No one is going to be looking for the macaroni in this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese! It’s deliciously creamy, perfectly cheesy and is surely going to impress the entire crowd. It might just become your new favourite Keto recipe for the sole reason that it can double up as a tasty side dish or be a hearty main.
Yeah, you read that right! It’s Cauliflower Mac and Cheese where there really is no mac at all! But don’t worry, you won’t miss it (not even a little bit)! This mac and cheese is unlike any you’ve had before while still checking off alllll the boxes of a good mac and cheese. It’s creamy, loaded with flavour, baked until ooey, gooey, bubbly perfection and is a delicious Keto friendly dish that is so good even cauliflower haters will love it! It’s easy to whip up, goes good with pretty much anything and certainly gives regular mac and cheese a run for its money! Spoiler Alert: You’re gonna wanna lick the entire plate clean!
I know, I know. I always go on about how much of a rockstar I think Cauliflower is. But I mean, any vegetable that can successfully disguise itself as pizza or wings is automatically a winner in my books. You feel me? I just love how versatile of a veggie cauliflower is and how much it can actually be. And if you have yet to feel the same, I’m sure this recipe for Cauliflower Mac and Cheese will instantly change your mind. I mean, if cauliflower can be mac and cheese then you can be anything you want to, too. 😉 Am I right?
You don’t have to be on the Keto Diet to enjoy this cheesy and creamy Low Carb “Mac and Cheese”. It’s easy enough to throw together on a busy weeknight, is a cheese lover’s dream come true and most importantly, is kid approved (so start patting yourself on the back for successfully sneaking in some extra cauliflower…eh?). Whether you’re having it as a comforting main dish or as a tasty side, this is one you’re going to keep wanting to make over and over again. If only per the family’s requests!
INGREDIENTS FOR CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
Only a few simple ingredients make up this Keto friendly cauliflower mac and cheese. Let’s talk about the ingredients in a little more detail down below:
- Cauliflower: Obviously, the star of the dish! Therefore, I like starting with as large of a head as I could find. To save time and for convenience, you could always buy cauliflower already cut into florets so you don’t have to do that part yourself. The cauliflower is the “mac” of the dish and replaces the need to have any actual macaroni or pasta. Fresh is best in this recipe.
- Cheddar Cheese: The cheese component of this cauliflower mac and cheese. There’s a lot of it, friends, so don’t be shy! It adds flavour and of course, makes it deliciously cheesy as a good mac and cheese should be. The cheese goes directly into the sauce as well as on top for maximum flavour. I used a good sharp cheddar, here, which I find compliments the other ingredients quite nicely. However, feel free to change it up a bit and play around with it! Mozzarella, monterey jack (with jalapeño!), white cheddar or havarti are all great options. To make this dish even more fun, consider blending up a couple of different cheeses!
- Cream Cheese: Cause you can never really have enough cheese, can you?! Cream cheese adds flavour, contributes to the dish’s ultimate creaminess and is the perfect ingredient for those on the Keto diet because of it’s high fat content. You’re welcome.
- Heavy Cream: Thins out the sauce a bit and makes it smooth. Adds flavour and creaminess to the dish. It’s high fat content makes it a desirable ingredients for Keto dieters.
- Onion: Adds flavour and texture to this cauliflower mac and cheese. White onion is best in this recipe.
- Garlic: Cause, if you know anything about me, there is ALWAYS room for a little bit of garlic! It adds flavour and goes extremely well with the rest of the ingredients (duh).
- Parsley: Adds freshness and a pop of colour to this recipe for cauliflower mac and cheese. Totally optional but don’t underestimate the power of fresh herbs, I tell ya! I used parsley here because it goes with pretty much anything. But feel free to change it up a bit. Fresh chopped basil, thyme, rosemary or sage all make great options.
- Spices: Adds flavour and umami to the dish. I used a combination of smoked paprika, thyme and garlic powder which are all flavours that compliment the dish nicely, IMHO. However, feel free to use your own combination of spices, if you prefer. Or, none at all!
- Butter: Adds richness and flavour to the creamy mac and cheese sauce. Keto dieters will be thankful for the extra source of healthy fat.
- Salt/Pepper: For seasoning and extra flavour. Boiling the cauliflower in salted water will give you the most flavourful results as the florets will absorb the salt as they boil.
HOW TO MAKE KETO CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE (KEY TIPS)
- Cut the cauliflower into even size florets so they all cook in the same amount of time. Bite size pieces will give you the best results as you want it to be easy to eat and get a taste of each ingredient in every bite!
- Boil the cauliflower in salted water to maximize on flavour. The salt will permeate the cauliflower as they boil making them extra flavourful and delicious. EXTRA TIP: The cauliflower florets don’t have to be completely cooked through at this time. They’ll finish cooking and become soft and tender as the dish is baking in the oven.
- For best results, grate the cheese yourself! Pre-grated cheese you buy at the grocery store has a coating on it to prevent it from clumping up in the bag. This same coating prevents it from melting properly and therefore, (SADLY) takes the ooey, gooey and cheesiness out of this dish!
- Keep an eye on the creamy sauce as you’re cooking it. Adding heavy cream and cheese to a sauce pan and cooking it down is no easy task. To avoid burning, keep it on low heat and stir frequently. This isn’t something you can just walk away from as it will boil over and/or burn and ultimately ruin your entire mac and cheese!
- Mix cauliflower florets and creamy sauce together in the casserole dish before topping with the cheese. This ensures all of the cauliflower pieces are nicely coated in the sauce.
- Allow the cauliflower mac and cheese to sit for about 5 minutes before serving/eating. This gives the cheeses and juices a chance to set and “lock in” instead of being a runny mess.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cauliflower mac and cheese is the Keto friendly/low carb way to still indulge in the creamy and cheesiness of the classic dish without the high carb count! Cauliflower florets replace any pasta or macaroni in traditional mac and cheese but don’t worry, this version stands up to the test and truly gives the real thing a run for its money!
This cauliflower mac and cheese makes a great side dish to any meal or an awesome Vegetarian lunch or dinner idea, all on it’s own!
Any leftover cauliflower mac and cheese should be stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge. It’ll be good for up to 4 days. Recipe Note: The creamy sauce and cheese will harden and stiffen up the longer it sits in the fridge. Don’t worry, though, they’ll soften back up again and return to their normal form as they heat back up in the oven.
To reheat leftovers: Use a 375° oven, an airfryer or a microwave until heated through and bubbling.
I actually haven’t tried freezing this cauliflower mac and cheese before. If you were planning on trying it, do so at your own risk (and let me know how it goes in the comment section down below!) However, I honestly think it would work out just fine.
Simply follow the instructions on the recipe card down below up until step number 7. Transfer to an oven/freezer friendly baking dish (I like using these). Cool completely. Freeze. Then, when ready to eat, cook in a 375° oven until cooked through and bubbling. Since cooking directly from frozen, it’ll probably take about 45-60 minutes. Allow to cool about 5 minutes before serving.
You can definitely prep the ingredients ahead of time – cut the cauliflower into florets, grate the cheddar cheese, chop the onions, garlic and parsley – but I wouldn’t recommend doing much more than that in advance. Since it’s the creamy sauce and bubbling cheeses that make this dish so good, it’s best served fresh.
- 1 head Cauliflower, cut into florets (~8 cups)
- 2 cups Cheddar Cheese, grated
- 1 cup Heavy Cream
- 2 oz. Cream Cheese
- 1 Onion, diced
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Butter
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 tsp Thyme
- 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cauliflower florets and cook for 6 minutes. Don't worry if they're not all the way cooked through, they'll finish cooking when baking in the oven. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the butter over medium heat in a nonstick skillet. Once hot, add the diced onion and stir a few minutes until soft and transluscent. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant, an additional minute. Remove from the heat and set aside until ready to use.
- Meanwhile, add the cream cheese, heavy cream, cheddar cheese, garlic powder, thyme, smoked paprika and some salt and pepper to a saucepan. Heat over medium low heat, whisking constantly, until all the cheese is melted and a thick sauce forms. Remove from the heat.
- Add the cauliflower florets to an 8 x 8 baking dish. Then, add the onion and garlic mixture.
- Pour the creamy cheese sauce all over. Stir to combine and make sure everything is nicely coated in the sauce.
- Add the grated cheddar cheese on top in an even layer.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and the creamy sauce bubbling. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving/eating. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, if desired, and serve hot. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 368Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 19gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 366mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 12g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A LITTLE MORE TRADITIONAL? TRY MY VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE BAKED WITH BROCCOLI NEXT!
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