An ultra creamy, cheesy, and secretly healthy cauliflower mac and cheese recipe, perfect for feeding a crowd!
Easy Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
This super healthy baked cauliflower mac & cheese is the ultimate lightened-up comfort food – with just 7 ingredients!
Even people who normally go for regular mac and cheese and have no interest in healthy eating whatsoever give it their passionate stamp of approval.
The recipe is a huge crowd pleaser!
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Above – watch the video of how to make cauliflower mac and cheese
Healthy Cauliflower Macaroni Casserole
The idea for this homemade cauliflower mac and cheese came from a party I attended about a year ago.
One of the guests had brought a traditional macaroni and cheese casserole dish made with cauliflower, and people at the party could not stop raving about it or asking for the recipe.
So I asked for the recipe too, with the hope of recreating my own vegan and healthy version.
It took a few tries, and when I finally got it right, it was time to put the recipe to the ultimate test: serving the cauliflower mac & cheese to others, without mentioning that it was low fat and healthier… and watching to see the reception.
I did what I often do with recipes, which is to make it for a large gathering of people and quietly set the dish down, not telling anyone it was mine, to ensure their unbiased reactions.
I was so excited when—just like they had with my friend’s traditional mac & cheese—people went completely crazy for the lower-calorie cauliflower version!
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I haven’t tried it, but for a keto and low carb cauliflower mac and cheese with no pasta you might try simply replacing the macaroni noodles with additional cauliflower and using almond meal instead of the flour. Be sure to report back if you try it that way!
Use your favorite vegan cheese for a totally vegan cauliflower mac and cheese, and the recipe can also be gluten free if you use gf pasta and flour.
The casserole is Weight Watchers friendly and makes about six servings as written. Or it can easily be doubled to fit a 9×13 pan and feed a larger crowd.
P.S. If you haven’t ever eaten macaroni and cheese while sitting up in a tree, I highly recommend it
The concept of cauliflower macaroni and cheese actually dates back to at least 2011, when Kraft debuted their box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Cauliflower.
I’ve never tried the Kraft version, but homemade is always better anyway, not to mention healthier! If you try this recipe, be sure to rate it or leave a comment below.
Cauliflower Mac And Cheese
- 8 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped small
- 1 cup uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 3 tbsp spelt, white, or sorghum flour
- optional 2 tbsp buttery spread
- 1/2 tsp salt, and dash pepper if desired
- 2 cups Cheddar shreds (such as fyh vegan)
- 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs, gf if desired
- 2 tsp oil, butter, or oil spray
- optional nutritional yeast as desired
- Boil the water in a large pot. Add cauliflower and macaroni; cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes or until macaroni is al dente. Drain; return to saucepan, and cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8 pan. In a medium pot, stir milk, flour, optional butter spread, and salt with a whisk until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Combine sauce and pasta mixture, stirring and breaking up any large cauliflower pieces. Taste, and season as desired. I like to add a little extra salt and a pinch of nutmeg, but it’s optional. Smooth into the 8×8 pan. Toss breadcrumbs with the 2 tsp buttery spread or spray with oil. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of the pan. Bake on the center rack for 30-40 minutes or until edges are bubbly and breadcrumbs are golden.View Nutrition Facts
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1st: you had me at cauliflower. 2nd: you TOTALLY had me at mac ‘n cheese! 3rd: adorable picture of you, Katie!
Chocolate Covered Katie says
Thank you on all three accounts, especially the last. I really (reallllly) hate posting pictures of myself online but know it’s good for brand recognition so people can put a face to the name.
Hey this is totally awesome, can’t wait to try it! Also, I have a recipe request: more single serving recipes please! I love those, cause (1) I don’t have to share em (2) it’s a small portion so it’s very easy to make and perfect for anytime ? if you can try posting some more of those, that would be fabulous!
Jason Sanford says
Putting it on the list to do! In the meantime, here’s a link to the ones she’s already posted, all in one place: https://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/tag/single-serving/
Jason (media relations)
Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite says
Such a fun and delicious way to get in more veggies! 🙂
Mark Guncheon says
I’ll make this on the weekend. Thank you. I have a tree in our backyard but it’ll need some trimming and cleaning before I can sit like that as I eat your creation. And don’t be hesitant to post pictures of yourself. Brand Shmand. You look fantastic, have a great smile and really complement your website. Your TV appearances, your website and emails, your book are all a testament to your abilities and your passion. Be proud of your accomplishments. You have plenty to be proud of.
Wow, that was a VERY nice compliment 🙂
Linda @ the Fitty says
Oh it’s chilly outside and this is the perfect comfort food!
JoAnn M Lakes says
I’ve been making cauliflower mac and cheese since the 70’s way before Kraft came up with the idea and making it vegan since 2009. It’s also great with chopped broccoli or shredded Brussel sprouts or keeping the sauce white (a mozz recipe) with chopped and seeded tomatoes (or well drained diced tomatoes). Oh, don’t forget butternut squash, pureed or chunks! delicious!!!!
This may be a dumb question, but how much, as in cups measurement preferably, is a serving of this macaroni and cauliflower recipe? I’m counting calories, and it’s worked, and so this is important. I’m thinking a half cup or 3/4 cup per serving. Does anyone know, or are you just supposed to eyeball the pan and divide it by the servings count somehow?
Hmm… The recipe says it makes 6 “servings” so if you cut it up into 6 pieces, one piece would equal one serving ? that’s in my opinion. Hope this helps!
Cassie Autumn Tran says
I used to use cauliflower for curry sauce and smoothies. It worked marvelously, but I am shocked I never thought of a cheese sauce! This is pure geniusness. I love the breadcrumbs on top of the mac n’ cheese!
Dude this literally looks so good, I can’t believe it. I MUST make this recipe.
Hi! I did the calculations, and there’s no way this is only 191 calories. Mine came out to 233 calories. That’s with 2 cups of cheese, 1 1/2 cups of skim milk, 190 calorie pasta (that’s not even 2 cup!) 2 tbsp of tapioca flour, the cauliflower and 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast. If you have an explanation, do let me know. Still looks yummy!
I’m also stumped by this. I went through twice and it is way over every nutrition amount. I don’t like when recipes are labeled “healthy” but then aren’t accurate on what makes them healthy. It gives a false hope to people who are truly watching calories or need to limits fats and sodium.
Jason Sanford says
Skim milk is not vegan and has more than twice the calories of almond milk. Nutrition facts will always depend on the brands and type of ingredients used in a recipe, no matter where the recipe is from, but that does not make them inaccurate or misleading. There is just no way to calculate every single possible combination of ingredients, so nutrition facts for any recipe on any website will always be an estimate.
This. Is. INCREDIBLE! I used the Daiya cheddar shreds and included the optional buttery spread and nooch (which are never just optional in my kitchen)
I really never leave comments on anything, good, bad or indifferent…but…BUT… I just have to say that everything that I have ever made of CCK’s has been like the best…EVAH!! I trust your recipes to be good so much that I don’t even hesitate to put the items on my grocery list. I’ve been following for some time now. Have made many recipes and loved EVERY ONE! Thank you Katie for all your hard work…and your impeccable taste buds! Love from Michigan!
I can attest to that! This is why I’m trying the Mac today and will post how great it is! ? thanks Katie!
Wow, this is really good! I love the nutmeg…who would’ve thought?? Thank you!
Out of this world deliciousness, Katie! I ran out of cauliflower so I added broccoli. and that worked fine too. I made it a day earlier for guests and baked it just before dinner. The kitchen smelled amazing and heavenly..
Your recipes are so easy & fast. I’m so glad I found CCK. Great recipes Katie, keep them coming!! Thanks so much
I made this for the first time today. I used half the amount of noodles, but the full amount of cauliflower, Rice Milk and instead of cheddar cheese, I used 1 Cup of So delicious brand mozzarella shreds and 1/2 Cup of FYH Parmesan shreds. I seasoned it with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. It turned out AMAZING!!! This is the first vegan mac-n-cheese that I actually found that I like. I added it to a pizza and made mac-n-cheese pizza. Thank you again. 10 Stars. =)
Jason Sanford says
Mac and cheese pizza sounds like the most amazing thing ever!
Whenever you are playing for that very first time, it may be sensible that you choose a who you realize like your pal.
Sooo yummy! I made this with almond flour and about of tablespoon of tapioca starch/flour. My Mom who’s not vegan loved it and my 1 year old did as well. I also tried your vegan Mac n cheese recipe too that was tasty. So glad I found your website I’m going to try making the vegan cheesecake next!
Jason Sanford says
Ooh so cool to know it works with tapioca flour. I have that in my pantry and never use it!
1 cup of elbow macaroni only weighs 4 ounces. Should it be 2 cups?
Jason Sanford says
Hi, 1 cup macaroni (uncooked) weighs 8 oz because a serving is 2oz dry and that’s about 1/4 cup.
Shilpa Yadavalli says
I weighed it, and it was 4 ounces. A serving of mac is 1/2 cup. But thanks for trying to explain.
Chocolate Covered Katie says
Hi! I am so sorry; I don’t know what the heck I was doing… It should say 4 oz dry. So still 1 cup.
Looks so good! There is no instruction for the nutritional yeast; when is it added? At the end with the breadcrumbs? With the cheese? Please help!
I made the vegan mac & cheese twice. Once with the carrot and when I didn’t have carrot, i actually substituted cauliflower and it still came out delish. I made a double batch of the vegan sauce with the carrot and froze half of the sauce. Just used it the other day; defrosted it and used a dash of almond milk to thin it out a bit. It froze great (I had it in the freezer about 2 weeks)
Let me tell you about this dish…it is delicious! My children loved it! This is now my vegan Mac go-to meal. My kids are VERY picky just like my husband and I. You can follow the recipe exactly the way written without adding anything extra. Katie is a master cook for sure. I usually have to add a little here and take away something there with recipes I find online but not with Katie. I’ve made over three recipes and they are all loved by my family and I. Well done!
I just did this with sweet potatoes instead of macaroni!
Here it got colder all of a sudden, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have a “comforting” dish on the table. I had wanted to try this for long, and reading closely the ingredients list it reminded me of a French specialty my mother excels at: cauliflower and potatoes gratin. So I swapped the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes and otherwise followed your recipe, using oat flour, and no buttery spread (because no idea where I could find this!), and used wholewheat crumbs. I also threw in some remaining broccoli flowers (just like my mother did), and everything turned out amazing!
I highly recommend you try this!
Jason Sanford says
Oh wow, that sounds like scalloped potatoes I often had growing up. Thanks for sharing your brilliance with the rest of us. I need to try it!
Did you bake the sweet potatoes separately before including them in the dish?
nina carr says
Love your recipes, but printing out the recipes are a problem. The first page will be the title of it and the recipe is on the second page. Changing from portrait to landscape does not help at all. Can you have your webmaster correct this problem ?
5/5 for sure! I’ve made this dish for my family at least once a week since stumbling across it a month ago. It’s even better with broccoli but amazing exactly as written!
Great recipe! Loved it. Made it the first time with real cheese. But added a full 4 cups of cauliflower to it, and it was great. I’m going to try it again with the bean and nutritional yeast cheese sauce from your other Mac n cheese.
Frum single female says
This is awesome. I made it with vegan mozzarella but I admit I put cow’s milk in it as well. It was so delicious.
I was going to try this with frozen, rather than fresh, cauliflower. Do you think I would need to alter the recipe and/or instructions? I was wondering if I should still add the cauliflower at the same time as the uncooked pasta or wait a few minutes so it doesn’t get too mushy. Thanks!
Can’t wait to try it!!
Do you think I could use bobs red mill gluten free all purpose flour?
Yes, any flour or starch will work to thicken the sauce. I usually through in whatever is closest to the front of the cupboard!
Made this today for dinner for my family tonight! Loved how quick and easy it was but still is a great comfort food. I did double the cauliflower and noodles since I figured we could have leftovers. I have to admit I used cow’s milk, almond flour and just regular cheese in the sauce (half mozzarella, half blend), still turned out amazing. I also made the cauliflower pizza crust the other day and it turned out delicious as well, no surprise. Thanks for the nutrient dense recipes, Katie!
Finally made this (as written) and LOVED it! Could not stop thinking about it until we could have it again the next night. Served with gardein chik strips and Bitchin’ Sauce chipotle dip. Very good meal, we both loved, and will definitely make again! Used other half of cauliflower to make the ‘hot wings’. Incredible! Best Use of Cauliflower EVER. Thank you!
Made the cauliflower Mac & cheese for my picky husband & we both loved it! Will definitely make it again!
Great recipe. This was delicious and easy to make. Will definitely be in rotation going forward.
scott jones says
That was a solid recipe. My 13 year old enjoyed cauliflower tonight. I used some different cheese because that’s what I had. Everything else was spot on with your recipe. Thanks
Hi, i was wondering, i made your vegan cheese which was amazing! Did you ever think of putting that over the mac??
I usually avoid using vegan cheeses because they have so many additives. Any suggestions for if i wanted to make it without those?
i was hesitant to try this as it seemed almost too easy (and as if it didn’t have enough ingredients), but boy was i wrong! this is so delicious that it is now a weekly dinner in my house. everyone LOVES it, and even my niece was mad and asked for more when her bowl was empty! i love to use a really sharp cheddar (i prefer the kerrygold irish shredded sharp cheddar) and add in bacon for some protein + a crisp bite. i also love how quickly it comes together (about 30 minutes for me) 🙂 you will not regret trying this recipe! thank you, katie 🙂
Could I make this recipe without using the noodles? Just the Cauliflower?
CCK Media Team says
We haven’t tried, but if you experiment, be sure to report back!
This recipe is too good! We included it on our “Best Vegan Pasta” list with a little review: https://theplantbasedschool.com/best-vegan-pasta-recipes/
Thank you for your beautiful recipes, your blog is just amazing!
Love this recipe! It’s so delicious and easy to make.
Hi, hoping to get an answer …. I want to double the recipe and freeze one before last step, which is cooking in the oven. I’m wondering if it will make too much water when defrosting.
Delicious! Can’t tell it’s low fat and healthy. Definately will make this again.
Tasted just like real mac and cheese. You wouldn’t know there’s cauliflower!
The family loved this cauliflower casserole.