MACARONI CHEESE
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Macaroni cheese – it’s the epitome of homemade comfort food. This version has hidden veggies!

Macaroni cheese with creamy cauliflower and salad.

I love a saucy macaroni cheese but not so much the calories that come with all that sauce!

The solution? Make a silky smooth cauliflower puree and mix it in with the cheese sauce. We get extra sauce, extra nutrients and you can barely even taste the cauliflower.

Sprinkle the top with panko breadcrumbs and parmesan and pop it under the grill for an extra delicious crunchy topping.

A fresh salad is the perfect accompaniment to this easy vegetarian meal.

 

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Macaroni cheese with creamy cauliflower and salad.

MACARONI CHEESE

Keyword: MAIN MEALS, VEGETARIAN
Difficulty: Easy
Ready In: 45 minutes
Serves: 4

Macaroni cheese - it’s the epitome of homemade comfort food! This version has the benefit of extra nutrition, thanks to a silky smooth cauliflower purée that gets mixed in with the cheese sauce.

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Ingredients

CAULIFLOWER PURÉE

  • 1/2 cauliflower
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup boiling water (250ml)
  • 2 tsp vegetable stock powder

SALAD

  • 80 g salad greens (2.8oz)
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp balsamic glaze
  • 2 Tbsp tamari almonds

MACARONI CHEESE

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp plain flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (625ml)
  • 300 g dried macaroni pasta (10.6oz)
  • 2 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese (225g)
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (50g)
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (23g)

Instructions

  1. PREPARE CAULIFLOWER PURÉE

    Cut cauliflower into florets. Finely dice onion and crush garlic. Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in cauliflower, water and stock powder and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

  2. MAKE SALAD

    Meanwhile, divide salad greens between individual serving plates. Slice cucumber into rounds, cut tomato into wedges and slice avocado. Place on top of salad greens. Drizzle with oil and balsamic glaze, then roughly chop almonds and sprinkle over the top.

  3. MAKE MACARONI CHEESE

    Melt butter in a small-medium saucepan on medium heat. Stir in flour and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, to form a smooth sauce. Cook for a few more minutes, stirring frequently, until sauce has thickened (coats the back of a spoon). 

  4. Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil. Add macaroni and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until al dente. 

  5. Stir cheese, mustard and thyme into cheese sauce, then reduce heat to very low. Turn oven on to grill.

  6. Use an immersion blender to blend cauliflower liquid mixture until smooth. Add cheese sauce, mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain pasta well and mix in to sauce. Transfer to a large oven-safe dish. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and parmesan over the top. Grill (watching carefully!) until golden.

  7. SERVE

    Serve macaroni cheese with salad.

Recipe Notes

WINE MATCH: An unoaked Chardonnay.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Use gluten-free stock powder. Swap plain flour for plain gluten-free flour and use gluten-free macaroni (or any small gluten-free pasta). Use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs.
INGREDIENT SWAPS / NOTES: For a simple macaroni cheese, omit the cauliflower purée. Panko breadcrumbs can be swapped for 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs.  Chopped cooked bacon or ham makes an excellent addition to this meal if you prefer a meaty version.
STORING AND REHEATING: Store macaroni cheese in the fridge. The best way to reheat is to microwave until warm, then crisp up the top under the grill. Refrigerate salad separately and dress just before serving.

 

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