So, I know the initial reaction by most when you try to “healthify” a traditional Mac & Cheese is… “No Way!”. But this recipe is soo easy and so good. I often don’t tell people what is inside, I serve it like any other mac & cheese dish and watch everyone devour the creamy cheesy sauce before I tell them it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan-friendly!
This is not only a great way to lighten up this classic comfort food but for parents what a fantastic way to incorporate more vegetables into your kid’s favorite meals. Cauliflower was once passed over because it was a plain white vegetable but it contains a rich supply of phytochemicals which are natural antioxidants. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family (cabbage, kale, broccoli to name a few other family members), and is a good supplier or essential vitamins, carotenoids, minerals, fiber, and soluble sugars. You can feel good knowing that your kids are devouring a “cheese” sauce containing 4 cups of vegetables!
This dish even has a breadcrumb layer to give it that classic baked mac & cheese look. You can make this naturally gluten-free (always my preference) using almonds or you can buy a gluten-free breadcrumb. Just always be careful with processed gluten-free products as their ingredient list can be full of chemicals, sugars, and sodium. Always check your label or try my almond crumbs as a whole-foods, naturally substitute.
As the temperature drops and our bodies are looking for the warming, soul-loving comfort food, this recipe is sure to please the whole family. A bubbling plant-based, a creamy casserole is a perfect weeknight dinner option. Give this guy a try and I would love to hear how your family enjoyed it. Leave me a comment below.
In great health,
Cauliflower Mac & Cheese (Dairy-free, Gluten-free)
Mac & Cheese Dish
- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3/4 cup cashews soaked for 30min-1 hour in warm water
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp sea salt & fresh pepper
- 1 cup cashew milk unsweetened almond milk works too
- 4 cups gluten-free brown rice macarooni
Optional Bread Crumb Layer (see recipe notes)
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, line a baking sheet with parchment and rinse and drain your soaked cashews.
- Place chopped cauliflower, onion, & garlic cloves on the baking sheet. Drizzle with oil, mix well and roast in oven for 25-30 minutes.
- In a blender or food processor add soaked cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and cashew milk. Blend until a creamy consistency forms. Now add in the roasted cauliflower, onions, and garlic from the pan and blend until smooth.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and macaroni as per the directions on the package. Strain and give it a cold water rinse right away to prevent overcooking (soggy pasta).
- Place the pasta back in the pot, pour the "cheese" sauce over and mix until well combined. Transfer into a casserole dish.
- Top with almond breadcrumbs (See recipe notes) and bake in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove & let cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.