What’s wrong with this title? How can we call it Mac & Cheese when there is nothing even remotely resembling Macaroni in it? This is the ongoing argument between my husband John, and I. Now, while part of me agrees with him, the part that grew up on homemade, crispy topped, giant casserole dishes of ooey, gooey, ACTUAL macaroni…there’s also the Keto/LCHF/Banting goddess that resides in my brain gently reminding me that cauliflower actually is similar to macaroni. The texture is similar, the way it absorbs and takes on the flavors in the dish is similar. And let’s face it low carb mommas….when you haven’t had ACTUAL pasta in soooo long, cauliflower makes a dang good replacement! Therefore, I have learned to love it. But part of that love comes from getting the recipe RIGHT. I mean, there are hundreds of recipes for it after all. What makes any one of them better than the next? For me…that’s getting it as close to those giant casserole dishes my grandma used to make as I can! That’s what my recipe and method is based on.
Having said that, I will move directly onto the recipe.
1 head fresh cauliflower
4 cups shredded or chopped MIXED cheese (I usually mix half and half mozzarella and cheddar but sometimes I add a little Gouda or provolone or even Gruyère…having more than one type of cheese is actually the key to this dish tasting so good.)
Set 1 cup aside for the topping.
4 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp cayanne pepper
Roughly chop your cauliflower removing the green leaves and the hard center heart. There is no need to chop it into little pieces. The bigger your bunches are, the better. Chopping it before cooking makes a mess.
Place all of cauliflower into a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil. Lower heat so that you have a low boil for 5 minutes. Check it every minute after this. You want to be able to easily pierce it with a fork. When you achieve that drain the cauliflower in a colander. Allow it to drain for at least 15 minutes since cauliflower really holds moisture. Place the cauliflower in a casserole dish and either using a knife and fork or a flat wooden spoon, roughly chop the cauliflower into “macaroni sized pieces”.
In the same pan you used to boil the cauliflower, add all of the other ingredients (except the 1 cup of cheese that was set aside). Over low to medium heat, watch constantly and stir when needed until it is all melted and blended together. Pour the cheese mixture over the cauliflower being sure to cover all of the pieces well. Top with the cheese you had set aside. (Optional: you may also sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top.) Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly on top. Sometimes i set the broiler to low for a couple minutes just to give it that really golden cheesy top!
Allow to cool/set up for about 10 minutes before serving.
John still refuses to accept cauliflower as an acceptable replacement for pasta, but he IS eating it and making the best of it. He has lost close to 50 pounds since starting this Keto lifestyle and has even resolved Type II diabetes/is no longer insulin dependent.
I hope you will enjoy this recipe! I’d love to hear your comments if you try it!