Mac and cauliflower cheese
28 Sep 2017
Roberta Nelson

Roberta Nelson

RECIPE: Mac & cauliflower cheese

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Try this comfort food favourite without the stodge. Recipe by Roberta Nelson.

This recipe for mac and cauliflower cheese is a fully loaded, plant-based edition of a comfort food favourite. 

The sauce is completely plant-based, the base is made up of both vegetables and whole-grain, high fibre pasta and it’s topped with a super seed crumble giving it one last hit of nutrients and a crunchy, tasty topping.

The sauce is creamy, rich and cheesy without any of the milk, cream or cheese. Instead the sauce is made purely from cauliflower making it low in fat, high in fibre and rich in plant-based nutrients including glucosinolates - a nutrient profile not typical to a creamy, cheese pasta sauce. 

Glucosinolates are phytonutrients found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli as well cauliflower. They do good things for your heart, digestion, immune system as well as your liver and detoxification system. For this reason, working a cup or two of cruciferous vegetables into your diet 2-3 times a week can have a positive impact on your overall health. 

So, get cosy with this comforting mac and cauliflower cheese that will love your body as much as you love eating it. 

Once you’ve got the recipe down pat, you can even try using the sauce recipe in other dishes that call for something creamy such as lasagna or other pasta bakes. 

vegan, vegetarian, gluten free option

serves 4-6

Ingredients

Cauliflower cheese

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp ghee, butter or olive oil
  • A whole cauliflower, cut in half and then into florets
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup soy milk or regular milk
  • ¾ cup nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Pasta

  • 300g whole-wheat spiral pasta or a gluten-free alternative

Topping

  • ¾ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes or parmesan

How to make

  • Turn your oven onto 160°C and prepare a baking dish by greasing it with oil or butter if needed
  • Make the crumble by toasting the seeds in a dry pan on the stove until they are golden. Once cool, place all of the crumble ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse it until the mixture resembles a fine crumb. Set aside
  • To make the sauce, sauté the minced garlic in ghee, butter or oil until the garlic is soft, around 4-5 minutes. Set aside. Put the vegetable stock into a large lidded pot on the stove and bring it to the boil. Once boiling, add half of the cauliflower florets and cook them for 7-10 minutes or until the cauliflower is soft. Once soft, use a slotted spoon to transfer the cauliflower to your blender or food processor along with one cup of the stock from the pot, milk, nutritional yeast or parmesan, Dijon mustard, sweet paprika and lemon juice. Blitz in your blender or food processor, adding more of the stock as it mixes until the mixture resembles a smooth and creamy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning to suit you
  • Cook your pasta as per the directions on the packet. 3 minutes before the pasta is ready, add the other half of the cauliflower florets to the cooking water to blanch it. Drain the pasta and cauliflower, keeping some of the water in the bottom of the pot. Add the sauce to the pot and gently stir it through the pasta and cauliflower so that everything is well coated. Taste again and season
  • Transfer the pasta to the baking dish, coat it in the prepared seed crumble and place it into the oven to cook for 20 minutes or until the top is golden and the edges of any exposed pasta are going crispy. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with fresh salad leaves and a sprinkle of thyme

Roberta's tips

  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

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Roberta of Naturo Medico is a Naturopathic Practitioner who specialises in preventative care and women’s health. From her Melbourne-based clinic, Roberta sees women of all ages wanting to meet their own health goals and assists them on their path with personalised treatments specific to their needs.

Alongside practice, Roberta shares healthful and nutrient-rich recipes with her readers who inspire her to continue educating on what health and wellbeing means and how it can be achieved.

Follow @naturomedico on Instagram for more healthy eating inspiration!