If you have some extra time on your hands and a head of cauliflower that needs using up, this mac and cheese is a great one to enjoy with the whole family. It uses up food items you probably already have in your pantry and on recipe can serve up to 8 people. Mac and cheese is easily freezer friendly and any leftovers make a second dish to last you throughout the week.
This is a lightened up version of a comfort food classic—and an obvious favourite around the dinner table at my house. Think mac and cheese meets cauliflower with cheese sauce. The best part is that there is a whole head of cauliflower in this recipe, so you’re getting a good
serving of vegetables with every bite.
ZERO WASTE TIPS: When storing in the freezer, make sure to put the mac and cheese in freezer-safe storage containers in individual portions so they are easy to defrost!
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- blender or food processor
- casserole dish
- 2 cups macaroni or pasta of choice cooked to package instructions
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
- 1 cup stock or broth of choice chicken is good here
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/2 onion, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp AP flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- Pinch cayenne or to taste
- 1-2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups melty cheese of choice like mozzarella and/or Gruyere
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan for topping
- 1 cups grape or cherry tomatoes optional for topping
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and grease a casserole dish or cast-iron frying pan with butter or oil.
- Boil pasta in boiling salted water, according to the package directions; drain and set aside.
- Steam cauliflower florets over boiling salted water in a double boiler (or steamer insert) until fork tender. Transfer half of the steamed cauliflower into a blender or food processor and purée with the stock until smooth. Chop remaining cauliflower florets into smaller florets.
- In a large saucepot, melt butter over medium-low heat until foamy. Add onion and garlic and cook 3–5 minutes until softened.
- Stir in flour and continue to cook, while stirring, for 3 minutes.
- Slowly whisk in milk to prevent lumps from forming, whisk in cauliflower purée and continue to simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 3–5 minutes.
- Whisk in the Dijon, cayenne, paprika and nutmeg. Add the grated cheese and keep on low heat until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- Fold in the cooked pasta and remaining chopped cauliflower into the cheese sauce. Spoon into a greased dish.
- Sprinkle Parmesan overtop and scatter with halved tomatoes if using. Bake approximately 20 minutes or until bubbling and browned on top.
Photo by Reena Newman, Props by Laura Branson.
If you enjoyed my cauliflower mac and cheese recipe, you can check out my other creations here. You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more delicious recipes, zero-waste tips and tricks!