You guys wanna hear some fun news?
Remember last year when I teamed up with Jen Widerstrom from The Biggest Loser? Well, we’re at it again and this time we’re bringing you recipes twice a month. We’re focusing on recipes that are quick and easy, like these Spicy String Beans with Crushed Macadamia Nuts, and transformational dishes such as this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese!
Transformational, meaning comfort food with a twist. How can we turn everyday, typically unhealthy foods, into a healthier choice? I know. Why ruin mac and cheese with vegetables?!? Bleh! I promise. If I didn’t tell you, you wouldn’t have even noticed. Do you hate me yet?
Well, if you’re gonna eat mac and cheese you may as well give your body a break and lighten it up a bit, right? I mean, I get it. There are some foods in life that are meant to be eaten as is. Like ice cream for example. If you’re gonna eat ice cream, JUST EAT IT. Sure, there are ways to lighten it up, even ways to make it “healthy”. But why? I say if you’re gonna eat ice cream, then just go for it dude. And don’t look back. Now. Let’s talk mac and cheese.
All I did to this recipe was take away some of the naughtiness. There’s no flour, no butter, and I substituted just SOME of the cheese and replaced it with creamy cauliflower. That’s the beauty of this vegetable. It can go undercover. Kind of like how it did in these Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. Once cooked and blended, cauliflower thinks it’s cream. Sneaky little guy.
If you want to be REALLY good, you can use a gluten free pasta, which would work just fine. However, I did not. Well, here you have it folks. You won’t miss the creamy, cheesy texture of traditional mac and cheese, I promise! Don’t knock it ’til you try it.
- 2 cups uncooked macaroni,can also use gluten-free pasta
- 5 cups chicken stock,or vegetable stock
- 1 12 ounce bag cauliflower florets, or 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
- 1 cup shredded cheese,I use a mixture of fontina, gruyere, and parmesan
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Garnish with chopped chives and extra shredded parmesan cheese
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook according to package, about 7-8 minutes. Drain noodles and set aside.
In the same pot bring the chicken stock to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until fork tender, about 5-7 minutes. Once cooked, reserve 1 cup of the chicken stock and set aside. Drain the rest of the cauliflower.
Place the cooked cauliflower in a blender and add the reserved 1 cup of stock. Blend until very smooth. Pour the sauce back into the pot and warm over low heat. Add the cheese and stir continuously until cheese has melted and sauce is smooth. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste. Add the cooked noodles to the cheese sauce and stir until well coated.
Remove from heat and serve immediately. Garnish with chopped chives and extra shredded parmesan cheese if desired.
* I like the combination of the three cheeses in this dish. The fontina is mild and melts beautifully. The gruyere is a little sharp and compliments the mildness of the fontina. And the parmesan gives it a nice salty bite. Together they make the perfect trio for this restaurant style, "healthy-ish" mac and cheese.