Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Creamy stovetop mac and cheese made healthier with low-fat milk, whole grain pasta, and a generous helping of roasted cauliflower.
This week, the #SundaySupper family is partnering with American Family Insurance to encourage healthy eating habits.
We all have a dream, right?
My dream is to one day feed people from the comforts of my own bakery/café. I have it all mapped out. My little space will be full of books and comfortable seating. I’ll know all of my customers by name and greet them as they walk through the door. As I stand behind the counter taking orders and whisking up batches of cupcakes, I’ll watch their faces light when they bite into one of my cookies. There will be lots of cookies. Oh, and donuts. Lots and lots of donuts.
American Family Insurance encourages their clients to dream big, and when they do, they’ll be there to protect their investment.
I don’t know about you, but dreaming big makes me hungry.
A hunger this fierce requires comfort food. For me, the very definition of comfort food is cheese.
In order to stay healthy and happy, I slipped some roasted cauliflower into a huge pot of bubbling cheese sauce and stirred in a few noodles.
Parents, if you want your kids to eat more veggies, all you have to do is smother them in cheese. Heck, I’ll eat a dirty shoe if it’s smothered in cheese.
I made this mac and cheese healthier by using low-fat milk and swapping regular pasta for whole-grain pasta. I used an entire head of cauliflower that I chopped up into bite-size pieces and roasted until toasty and perfectly golden brown. The roasted cauliflower gets folded into the cheese sauce right along with the noodles.
Each bite is full of crunchy cauliflower, melted cheese, and whole grain noodle goodness.
I made this big pot of mac and cheese right on the stovetop in under 30 minutes. The trick to extra creamy stovetop mac is cream cheese. I stirred in 2 ounces of low-fat cream cheese to create a rich, creamy cheese sauce.
To add crunch, I topped the mac with toasted panko bread crumbs.
Go ahead and fill that plate up!
For more recipe inspiration, follow the Family Favorites Turned Healthy #ChooseDreams Pinterest board.
Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Rich, creamy stovetop mac and cheese made healthier with low-fat milk, whole grain pasta, and lots of roasted cauliflower.
Yield: 6 servings
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
1 small head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Panko Bread Topping:
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Mac & Cheese:
1 (13.5 ounce) box whole grain pasta, cooked according to package instructions and drained
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups low-fat milk (1% or 2%)
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cups monterey jack cheese
2 ounces low-fat cream cheese (neufchatel)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
To make the roasted cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown and tender.
To make the panko bread crumbs: Line a baking sheet with parchment. Add bread crumbs to the prepared sheet and add olive oil. Using your fingers, toss the bread crumbs to coat with oil. Bake for 4-5 minutes until golden brown.
To make the cheese sauce:
While the cauliflower is roasting, add the butter to a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until melted. Add the diced onions and a pinch of salt; stir to combine. Cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions are translucent. Whisk in the flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
Slowly whisk in the milk. Turn the heat up to medium and allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Cook until the mixture thickens, about 6-8 minutes. You’ll know when the mixture is ready with the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Once the mixture thickens, stir in the salt, pepper, dijon mustard, and worcestershire sauce.
Turn off the heat and stir in the cream cheese until smooth (small lumps are okay). Slowly stir in the cheddar and monterey jack cheese until smooth. Fold in the pasta and roasted cauliflower. Transfer the mixture to a casserole or serving dish. Top with toasted bread crumbs. Serve immediately.
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by American Family Insurance. All opinions are my own.