You won’t believe that this creamy, cheesy mac ‘n ‘cheese is on the lighter side! Loaded with tender roasted cauliflower and topped with lots of crispy breadcrumbs.
Hi, healthy mac ‘n’ cheese. Welcome to the Superfood Party. You’re kinda late, but I saved you a seat.
….in my stomach.
All wisecracks aside, let’s talk healthy mac. It DOES exist, you know. And clearly, it’s amazing since this is literally my new favorite mac ‘n’ cheese in the universe.
Okaaaay, I may be just a little biased, considering my insane love for cauliflower, but I have no doubt you’ll think the same of this mac. Seriously DA BEST.
And if you still have your doubts? Allow me to come over there and give you a friendly cauliflower-mac-n-cheese-shoving in the face.
That said, grab that head of cauli stat. It’s obv our superfood ingredient for today. 🙂
This mac is seriously SO cheesy, creamy and just plain ol’ comforting just like a mac ‘n’ cheese should be. SURPRISE! There’s no heavy cream, no processed cheese, no scarily-high-calorie anything inside.
Just a whoooole lotta’ healthy yum. 😉
Let’s talk about the sauce.
As I previously stated above, ↑ The ingredients in the sauce is on the lighter, cleaner side of things. But SCORE! You’d never know it, because this sauce is just so perfectly creamy and cheesy. Heaven on a spoon.
Oh, geez. I did NOT just say that…
We’re going to use milk as most mac sauces call for (I always always use skim) chicken broth (this is subbing in for the heavy cream) flour for thickening, just a LITTLE bit of butter (not much, I promise!) a few seasonings, and then REAL shredded cheddar cheese. The real stuff, guys. None of that rubbery scary Velveeta.
I seriously did not expect this sauce to taste as amazing as it did, but my heavens, it did…♥
Swimming around with the elbows and roasty cauliflower and topped with all the crispy breadcrumbs and I’d say it’s definitely time for a faceplant. 🙂
*Quick note on the cauliflower.*
As you may have caught above, we’re going to roast the cauliflower florets before adding it to the pasta and our perfectly-perfect cheese sauce. Roasting brings out all the flavors of the cauliflower, plus it ensures that we’ll have that perfect soft-tender texture. Crunchy cauli mac is a huge-ish no-no in my mind.
Simply spread the cauliflower florets on a greased baking sheet, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast ‘er up at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflower is fork-tender.
Try not to eat it all right then and there. ♥
Toss the cauli with some elbows (not actual ones—just gross) and the sneakily-healthy cheese sauce in your prettiest casserole dish. Sprinkle on the seasoned breadcrumbs like ‘ya just don’t care…
Bake until bubbly, then stuff ‘yo face like there’s no tomorrow.
Friends, I think I can safely say that there is just no beating this mac. And the fact that it’s healthy too? Yes, I think I will take a third helping…
Even Ms. Picky-Pants Rachel who hates cauliflower with a disturbingly high-amount of passion and is VERY particular about how her mac ‘n’ cheese is prepared, was cleaning her plate and asking for seconds.
And that, my friends, is a very huge SCORE in this household.
Oh-so-yummy, yet oh-so-healthy. Dig in! 🙂
Healthy Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
- 1 medium head of cauliflower cut into florets (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb elbow pasta cooked according to package ingredients
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
Place cauliflower florets on a greased baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400F 20-25 minutes or until cauliflower is tender. Remove from oven and set aside.
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter, then whisk in flour until smooth. Slowly add milk and chicken broth, whisking constantly until smooth. Stir over medium-high heat until sauce is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and whisk in garlic powder, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
Place roasted cauliflower and cooked pasta in a greased 9x13 baking pan. Pour cheese sauce over top and gently stir until evenly coated. Sprinkle top with breadcrumbs.
Bake macaroni and cheese at 375F 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Need some more mac inspiration? Silly question. 😉