Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cauliflower Mac 'n Cheese

First, let me apologize for the crappy picture.  It's that time of year again where there is usually no natural light when I'm cooking, so we're going to just make do with what we have, mmmkay?  Let's face it, if you're a reader of this blog you're probably not here for the pictures anyway, so we'll move on.  And talk about mac and cheese.  

This is a really fun recipe from Real Simple that I tried last week after seeing it on Carrots and Cake.  I can't say I make mac and cheese a lot because it's typically not the most nutritious meal (although there was that time in college where I made it, like, every weekend...and wondered why I gained the Freshman 15 20).  This recipe is different from a lot of traditional mac and cheese recipes because it uses whole wheat pasta, and has a large portion of cauliflower to bulk it up and include a veggie serving for the day.  It actually calls for a whole head of cauliflower.  When I was making it, I was hesitant to include that much cauliflower, but after eating it John and I both agreed I could have used even more - it's part of what made it so good!

The recipe says it serves 6, but this would be one of the rare instances I actually think the serving size is underestimated.  John and I have eaten lots of leftovers, and we froze 2 individual sized portions for times when I need to heat up a quick side dish.  It's great as a main course but would be equally as good as a side dish at a cookout.  I also think kids would really like this recipe - it's creamy with a hint of tang and the ultimate comfort food!

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Recipe Source: Real Simple (slightly adapted)
Serves 6 generous portions

1 12 ounce package of small pasta (I used whole wheat penne)
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup flat leaf Italian parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/2 cup 1 percent milk
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Cook pasta according to the package directions and add in chopped cauliflower during the last 3 minutes.  Drain.

Mix the bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons olive oil, chopped parsley, 1/4 tablespoon salt and pepper in a large bowl and set aside.

Return the pasta pot to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and chopped onion.  Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 5 - 7 minutes, until the onion begins to turn translucent.  Mix in the pasta, cauliflower, cheese, sour cream, milk, and dijon mustard.

Transfer pasta mixture to a casserole dish and top with bread crumb mixture.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until the top begins to brown.  Serve with a light green salad.


  1. So funny that you posted this. Brandon requested mac and cheese for dinner this week and this recipe actually crossed my mind. Although I'm not going to tell him and he'll probably give me a dirty look for making a healthy version! ;)

  2. I've printed the recipe and this is on my meal calendar for this week. Looks delicious! :)