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!
Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese
Cauliflower makes a wonderful replacement in recipes like low-carb mashed potatoes, so why not macaroni and cheese!?
I’ve 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. She’s 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.
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 real cheese. First step to success is to start with real cheese. 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.
Is dairy nutritious?
It’s best to get your nutrients, including calcium, from real foods. That’s because whole foods like calcium-rich milk, cheese and yogurt contain several vitamins, minerals and other components associated with promoting health.
Dairy foods, such as milk and cheese from Real California Milk, are the main food source of calcium for most people in the U.S. Milk and dairy products are a healthy, tasty way to get essential vitamins and minerals. One cup of milk or yogurt and 1 ½ ounces of natural cheese each contain about 300 mg of calcium. Milk contains nine essential nutrients, including calcium, important for bone health.
For quality and sustainable dairy foods look for the Real California Milk seal on dairy products at stores across the U.S. Use the Real California Milk product locator to find products at a store near you.
More Cauliflower Recipes You Will Love
- Loaded Cauliflower Mash Bake
- Low-carb Mashed Potatoes
- Cauliflower Fried Rice
- Creamy Cauliflower Chowder
- Cauliflower Rice Balls
Baked Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese
- 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
- 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.
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Real California Milk. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Skinnytaste possible. All thoughts are my own.