This roasted cauliflower mac and cheese is a healthier alternative to one of our favourite comfort foods. Packed with vegetables and gluten-free!
How was your weekend? We had a busy one celebrating my husband’s birthday, a baptism and, of course, Superbowl. Needless to say, we had our fair share of eating!
As mentioned earlier, we’re working on making better food choices this year. But, every once in awhile, we have cravings for comfort food like good ‘ol mac and cheese (especially when we get a dump of snow and it turns cold like on Saturday). I thought, why not make this decadent dish a little healthier by using brown rice pasta and adding a good portion of roasted cauliflower. Wowza.
This roasted cauliflower mac and cheese is so much better than any other version I’ve ever made before!
Honestly, our favorite part of this dish is the cauliflower. Caramelized bits of heaven topped with cheese. You can’t beat that! And the whole thing tastes even better as leftovers when the flavors really come together- yum!
I think it’s safe to say your kids will eat it too (although our son ate any vegetable under the sun growing up, so I’m a bit naive at times). Perhaps try it without the garlic to start with (we like garlic in everything!) and go from there. I’d love to know how it goes over with your family, so let me know when you have a minute.
Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
- 1 medium head of cauliflower (about 5 cups broken into bite-sized pieces)
- 1 TB. extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt (to taste)
- fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)
- 250 g. brown rice macaroni (uncooked)
- 3 TB. butter (divided)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 2 TB. brown rice flour
- 1 cup milk (whole or partly skimmed)
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- 3-4 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 6 fresh basil leaves (chopped)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place washed and dried cauliflower on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and pepper. Roast in oven for 30-45 minutes (turning halfway through) until cauliflower is tender and pieces start turning brown and carmelizing.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, prepare the pasta according to the directions (we like ours on the "al dente" side). Drain, reserving a bit of the liquid, and transfer the pasta and liquid to a bowl. Set aside.
In the same pot, over medium heat, add 2 TB. butter plus the onions. Cook until onions are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic and remaining butter. Whisk in the brown rice flour and cook for a minute. Slowly add the milk and mustard, whisking continuously. Turn down the heat to medium-low and let simmer until it starts to thicken a bit (about 2 minutes), stirring often.
Add half the cheddar and stir until it comes together. Turn off heat and carefully mix in the pasta and cauliflower. Season with salt and pepper to taste (remember the cheese will add salt, so go easy).
Transfer to a skillet or casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes at 375 degrees and broil at the end to brown the cheese to your liking.
Top with basil and serve.
Looking for something on the sweeter side? Check out these decadent skillet recipes: