This easy Stovetop Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is as luscious as it looks. Simmered in a milk broth and pureed to creamy perfection, cauliflower adds a nutritional boost to this fan favorite. It’s been kid-tested and is mama-dietitian approved, so dig in!
I know replacing carbs with cauliflower is all the rage these days but I prefer to enhance our carbs with cauliflower instead.
During both of my pregnancies, I couldn’t bare to look at a vegetable, especially green ones. My boxed mac and cheese habit got a little out of control while my lack of veggie intake started weighing heavily on my dietitian conscience. This recipe was born as a result.
Here I simmered a small head of cauliflower in a simple milk broth and then pureed it to creamy perfection in the Vitamix (affiliate link!).
Watching all that cheese melt into a big pot of creamy cauliflower sauce might just be one of my favorite parts of making this dish. That and hovering over the stove with a spoon to sneak a few tastes before our toddler catches me eating out of the pot. Because that happens 100 percent of the time.
If I’m being honest, I usually snag a spoonful or two from our little guy’s bowl, too… But those bites don’t count — right, mamas?
Thankfully, he’s a better sharer than I am when it comes to food. This stovetop cauliflower mac and cheese ranks high, along with french fries, on my “Foods I Have a Hard Time Sharing” list. One taste and I’m guessing you’ll be hugging your bowl reaaaaal close at dinnertime, too.
Stovetop Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Simmered in a milk broth and pureed to creamy perfection, cauliflower adds a nutritional boost to this ooey, gooey mac and cheese. Oh, and it’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Prep Time:
- Total Time:
6 cups 1x
6 cups 1x
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 ½ tablespoons butter
- 1 ½ tablespoons flour
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup milk
- ¾ teaspoon dry mustard
- 12 ounces (about 4–5 cups) cauliflower florets cut into 1” chunks (from 1 small head)
- 1 ½ cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Gruyere, Monterey Jack etc.)
- Optional: Fresh parsley, salt and freshly ground pepper for serving
- Cook the pasta. Cook according to package directions, drain and set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, simmer the cauliflower. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and stir constantly just until roux puffs slightly, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the broth, milk and dry mustard until smooth. Increase heat to medium-high. Add cauliflower and bring milk-broth to a rapid simmer (not boil) stirring frequently. Immediately reduce the heat again to medium-low. Cover and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Puree. Carefully transfer cauliflower and milk-broth to a blender. Firmly hold the lid to prevent hot liquid from escaping and puree until completely smooth, about 20-30 seconds. Return puree to pan over medium-low heat.
- Add the cheese and macaroni. Add the shredded cheese and cooked macaroni, stirring well until cheese has melted. Serve immediately with fresh parsley, salt and/or pepper to taste, if desired.
- Prep the cauliflower florets and shred the cheese; store in the refrigerator up to 7 days in advance
Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help:
- Toddlers — Add ingredients to the pot (with close supervision); push buttons on the blender (with supervision, not immersion)
- Little Kids — Measure elbows, butter, flour, etc.
- Big Kids — Chop cauliflower into florets; shred the cheese
Leftovers keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days; add a splash of milk or water when reheating in the stove or microwave
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 262
- Sugar: 3 g
- Sodium: 186 mg
- Fat: 9 g
- Saturated Fat: 5 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 31 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 14 g
- Cholesterol: 29 mg