When you want macaroni and cheese without the pasta, try this cheesy baked cauliflower mac and cheese.
It has fewer carbs and a good amount of vegetables and protein in each bowl! Cauliflower is a fantastic substitute for low-carb mashed potatoes, so why not macaroni and cheese?
This cheesy comfort food dish was created in collaboration with Real California Milk. This cauliflower mac and cheese dish is ideal for college students seeking healthy, whole-food meals, as well as their parents seeking new ways to include more vegetables in their meals.
While I was testing it, my college-aged daughter was at home, and she was completely enthralled by it. She enjoys cheese but tries to limit her pasta consumption. It can be used as a quick study snack, a main dish for lunch or dinner, or a side dish for a multi-course meal.
This delicious cauliflower mac and cheese dish will help you fuel up on protein now that school is back in full swing, college students! To make a stovetop version, omit the final step of baking it in the oven and serve it straight from the pot.
Tips For Perfect Cheese Sauce (Not Grainy or Gritty)
Have you ever made a mac and cheese that wasn’t creamy or smooth? Instead if was grainy or gritty? The worst! Here’s a few steps you should take for perfectly creamy cheese sauce.
- Use best cheese. First step to success is to start with the best cheeses. I used a good quality sharp cheddar to give this dish maximum flavor.
- You’re not limited to just cheddar. You can play around with different cheese combinations like Havarti, White Cheddar, Monterey Jack, etc.
- Shred your own cheese. For this recipe, grating your own cheese will give you the smoothest results.
- Start with a white sauce. A white sauce is made with butter or olive oil stirred with flour and milk. It thickens once it cools, then you stir the cheese into it to make your cheese sauce.
- Do NOT add the cheese to boiling sauce. When adding the cheese, remove the white sauce from the heat completely before adding the cheese. I usually move this to a different burner so it stops boiling. You don’t want to add the cheese to the mixture if it’s boiling/bubbling. Doing so will cause the cheese to break down causing a gritty texture.
- Add the cheese a little at a time. I usually do this 1/4 cup at a time, whisking in between until it’s all melted.
Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe
Cheesy Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is perfect when you’re craving macaroni and cheese–without the pasta! It’s lower in carbs and each bowl has a healthy amount of vegetables and protein!
Ingredients of Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
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- 8 cups chopped cauliflower florets, 1/2-inch pieces (26 oz)
- 1 tbsp Real California butter
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 3 tbsp flour, use ap gluten-free flour for GF
- 2 cups fat free Real California milk
- 7 ounces freshly grated Real California sharp cheddar, about 2 cups total
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
Instructions To Make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Place 1 inch of water in a large pot with 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
- Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook about 2 minutes.
- Stir in flour. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continually 3 – 4 minutes, to cook out the flour.
- Add the milk and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick, about 2 minutes stirring; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
- Once it becomes thick, remove from heat completely onto another burner if possible. Add the cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup at a time mixing well until cheese is all melted.
- Stir in cooked cauliflower, then pour into a baking dish and bake until bubbly and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Then broil 2 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned.