This Hidden Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese is a great way to sneak in a healthy vegetable and mask it with delicious creamy mac ‘n’ cheesy comfort food.
Cauliflower. Not a fan. I have friends go on and on about how much they love cauliflower and how many different ways they eat it – roasted, cut into thick “steaks”, made into “rice” which is just raw cauliflower cut to look like rice. You can’t fool me. The only way I eat cauliflower is if its covered in cheese or a wonderful dip.
I got a head of cauliflower in my farm box (I hate it when they do that) and because I 1) don’t like wasting food and 2) will eat macaroni and cheese day and night, I decided to steam it, puree it with half and half, and sneak it into some mac n cheese.
For this particular version, I used a combination of sharp cheddar and jalapeno jack because its what I happened to have in my frig, but any cheeses that melt nicely will do. Go ahead. Be creative.
I popped the pasta into the broiler for a few minutes to slightly brown the top because there are fewer things in this life better than crispy browned cheese straight from the oven (bacon, for example, is one of those fewer things). But there is a huge part of me that enjoyed the pasta more before I put it in the oven because it was just so creamy and yum. Only you can decide what works best for you. Be sure to let me know if you pulled one over on your family and you got any non-lovers-of-cauliflower to eat it.
- 16 oz macaroni
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 cup half and half, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 12 ounces cheese, grated (roughly 3 cups, use sharp cheddar, pepper jack, gouda, fontina, gruyere, or a combination)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- fresh ground pepper to taste
- In boiling salted water, cook macaroni. Cook just slightly al dente. Drain, do not rinse, and set aside.
- Separate cauliflower florets from stalk and steam until soft and tender. Puree in blender with 1/2 cup half and half (I use the sauce setting on my blendtec).
- Combine butter, shredded cheese, cauliflower puree, remaining half and half, garlic powder, mustard powder, and salt in large pot. Heat over medium heat until melted, 2-3 minutes. Add in drained pasta and stir until well combined. Serve with fresh ground pepper.
- If preferred, put in oven safe dish and broil on high 5 minutes to slightly brown the top, giving a toasted nutty flavor.