Healthify Mac and Cheese by adding cauliflower! Kids won’t suspect a thing and you’ll secretly be adding nutrition to a favorite comfort food. Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is sneaky, but also a perfectly delicious side dish or main dish.
Original recipe posted: September 2014 | Recipe updated: October 2019
My youngest cutie is very adamantly anti-vegetable. I love vegetables and I always have, so it drives me a little bit crazy. I can dangle the tastiest dessert in front of his sweets-loving eyes as bait and he won’t budge. Not an inch. Dan and I have never been ones to force our boys to eat. Our rule is that if they don’t eat the good stuff, they don’t get the bad (yummy) stuff!
So I am ALL about being sneaky when I can be. We go through spurts where we juice kale and spinach and apples together and the boys LOVE it. I have a mild obsession with experimenting with mac and cheese, so I loved being sneaky with this delicious, gooey recipe. Not only is Cauliflower Mac and Cheese sneaky and delicious, but it is also EASY.
If you have a cast iron (or oven-safe) skillet, pull it out. If not, a regular ol’ medium skillet will work great, too.
How To Make Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Add the milk, water and elbow macaroni to the skillet.
Turn the heat to medium-high and once it begins boiling, cook for 8ish minutes, or until the elbow macaroni is nearly (but not totally) cooked through. Stir occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the cauliflower florets, 1/2 cup sour cream, olive oil, cheddar cheese, salt and black pepper.
Process/puree until the mixture is creamy.
When the pasta has reached its almost-cooked stage, add the cauliflower mixture to the skillet. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until it is heated through.
Remove from the heat and add an additional 1 cup of cheese. If you are using a cast iron skillet, place it under the broiler for a few minutes. If not, just stir the cheese in until it melts. Either way, tummies in your vicinity will thank you…for feeding them vegetables and gooey-ness simultaneously!
- For extra creamy cheesiness, replace all or a portion of the sour cream with cream cheese.
- For a thicker cream texture, replace all or a portion of the milk with heavy cream.
- Serve directly from the skillet or transfer the mac n cheese to a serving or baking dish.
- Fresh minced garlic or garlic powder would be a great addition to this recipe.
How Long Does Macaroni and Cheese Last
If you have leftovers and you are wondering whether to toss or eat, read this article to find out: how long does mac and cheese last.
How To Reheat Mac and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese leftovers are inevitable since most recipes make huge batches. Learn how to reheat macaroni and cheese, while retaining moisture and flavor!
What To Serve With Mac and Cheese
Mac and cheese is a comfort food favorite! But what goes with it?! This roundup provides 16 delicious ideas about what to serve with macaroni and cheese to create a complete, satisfying meal!
Substitute For Milk in Mac and Cheese
Whether you are looking for a different flavor in your next creamy pasta dish or you just don’t have milk on hand, learn what to substitute for milk in mac and cheese!
Mac and Cheese Recipes for Thanksgiving – 13 Delicious Ideas!
Mac and cheese is a Thanksgiving staple! Read on for some scrumptious mac and cheese recipes for Thanksgiving that you can make this year! You’ll find a ton of options to choose from in this roundup.
- If you really love to have low carb options available, try this Cauliflower Stuffing recipe! It’s an easy, healthy side dish for your next holiday meal! Cauliflower stuffing is a low carb, gluten free recipe that does not lack in flavor. Add this delicious dish to your next Thanksgiving spread!
- Replace rice with this veggie-packed Cauliflower Mushroom Rice side dish. It’s easy to make and prepared in 15 minutes. Packed with flavor and texture plus this recipe also complies with the Whole30 program!
- Roasted Vegetables – Roasting vegetables is super easy and it results in a deliciously crispy, flavorful side dish. This recipe will turn veggie haters into veggie lovers! Swap out vegetables in this recipe for any you might have on hand, such as cauliflower, zucchini, mushrooms or onions.
- Cauliflower Fried Rice is a healthy version of the classic Chinese take-out favorite. Serve as a side with any meal and no one will know cauliflower is involved! This tasty little side dish is done in less than 30 minutes and is packed with flavor. Tastes great solo with a splash of soy sauce or as a side dish to any meal.
Healthy Recipes for Kids
Knowing you can help your kids get the nutrients they need in more than one form is what we want to help you accomplish! We’ve put together a list of delicious foods that our kids don’t see as healthy but allow them to enjoy eating their fruits and/or vegetables in a snack or breakfast item. You’ll be happy they’re eating better choices and they are happy to be blissfully unaware.
- Healthy Breakfast Cookies – These cookies aren’t just for breakfast and they are deceptively delicious. Kids will never know how healthy they are!
- Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups – Eliminate artificial and unknown ingredients by making your own homemade fruit roll-ups! This is the ultimate snack food for kids. Great for lunch boxes, too!
- Healthy Breakfast Muffins – Enjoy breakfast the healthy way! Whip up a batch of these muffins as a perfect on-the-go meal or a snack to stay on track with healthy eating. These breakfast muffins are beyond delicious plus they’re packed with good stuff.
- No Bake Granola Bars – These Healthy No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars are the perfect snack for little ones. Filled with dried fruit and chocolate, peanut butter and honey, you will satisfy your sweet tooth with a snack you can feel good about eating. There is something comforting about knowing EXACTLY what goes into your kids’ bodies!
- Healthy Fruit Dip – This Fruit and Veggie Dip is creamy, healthy and ADDICTING. Kids LOVE this stuff! Great healthy after-school snack option.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- 12 oz elbow macaroni
- 3 cups water
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 2 cups white cheddar cheese shredded, divided
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt/pepper to taste
- Add the elbow macaroni, water and milk to a skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until pasta is nearly done.
- In a food processor or blender, combine the cauliflower, 1 cup of the cheese, sour cream, olive oil, salt and pepper. Process/puree until mixture is creamy. Add mixture to the skillet after pasta has reached near-doneness. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until mixture is warmed through.
- Remove from the heat and top with the remaining 1 cup of cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. (Alternate last step: If using a cast-iron skillet, top with cheese and broil for 3 minutes.) Serve warm!