You Won't Miss the Noodles in This Low-Carb Cauliflower Mac 'n' Cheese

"With this low-carb recipe, missing macaroni and cheese has become a thing of the past."

This bold statement caught my eye while flipping through a copy of The Everything Low-Carb Meal Prep Cookbook ($20; amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, simonandschuster.com) that recently made its way across my desk. I'm not particularly low-carb myself (I'm eating pretzels and dessert hummus while I write this), but my partner has celiac disease, so we do miss sharing a certain kind of (gluten-full) mac and cheese.

While it seems everyone who has adopted any one of the latest trendy low-carb diets–keto, paleo, Atkins, you name it–has fallen head over heals for cauliflower, it's a helpful swap for gluten-free eating too, especially for my pizza-loving guy. But could it really take the place of macaroni in such a comfort-food favorite?

I had to put author and certified holistic nutrition consultant Lindsay Boyers' recipe to the test.

I must admit, eating cauliflower doesn't exactly feel like you're eating pasta–but I was not disappointed. The texture of the cauliflower withheld both the roasting and the baking called for, and each bite was divinely cheesy. The bumps and groves of the florets seemed to soak up individual morsels of gooey cheese sauce, of which there is a hearty amount in this recipe.

To me, that's a good thing. Nothing like some fat and protein to keep you feeling full–especially if you're going to get six servings out of this (I admit, I did not). I even threw in a handful of pepper jack cheese at the last minute because… why not? If you'd prefer a vegan bowl, Boyers offers a cheese-sauce substitute. And she has a solution for anyone who craves the texture of noodles: Swap in cooked spaghetti squash instead of cauliflower.

Check out the recipe below–and the cookbook for 300 more tasty, make-ahead meals.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

¼ tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. dried parsley

1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

½ cup shredded gruyère cheese

½ cup full-fat coconut milk

1 Tbsp. ghee

⅛ tsp. ground nutmeg

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Serves 6 

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley. Add cauliflower and toss to coat.
  3. Arrange cauliflower on a baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes or until browned and crispy. Transfer cauliflower to an 8" × 8" baking dish.
  4. Combine remaining ingredients except Parmesan cheese in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir and allow to simmer 5 minutes. Pour over cauliflower and toss to coat completely. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
  5. Bake 10 minutes or until starting to brown. Remove and allow to cool.
  6. Divide into six equal portions and transfer each portion to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Nutrition per serving

Calories: 273 | Fat: 23 g | Protein: 12 g | Sodium: 715 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Carbohydrates: 6 g | Sugar: 2 g

Veganize it

If you want to make a vegan version of this recipe, you can make a vegan cheese sauce by combining one 15-ounce can full-fat coconut milk, 2 Tbsp. no-sugar-added cashew butter, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. onion powder, ½  tsp. garlic powder, ¾ teaspoon dry mustard, ½ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. pepper, 5 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, and ½ tsp. white vinegar in a food processor and processing until smooth. Heat sauce over low heat on the stove and pour on top of cauliflower before baking.

Excerpted from The Everything Low-Carb Meal Prep Cookbook by Lindsay Boyers, CHNC. Copyright © 2018 Adams Media, a division of Simon and Schuster. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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