Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

COOK’S NOTES: (1) We weren’t crazy about the bread crumb topping so I left it out. Next time, try sprinkling the top with cheese instead. (2) There was probably enough sauce to stretch to 50% more pasta. (3) Try substituting melted butter for the vegetable oil and consider doubling it.

Creamy Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

oil spray

2.5 cups chicken broth (or water)
2 bay leaves
1 cauliflower, cored and cut into florets
8 ounces (see Cook’s Notes above) elbow macaroni (or other cut pasta), preferably whole wheat
1.5 cup grated cheese, such as extra-sharp cheddar, Gruyere, Emmental, or a combination (+ additional cheese for topping)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, or to taste

black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
real bacon bits, for serving (optional)


1. Heat oven to 400°F, bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta, and grease a 9-inch baking dish with oil spray. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook–stirring frequently–until still somewhat chalky inside and not yet edible, about 5 minutes. Strain and set aside.

2. Add the chicken broth and bay leaves to a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat. When small bubbles appear along the sides (about 5-10 minutes), turn off the heat and let stand.

3. Cook the cauliflower in two batches using Ziploc Steam Bags (follow the instructions for cooking times). Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor.

4. Remove the bay leaves from the stock. Carefully process the cauliflower with 2 cups of the stock and the cheese, sour cream, mustard powder, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and vegetable oil (you may have to work in batches). If the sauce seems too thick, add the remaining 1⁄2 cup stock. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Pour the sauce over the pasta, toss, and spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish. (You can make the dish to this point, cover, and refrigerate for up to a day; return to room temperature before proceeding.)

4. (See Cook’s Notes above re. topping.) Bake until the pasta is bubbling and the crumbs turn brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot. Sprinkle with bacon bits, if desired.


Adapted from

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