Mac & cheese is a kid favorite, but when it comes to good nutrition, this classic kid dish is lackluster at best. For my Cauliflower Mac & Cheese makeover, I use whole wheat elbow pasta, add shredded cauliflower (it disappears right into the dish), and create a yummy, creamy sauce that’s made with no cream at all.
If you thought kale was the “it” vegetable, you’re right. But nutritious, versatile, and flavorful cauliflower has achieved “it” status too. Lately, I’ve been shredding it on the holes of a box grater to make “rice,” which I then sauté and add to dishes like this easy-does-it mac & cheese. (You can also use a food processor to make cauliflower “rice.”)
It takes a minute or two to shred the cauliflower on the large holes of a box grater. It ends up looking like rice, which you can then saute and eat as is or add to things like mac & cheese; you can even use it as the base for tabbouleh.
I’m not a big believer in “hiding” vegetables in kid recipes, but I do believe in using nutrient-rich ingredients, like cauliflower, whenever possible.
I prefer the term, “weave” when it comes to incorporating veggies into everyday recipes 🙂
- Serves: 4 Servings
- Serving size: About 1 cup
- Calories: 330
- Fat: 12g
- Saturated fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 43g
- Sodium: 260mg
- Fiber: 5g
- Protein: 16g
- 6 ounces dried whole wheat elbow pasta (or whole wheat blend), (about 1½ cups)
- 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Half of a small head of cauliflower (about 12 ounces untrimmed and 7 ounces trimmed), shredded on the large holes of a box grater, (about 2 cups) * It will look like rice
- 1½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups 1% low-fat milk
- 5 tablespoons low-fat buttery garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese (AKA Boursin cheese)
- ½ cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
- ¼ packed cup chopped fresh basil
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. When done, drain and set aside.
- In the same saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the flour and whisk until combined, 1 minute.
- Whisk the milk slowly into the cauliflower mixture. Raise the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and continue to simmer and stir gently until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the garlic-and-herb cheese and the Cheddar cheese until combined. Stir in the cooked pasta until combined. Stir in the basil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve in individual bowls and top with additional basil as desired.
I just shot a cooking video featuring this Cauliflower Mac & Cheese for my CNN Accent Health client. Here’s the crew getting the final “beauty” shot ready. My mac & cheese is going to be famous 🙂