Hide an entire head of cauliflower in this classic comfort food. Not only does this meatless dish provide 15 grams of protein per serving, it is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin C!
Servings: 8 Print Recipe
- 16 ounces brown rice penne; such as Tinkyada™ brand
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
- 1 cup 1% milk or favorite milk alternative
- 10 ounces shredded 2% sharp cheddar cheese, split
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- Cook pasta per package directions & drain.
- While pasta boils, steam (or microwave) cauliflower florets until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
- With hand blender, puree cauliflower and milk until creamy. Stir in pasta, 8 ounces of cheese and salt until well combined and looks like mac & cheese.
- Set broiler to High.
- Place mixture in baking dish. Evenly sprinkle remaining cheese on top and broil for 5 minutes until golden and bubbly.
- Note: Great with BBQ chicken or tofu & sautéed kale.
Nutritional Facts for Cauliflower Mac & Cheese
Daily Value %*
* Daily Value % based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Can’t wait to try this
Let me know how it goes! xx
How should we treat this as far as the percentage of protein and grains? I just bought your plan and am so excited to try this!!
Holy Moly! I love love love your question! This is a grain mostly. So it’s a little of cauliflower mac + a little BBQ chicken + lots of greens! I love the raw kale salad in the Superfood Swap Starter Kit. So easy & tastier than it seems! xx
Can you freeze this?
DJ Blatner, RDN says
Yes…but the noodles get a little mushy/mashed when you reheat it.
Jody from Olympia, WA says
Saw this dish as well as the smoothie popsicles on “My Diet Is Better” show . Just made the mac ‘n cheese and it is delish! Wasn’t as pretty as the picture because of the tan color of the rice pasta but oh so good. I didn’t even have the desire to top it with catsup as I usually do with mac ‘n cheese. LOL. Also, I usually buy fat-free milk but used 1% as the recipe specifies.
As soon as my bananas ripen, I will try the popsicle recipe. Thx, Dawn! BTW, even though I love cauliflower on its own, I have added steamed cauliflower to or in place of mashed potatoes for a long time now so it was nice to see another use.
Great to hear you are trying recipes & excited about it! Because you are such a cauliflower lover…if you haven’t tried cauliflower rice, it’s a must: https://dawnjacksonblatner.com/recipes/cauliflower-rice/
Made this tonight and it was a HUGE hit with my husband and twin 3-year-olds. Definitely a keeper! I added about 1/3 cup stuffing mix on top instead of the extra cheese before broiling it, which gave it a little bit of crunch. Thanks for sharing this!
Hey Nichole! Love that it was a big hit! Rounding it out w/ a little BBQ chicken & a salad or sautéed kale makes it the perfect meal. For crunch on top, SuperSwap that stuffing mix (white bread) to unsweetened brown rice crispy cereal (like arrowhead mills puffed brown rice cereal) or organic whole grain/unsweetened corn flakes (like Erewhon brand).
Great swap idea! Thanks!
Hey Dawn! Do you have a favorite BBQ sauce or a recipe for sauce? I couldn’t find one on the website. Thx!!
I do have a BBQ sauce recipe coming out in the Superfood Swap book (December 2016). But usually I buy BBQ sauce. I look for brands that have TOMATO as the first ingredient & no HFCS. And…I use condiment size portions to keep sugar low. 😉 I like Organicville: http://organicvillefoods.com/products/bbq-sauces/tangy-organic-bbq-sauce/
Made this tonight and my entire family thoroughly enjoyed it. My seriously picky 6 year old son asked me to make it again tomorrow! Thanks for the great recipe. 🙂
Omg, this was so good…thanks
Have been following you on ‘My Diet’ and love your plan! I cooked this recipe for my husband last night and he LOVED it – we served it with chicken breast. It is definitely a repeat meal. Looking forward to your book 🙂
Also, for a little crunch on top, I sprinkled quinoa flakes – super yum!!
So glad you tried it! To have a right ratio meal…have a little mac & cheese, a little chix and a veggie like KALE! Try this easy raw kale: Massage chopped raw kale leaves, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, and sea salt with your hands. The lemon & massage make the typically tough kale leaves super tender & delish. Top it w/ chopped almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds or your favorite nut/seed. xx
Kat Krastin says
We’re making this tonight for a late night supper (took us forever at the store – our normal store is closing and we’re having to go to a store that is busier than ours and has things in all different places!) … the hardest thing to find for this recipe was the brown rice penne.
All we could find was something called Heartland Gluten Free Corn and Rice Pasta Blend. Was that a good choice?
BTW, because stores are shrinking packages to keep up the appearances that prices aren’t changing drastically (yet, they are), there are no 10oz packages of shredded cheese (just 8oz packages).
Fiance is cooking it up and we’ll be eating it soon. Can’t wait to try the end result!!
I hope you enjoyed the dinner!! I don’t like that pasta. The ingredients are: Corn Flour, Rice Flour, Mono and Diglycerides. ALL REFINED, PROCESSED. I’d love for it to say this instead: WHOLE CORN FLOUR, BROWN RICE FLOUR. Pasta lasts a long time so you can go to the healthfood store or on amazon & stock up on real whole grain pasta. These are my favorites: http://amzn.to/1P4yEjb or http://amzn.to/1P4yFDR
I just got the kitchen aid pasta press for my birthday. Do you have a brown rice pasta recipe to make homemade noodles?
OMG! That would be so cool. I do NOT have a recipe for brown rice pasta from scratch, but I would love to see pics & hear how it goes! The best would be to use sprouted brown rice flour like this: https://www.onedegreeorganics.com/products/96. Keep me posted! xx
Hello just bought your starts kit and excited to start. What are your thoughts about stevia as well as hot sauce?
I LOVE hot sauce!! I highly recommend it!
I’m not a huge fan of recommending stevia because I like to train tastebuds to like low-level, natural sweetness like that found in fruit. Stevia for some of my clients (and me) contributes to a “hyper-sweet tooth” meaning you start needing high levels of sweetness to satisfy.
Just made it for dinner tonight and it was great. Really substantial serving size, too. (I had a gigantic head of cauliflower.)
Can you bake this like regular macaroni and cheese instead of just broiling? Also, what temp / time would that be for if possible? Thanks.
Sure. I broil it at the end just to get a little melty bubbling going on. You can do 425-450 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, uncovered.
This was amazing and super easy!! Love
Not sure what I did wrong, mine tasted like bland cauliflower. It didn’t really resemble mac and cheese at all 🙁 I am so discouraged because I have tried many mac and cheese recipes (healthy and not) and this seems to be one meal that I can just never get to come out right.. On to the next!
It sounds like you needed more cheese & salt to cauliflower ratio! And you may need to cook the cauliflower more to help it be creamy & a little sweet. A little more cheese is still less than usual versions…and SALT BRIGHTENS the flavor so it doesn’t taste bland. Salt when added to potassium-rich veggies is good for you, but salt in junk food is not! xx
I made this last night and I added 1 tsp of ground flaxseed into my mix and then served it with baked lemon Tilapia and mix salad. Delicious! I can’t wait to share it with everyone else. Thank you, Dawn!
This is the PERFECT SuperSwap RATIOS! Awesome! A little mac & cheese + a little fish + salad! OMYUM! xx
Not too difficult to make and a although different than Mac n cheese it has the same satisfying mouth feel and by the end of the meal I was hooked. Thanks!
(It’s true that pasta and cheese are sold in smaller packages today)
Glad you enjoyed it! OMYUM!
abby allman says
How would this starter kit work for a pescatarian?
The plan is great for pescatarians. It is 100% vegetarian-friendly…there are veggie swaps for all meals. AND…there are fish meals in the rotation as well…like salmon toast for breakfast, salmon hummus bowl for lunch, and white fish tacos/sriracha shrimp/BBQ salmon for dinner.
Can you help me understand why this noodle is better for you than a regular Noodle? Just reading the nutritional facts on two bags doesn’t seem to tell me why I would want to choose the brown rice noodle / irregular noodle
The part of the label to look at is the INGREDIENTS. Not the numbers…the numbers on various pasta will look very similar. You are looking for ingredients that are WHOLE GRAINS instead of enriched/refined/white grains. White pasta is overly-processed C.R.A.P. while brown rice is a whole grain. Whole grains have more complete nutrition (natural vitamins, minerals, fiber) than refined, white versions. Here’s the C.R.A.P. cheat sheet: https://dawnjacksonblatner.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CRAP.pdf
S. Briggs says
Pretty good especially if you eat it right out the oven. Is also so much easier to make then real mac and cheese and also cheaper.
2nd week on your plan and lost 8 pounds! I am enjoying making trips to my local TJs to find the ingredients and discover new favorites. I didn’t even know what was kefir and now the green smoothie is my delicious monotony for my hectic mornings!
I am crying w/ excitement! Perla! Congratulations on making the changes it took to lose 8 pounds in 2 weeks! AWESOME efforts! And…best part for me is that you are ENJOYING the process! Going to TJ’s, trying new things, stretching your imagination of who you are & what you eat. LOVE!!!! xoxoxo
Made it tonight and it was a success! My 3 year old loved it and she’s been refusing any veg for awhile now. I’ll definitely make it again.
YES! #winning xoxox
Love love love this recipe! Made it twice with minor tweaks – the first time I sauteed a bit of onion and banana pepper and blended it into the sauce. Enjoyed the leftovers all week 😀
The second time I made this I actually served the sauce on rice instead of pasta with was equally delicious and added fresh parsley to the sauce.
Thanks for a winning recipe Dawn!
Love your creativity! It really is a MULTI-PURPOSE cheese sauce!!!!
Just wanted to update that I made this again as my brother had requested Kraft Dinner which I can’t stomach. I simply told him I was making homemade mac and cheese, and I added some carrot in with the cauliflower to add some orange hue to the sauce, reduced the cheese per personal preference. He had no idea he was eating veggies lol. Served with some sliced cucumbers on the side I was glad to be able to get a decent amount of veggies into him for once.
What great ideas! I loved the recipe too. Thank you I think I will try to change up a bit too.
I tried this last week and it was great! I love that my husband and kids did not know they were getting veggies with their Mac & Cheese. I would love more recipes that sneak in vegetables.
I tried this tonight… Big flop. if I make it again I will rice the califlower before I cook it.. Florets after cooked in the mixer to purée just made a huge mess! Broiling didn’t melt the cheese… Cooked about 15 more minutes on 450… The noodles turned a strange shade of pink/brown when I mixed in the cauliflower… It is very tasty!!!
Great work trying this recipe! Glad it was tasty after all of your efforts! Some notes: If you steam the cauliflower enough, it should be very easy to mash by hand with a potato masher or you can use a blender or food processor. A typical “mixer” isn’t the best tool for the job. Make sure you are using REAL 2% cheese and not fat-free. Fat free versions don’t melt. Lately I’ve been making this with full-fat cheese & just use a little less. Brown rice noodles should not turn pink, it may have been the cauliflower if it was in a metal pan. Cauliflower can turn pink when it is exposed to iron. Thanks for trying this recipe…great work!
Made this tonight and it turned out great minus needing a bit more cheese and other seasonings.
We made this tonight. Added chicken and a bag of baby spinach, plus garlic and a bunch of spices (particularly Cajun mix and smoked paprika). It’s DELICIOUS. Thank you!
LOVE your additions! OMYUM! xx
How much frozen cauliflower florets would be equal to a head? Frozen cauliflower is a staple at my house these days (fresh costs more in my area). Mashed potatoes are now caulipotatoes; for me and my husband, I use one medium size potato and equal amount of cauliflower and instead of milk and butter I use sour cream and cheddar cheese.
1 head of cauliflower makes 4-6 cups of florets. A 10 ounce frozen bag is about 2 cups. So you can make this recipe with 2 bags. Milk, butter, sour cream, cheese are all ingredients to use sparingly. In fact when I do mashed cauliflower I don’t use anything but water, sea salt & black pepper…and just sprinkle a little chives & cheddar on top. It’s a great trick…instead of hiding ingredients like butter, sour cream, cheese inside a recipe…I like to see it on top. Seems more decadent when you see it & you end up using way less!
I just ordered the Starter Kit & I am so excited to get started! Unfortunately, I’m a picky-eater, but I’m hoping that trying new things will get me in the right direction to better myself. Plus, I really need to get motivated to lose weight for my wedding next Fall.
P.S. I loved watching you & Jasmin on “My Diet is Better than Yours!” I knew you ladies would take home the WIN 🙂
Thanks for the show love! It was such an inspiring group of people & experience!! OMG!
So glad you are open to trying new things! Attitude is everything! You can start by focusing on eating foods you already like, but just in the right ratios on your plate….visually aim for 25% grain + 25% protein + 50% produce w/ healthy fat. Then you can slowly try a new grain, a new protein, or a new veggie. Have fun with it. You won’t like everything new, but there will definitely be some things you try that you will LOVE!
This has been our “go to” mac and cheese recipe since we saw the show!! When I mention I’m making mac & cheese, my 14 year old always asks if it is “the good mac & cheese.” I typically use an organic brown rice/quinoa blend that I find at Aldi’s. It has a texture quite similar to traditional pasta. Most often I leave out the milk because I have found if we use a HUGE head of cauliflower, then steam it and puree it, it has enough moisture alone to mix with the cheese. Mix a bit of pepper into the cauliflower/cheese puree, bake at 350 for 15 minutes, and it’s perfection!!! I brought to our Easter family dinner as my “side dish.” The pan was scraped clean and I was handing out your recipe. Thank you for giving us moms of picky eaters healthier choices at mealtime. =]
LOVE this story! Thanks for sharing. I hope you try more SWAP recipes! This is how healthy eating should be…family-friendly & fun! xo