Baked Cauliflower Mac + Cheese

Mac and cheese was my absolute favorite food as a kid. I would eat it almost every day and order it every time I went out to eat. If the restaurant didn’t have mac and cheese, I would get some variation of it like pasta with cheese or alfredo. I’ve grown out of that phase of my life now (thank G), but mac and cheese will always be an all-time favorite of mine.

I really wanted a lighter version of mac and cheese that I would feel good about eating on an everyday basis, so I tried out this recipe and it was fantastic! I wouldn’t say it is an exact replacement for mac and cheese, but to me it’s just as satisfying and delicious. Plus, I feel healthy eating it!

The sauce in this recipe is made primarily with a base of cauliflower. Sounds weird, but it really works! You can use any pasta you want, but I used Banza chickpea pasta. If you haven’t heard of this before, you’re in for a treat. It is pasta made out of chickpeas, so it packs tons of protein and fiber – perfect for a complete vegetarian meal.

Enjoy! Xoxo

Ingredients:

1 small head of cauliflower (or ½ a large head)

1 carton veggie broth or chicken broth

1 tbsp earth balance

¼ cup milk

1 tsp + ½ tsp garlic powder

½ cup + 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Salt + pepper to taste

3 slices gluten free bread

2 tsp Italian seasoning (I used a mix of basil, oregano, cilantro)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 box pasta (I like Banza chickpea pasta)

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375⁰
  2. While making the sauce, boil water and cook the pasta. Make sure you heavily salt the water!
  3. For the sauce, wash and cut cauliflower into chunks. Boil in the broth until very soft. Once cooked, reserve ½ cup of broth and drain the rest.
  4. Place cooked cauliflower, broth, earth balance, milk, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ cup parmesan, salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. To make the breadcrumbs, toast the pieces of bread and pulse them in a blender or food processor until they look like breadcrumbs. Mix in ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper, ½ tsp garlic powder, 2 tbsp parmesan, and 2 tsp Italian seasoning. Mix in 2 tbsp olive oil.
  6. Mix together the sauce and noodles, then place in an 8 inch x 10 inch casserole dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes and serve.

 

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