What Kind Of Cheese To Use
I like to use a blend of cheeses, but I primarily use cheddar cheese as it has a good melting point and becomes very smooth. Sharp cheddar is preferred, but a cheddar blend also works really well. I also add in a bit of parmesan to balance out the flavor. Stay away from very hard cheeses or crumbly cheeses as they will melt differently and alter the texture of the sauce.
Here Are All The Details
As I said, Ive been looking to my childhood for some inspiration recently. And, of course, mac and cheese was a beloved staple for my brothers and me while growing up.
I knew I wanted to create the perfect stove-top mac and cheese that was similar to the boxed stuff, but much, much betterand so much healthier. With the addition of cauliflower, I was able to use way less cream, butter, and even cheese. But yet still have a super creamy and cheesy stove-top mac and cheese.
As you can guess, this is so quick and easy. Start by boiling a big pot of water on the stove. Use a pot that will be large enough to hold both the pasta and the cauliflower.
While the water is coming to a boil, start chopping the cauliflower. Youll want to roughly chop the cauliflower into similar size pieces as your pasta. The idea is that the cauliflower really blends in with the pasta so that you may not even realize its there.
Once the water has come to a boil, add the pasta and the cauliflower. Boil together until al dente, then simply stir in all the remaining ingredients, and thats kind of it. The key is using a touch of cream cheese and creamy dijon mustard for creaminess. This creates the perfect amount of creamy sauce, but still keeps things on the lighter side.
For the cheeses, I love using a mix of sharp white cheddar and creamy fontina and or provolone, for creaminess. Together they create that ideal cheese pull we all love so much.
SIMPLE but GOOD.
The Best Keto Mac And Cheese Recipe
If youve been missing your favorite pasta dinners, I have got one delicious and healthy solution for you! Its this really easy cauliflower mac and cheese casserole. From start to finish, you can make it in about 30 minutes, and, I promise you, its delicious!
I know, I really do know that cauliflower IS NOT macaroni, nor potatoes, nor rice, but its a really good substitute for all those things. Have you tried my Loaded Mashed Cauliflower? Or my Chicken and Cauliflower Rice? DO it! Youll see that cauliflower can save the day for those trying to cut down on carbs.
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What To Serve With Low Carb Mac And Cheese
I love to serve this cauliflower mac and cheese recipe with a simple protein to turn it into a whole meal. Here are a few keto main dish recipes for you to choose from:
- Crispy Baked Drumsticks The secret to the crispy skin we all want on our drumstickswithout the deep fryer!
- Turkey Meatloaf This flavorful meatloaf is wrapped in bacon. BACON!
- Pan Seared Halibut Light, lemony, and full of flavor! Think you dont like fish? Try this!
- Slow Cooker Turkey Breast Make the cauliflower mac n cheese while the slow cooker cooks this turkey breast.
- Garlic Chicken Thighs Chicken and cauliflower macaroni and cheese is a well-rounded, healthy meal thats ready in no time.
Baked Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
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Creamy, cheesy, and delicious, this cauliflower mac and cheese is everything it should be!
Tender elbow macaroni and cauliflower florets are tossed in a cheesy sauce, topped with more cheese and baked until bubbly. Serve this as a meatless main dish or a side dish!
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Learn How To Cook Plant
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
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Here are some great resources to get you started:
How Long Does Cauliflower Mac And Cheese Last In The Fridge
Properly stored, itll last about 5 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
You can transfer the leftovers to a smaller container , cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate it. To save even more space, portion the leftovers into Ziploc bags, flatten them out on the counter, seal them, then stack them in the fridge.
The leftovers can be reheated in one of two ways:
- If you own a microwave, make sure your mac and cheese is in a microwave-friendly container first. Itll need about 3 minutes if refrigerated, and 5 minutes if frozen.
- Barring that, you can place everything in a saucepan with just a little water and heat it until it bubbles. The process usually takes around 5 minutes for a refrigerated batch and 7 minutes for a frozen one.
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Cheese Sauce For Cauliflower Macaroni
What makes this low carb cauliflower mac and cheese the ultimate comfort food is the keto cheese sauce its so deliciously rich and creamy! Thats what makes this dish such a good mac and cheese sub. And, its super simple, with just three ingredients in the sauce, plus salt and pepper.
I love this sauce so much that I wrote a post dedicated to this keto cheese sauce recipe. In addition to keto cauliflower mac and cheese, its delicious for topping or dipping fresh or steamed broccoli.
Roasted Cauliflower Mac And Cheese Ingredients
Before we get to the full recipe below, here are a few notes about the ingredients you will need to make this roasted cauliflower mac and cheese
- Pasta: Feel free to use traditional macaroni elbows, shells, or any other pasta shape that you love best.
- Cauliflower: You will need one large cauliflower, which we will chop into florets.
- Panko breadcrumbs: I recommend briefly toasting the breadcrumbs before adding them to the mac and cheese to bring out their best texture and flavor.
- Cheeses: I recommend using a sharp cheddar and/or gruyere as the base for the cheese sauce. Then we will also stir in some Parmesan for those salty, nutty, umami notes.
- Olive oil and butter: We will use olive oil to roast the cauliflower and butter to form the roux for the cheese sauce.
- Whole milk: I generally use whole cows milk as the base for mac and cheese sauce, but you are welcome to sub in a plain plant-based milk if you prefer.
- Flour: We will use flour to form a roux and thicken the cheese sauce.
- Garlic: I also like adding a generous amount of garlic to season the cheese sauce.
- Seasonings: I used a simple combination of smoked paprika, garlic powder, fine sea salt, black pepper to season the cauliflower. But feel free to experiment with whatever seasonings here you love best!
- Garnish: A sprinkling of fresh chives or parsley adds a lovely pop of color and freshness to this dish.
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A Wholesome Spin On A Family Favorite
While I dont believe in hiding vegetables, I do believe in adding them into dishes wherever I can to boost my intake. That is exactly why I love this macaroni and cheese. Ill still serve this with a simple green salad, like I always do with mac and cheese, but the addition of cauliflower inside the casserole means I am getting two doses of veggies instead of one without even trying. Thats a win. The fact that this take on the classic is also lighter yet equally as creamy and satisfying is also a win.
When cauliflower is boiled and puréed in a blender or food processor, it takes on the consistency of cream sauce without actually using any milk or cream. Boiling it in a pot of water thats infused with garlic and herbs also ensures that the purée will be far from bland, since we need it to stand as the rich, velvety base for this casserole.
Since Gruyère and sharp cheddar are two extra-flavorful cheeses, you wont need to add a ton to the cauliflower purée to make it truly sing. Just dont forget to boil the pasta in the water the cauliflower was cooked in! Not only is it less wasteful to do so, but all that flavor from the garlic and herbs also soaks into your pasta.
Cauliflower Mac And Cheese Recipe
This cauliflower mac and cheese recipe is a perfect fit for your healthy eating routine.
Dont get too hung up on the name theres actually no macaroni and only a small, healthy amount of cheese. Instead, we smothered the cauliflower with a rich, flavorful sauce, topped everything with cheddar, then baked it all to perfection.
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How To Make Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
- Roast cauliflower. This baked cauliflower mac and cheese starts with roasted cauliflower. Toss cauliflower florets with melted butter and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 10-15 minutes, until crisp tender, or done to your liking.
- Make cheese sauce. Heat the cheddar cheese, heavy cream, milk, and more butter, stirring frequently. Heat until the cheese mixture is smooth, being careful not to overheat.
TIP: You have some substitution options for the sauce. You can lighten up the recipe by using more almond milk and less cream. Or just the opposite, make it more rich by using more cream instead. Coconut milk or coconut cream would also be fine, if you dont mind some coconut flavor in there. I also like to throw in some garlic or other spices for a more adult version.
- Toss keto macaroni and cheese together. Toss cauliflower and cheese sauce together and serve immediately.
Why This Recipe Works
Cauliflower I know this goes without saying because how would this recipe work without cauliflower but it truly has been a game-changer for me when cooking, knowing theres this versatile veggie I can use instead of pasta, potatoes, riceso many other things. Its fun to mix it up once in a while and having an extra serving or two of veggies never hurt anybody.
Hand-shredded cheese Im all about the kind of shredded cheese you shred yourself. Why? Well store-bought shredded cheese is coated with this powdery substance that keeps it from all caking together in the bag. That substance that keeps it from caking also keeps it from melting together well and leaves the cheese with a grainy taste and texture. Do yourself a favor and grate it yourself its even more economical that way too.
That roux You have to make a roux to get the cheese to fold in correctly and melt smoothly and consistently. Ive skipped this step before and what you end up with is cauliflower with melted cheese pieces stuck to it. Definitely not creamy and cauliflower mac and cheese like at all.
Leftovers This recipe heats up well the next day and the day after too . Mac and cheese for daaaays.
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Tips For The Best Keto Mac And Cheese
This is essentially perfect cauliflower mac and cheese, but there are things that can go wrong, gritty or grainy cheese sauce for example. So here are some tips to make your baked mac and cheese awesome.
The Healthy Cheese Sauce For Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
We get that youre expecting a sauce full of cheese and cream so lets not dance around the issue: This sauce doesnt contain cheese. Instead, we made a cream sauce using cream, milk, and broth thickened with a roux and thoroughly seasoned.
If youre not familiar, roux is a thick paste made by constantly stirring butter and flour over heat until the flour is cooked. Some recipes ask for a white roux while others require a darker roux a white roux thats cooked for a bit longer.
Todays recipe calls for a white roux, and it comes together in a matter of seconds. As soon as its formed, the liquids are gradually stirred in so the two combine to make a rich white sauce.
The liquid is typically just milk, but we also added chicken stock to make the cauliflower even more flavorful.
Once a silky sauce is achieved, its time for seasonings. We kept things simple and only used salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Finally, stir in some heavy cream to take the richness up a level, and the delicious cream sauce is complete. All thats left to do is toss it with the cauliflower, top everything with cheese, and wait for the oven to do its job. Kind of like our Twice-Baked Cauliflower Recipe and this Cauliflower Parmesan Recipe.
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Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
Cauliflower makes a wonderful replacement in recipes like low-carb mashed potatoes, so why not macaroni and cheese!?
Ive partnered with Real California Milk to create this cheesy, comfort food dish. This cauliflower dish is great for college students looking for healthy meals made from real food, and their parents looking for more ways to incorporate more vegetables into meals. My college age daughter was home while I was testing it, and she went nuts over this dish. Shes a big cheese fan, but tries to avoid eating too much pasta. It can be a quick study snack, main lunch or dinner, or serve it as a side dish for a multi-course meal.
College students, now that school is back in full swing, this delicious dish will help you fuel up on protein! To make a stove-top version, simply skip the last step of baking it in the oven and serve it right out of the pot.
Making The Cheese Sauce
After youve achieved tender cauliflower, its time to make the gooey sauce. This is my favorite part! Use your favorite cheese combinations as long as it equals 2 1/2 cups total. This cheese sauce is straightforward to make.
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Can I Make Keto Cauliflower In The Instant Pot
Yes, you can make this keto cauliflower mac and cheese in the Instant Pot. You will need to follow the instructions as directed except instead of placing the ingredients in a baking dish you need to put in a bowl that fits in your Instant Pot.
Its vital that you dont put the ingredients directly into the Instant Pot or it will burn. Put 1 cup of water, the trivet and the bowl with ingredients into the pressure cooker. Put it on manual time for 5 minutes.
Once it finishes cooking, allow to do a natural release for 10 minutes, then finish up with a quick release. You can broil the mac and cheese if you would like it to be browned on top.
Cauliflower Mac And Cheese Serving Suggestions
This mac n cheese is fantastic as-is, but feel free to serve it with a little extra cheese . I love topping mine with Vegan Parmesan, and Jack always showers his with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. We both sprinkle some fresh parsley on top.
Enjoy this recipe as a light meal on its own, with a hunk of crusty bread or focaccia for sopping up the cheese sauce at the bottom of your bowl. Its also a yummy side dish. Serve it with your favorite protein, veggie chili, tomato soup, or a baked potato with all the fixings.
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