange the florets in four gratin dishes (1⅓ cups/330ml capacity). Try to keep the “flower” side up where possible. Break the tuna into chunks; arrange the tuna around the cauliflower.


To make the cheese sauce, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute or so or until the mixture forms a thick paste. Add about ¼ cup (60ml) of the milk. This will incorporate fairly quickly into the flour mixture and will once again come away from the sides of the pan. Once this happens, you can add another ¼ cup milk and repeat until all the milk has been added. Stir over heat until mixture boils and thickens. Stir in mustard, then add 1 cup of the cheese and stir until it melts. Season with salt and pepper, if required.


Pour the cheese sauce over the tuna and cauliflower, making sure the sauce covers and surrounds it all and there are no gaps.


Mix the remaining cheese with the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the cauliflower. Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.


Serve with a little freshly ground black pepper and a simple green salad.

Not suitable to microwave or freeze.

Julie’s notes

This recipe ran in The Australian Women’s Weekly in 2015 and was published online in 2024.

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