For The Cheese Sauce:
- Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese You can swap this cheese with any keto cheese you prefer that melts easily, such as gruyere, gouda, or mozzarella cheese. Hard cheeses, such as parmesan cheese, will not make as smooth a sauce.
- Heavy Cream Makes a rich and smooth sauce. Some people also stir cream cheese into the sauce, but I dont find it necessary and it tastes less authentic that way.
- Unsweetened Almond Milk You can also use coconut milk beverage from the carton or more heavy cream for a nut-free version.
- Butter For flavor. Use unsalted.
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 roasted broccoli.
VARIATION: Include a crumb topping!
If you want keto mac and cheese with a crumb topping, youll also need crushed pork rinds. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish after the last step, sprinkle with crushed pork rinds, and broil for a few minutes until golden.
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.
Wait This Isnt Mac And Cheese
Now in case I threw you off with the whole Mac & cheese description, let me explain. This One Pan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese tastes like traditional Mac & Cheese. The cauliflower has a lovely nutty flavor and when cooked properly has a nice bite too it that mimics that of an al dente macaroni pasta. The cheese sauce is creamy and delicious and pairs so nicely with the cauliflower that youll never miss the carbs! I know I might be pushing it a bit, but if youre really trying to cut carbs, this is a decent alternative to mac and cheese.
Enjoy this easy one pan recipe as a side dish along with your favorite meals or as a main dish. Well be adding this to our list of the best Thanksgiving Side Dishes, so be sure to check that out too!
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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.
What Is Cauliflower Mac N Cheese
Keto cauliflower mac and cheese tastes like all the cheesy goodness of macaroni and cheese, but using cauliflower florets instead of macaroni and the same type of rich cheese sauce as the original. Even if youre a die-hard pasta lover, I think youll love the flavors in this dish. Roasted cauliflower makes a great stand-in for macaroni on the keto diet hence the name. Its delicious as a keto side dish or vegetarian keto main dish.
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Is Cauliflower Mac And Cheese Healthy
Our version of mac and cheese is truly a healthy one.
Healthy eating is all about balance getting a sufficient amount of nutrients while being cautious of some dietary components. Things like calories, sodium, and saturated fats tend to load down the average mac and cheese.
The culprit lies in the large amounts of dairy and salt used to make the sauce. Not to worry, weve found a solution. Our recipe calls for a perfect amount of these ingredients, leaving each serving with just 3.6 g saturated fats and around 300 mg sodium.
Its also important to consume just enough calories for the day. Assuming this cauliflower mac and cheese to be a side dish, we limited each serving to just 143 calories.
More Delicious Mac And Cheese Recipes
Its a total comfort food. Mac and cheese has no equal. Its creamy, decadent and so satisfying. This cauliflower mac and cheese definitely hits the spot, no concerns there. But if you are in need of another mac and cheese with a few more carbs then I have the perfect recipes for you to try.
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Keto Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
This cauliflower mac and cheese recipe needs only 6 ingredients + 5 mins prep! Low carb keto mac and cheese will satisfy your pasta cravings.
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If youre looking for a low carb keto mac and cheese replacement, you may be surprised by this cauliflower mac and cheese recipe! Like many keto cauliflower recipes, this dish takes on the flavors of the sauce. Its almost like the real thing, and so much healthier. Yes, I know its not actual pasta, but it will totally fulfill that comfort food craving but if you want real noodles, you can pour the same sauce over keto pasta noodles or other low carb pasta alternatives instead.
Growing up in a Russian-speaking family, I didnt get to try all-American macaroni and cheese until much later. I still remember tasting it for the first time, not knowing about how processed it was. The carbs in mac and cheese didnt even cross my mind. I missed this dish dearly when I switched to a low carb lifestyle, and came up with this keto mac and cheese version to fulfill that need.
This dish tastes so amazing that I included it in The Easy Keto Carboholics Cookbook, along with 99 other recipes that let you enjoy the flavor of high-carb foods while sticking to your macros. Youll see how to make cauliflower mac and cheese keto, along with incredible low carb recipes for pasta, bread, desserts, and more!
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.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
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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.
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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Broiling Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
The last step is to bake and broil this cauliflower mac and cheese. The broiling time we recommend is 3-5 minutes, but this can vary a lot from oven to oven. Id recommend keeping an eye on it the entire time it is broiling to make sure it doesnt burn. This will also allow you to pull it out when you have achieved the exact amount of crispiness you want. Our pictures show a broiling time of four minutes as a reference point.
These tips should help you create the perfect mac. Cheese sauce seasoning, cook time, and final broil time are all important in creating the best overall keto mac and cheese. The next time you take on this keto recipe youll be a pro!
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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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.
Can I Make This Mac And Cheese Ahead Of Time
If you want to make this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese ahead, Id recommend making the cheese sauce and storing it in the fridge until youre ready to cook the pasta.
You can make the sauce up to 3 days ahead of time if you store it in an airtight container. Warm the sauce for 15-30 seconds in the microwave and stir into the cooked and drained warmed pasta.
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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!
Turned Into Tuna Casserole
I added tuna and peas which turned this into tuna casserole. I did add some extra milk as per someone elses suggestion. Could have used more honestly as it does dry up in the oven. Turned out really good though. I would make it again. But like I said, mine really didnt end up being Mac and cheese.
Liz H. | August 10, 2020
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Love Cheese Sauces I Have More Recipes For You
- 1/4 teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper
- 1head organic cauliflower, cut into florets
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place oven rack in center position. Grate cheese. Set aside. Break cauliflower into florets. Place water and cauliflower in steamer, place lid on steamer and allow cauliflower to steam until fork goes in but cauliflower is a bit firm . We don’t want mushy cauliflower.
Set milk in a pan and warm on medium heat. Place a second saucepan on medium heat, melt butter, add salt and pepper. Add flour to melted butter and whisk. This is your roux, it will thicken your cheese sauce. Slowly add warm milk to the roux, continually whisking and heat until mixture begins to thicken. When milk is a bit thickened, add cheese a handful at a time whisk cheese, slowly adding more as each handful melts. When cheese is completely melted and sauce is smooth turn off heat.
Place cauliflower in baking dish). Pour cheese sauce over. Sprinkle with extra cheese if desired. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until cheese is a bit browned and crispy on top. Serve!.
Fresh Or Frozen Cauliflower
As in any recipe, fresh is best, but frozen cauliflower can be used. If its frozen, be sure to defrost and drain the cauliflower before using in this recipe.
Frozen cauliflower is already fairly soft and should only be added to the cooking water during the last couple of minutes so it doesnt overcook.
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Tips For Perfect Cheese Sauce
Have you ever made a mac and cheese that wasnt creamy or smooth? Instead if was grainy or gritty? The worst! Heres a few steps you should take for perfectly creamy cheese sauce.
Ingredients For Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
- Cauliflower: Cauliflower makes up the base of this macaroni and cheese. Looking to save even more time? Buy it pre-chopped!
- Cheddar Cheese: Shredded sharp cheddar cheese brings the distinct cheesy taste to this low carb and cheese. Feel free to sub half of the cheddar for mozzarella or pepper jack!
- Cream Cheese: While most macaroni recipes rely on a flour roux to add creamy thickness, well simply use cream cheese.
- Mustard: Our secret ingredient that brings everything together! Maille Dijon Originale Mustard is our mustard of choice here, bringing a pop of zing that makes this dish feel less heavy.
- Salt and Pepper: Season to taste, adding your favorite spices like cayenne or smoked paprika!
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