Cauliflower Mac & Cheese (GF & V)

Oh the joys of being able to have macaroni and cheese again. I cannot explain to you how much this recipe saved my life. Whoever discovered that cashews, eggplant, cauliflower, and nutritional yeast tastes like cheese is my hero.

If you are wondering whether “normal” people like this: Yes, my boyfriend liked this recipe and he has no known allergies.

Its funny how people forget that people with food allergies have normal taste buds just like everyone else. It’s actually not funny at all. It gets really old. I’ve only had allergies for 3 years, so I tasted “normal” things for the first 22 years of my life.

Let’s step away from this little rant before I write 5 paragraphs on it…. This macaroni and cheese actually has vegetables in it, meaning you can eat more of it! Its very thick and creamy. Everything you would want in a mac & cheese. You might want to add more liquid to make the cheese a bit more runny. It might seem like a lot of steps, but its actually quicker than you think.


Cauliflower Mac & Cheese (GF & V)

Adapted from: Love and Lemons

Ingredients:

  • 1 big head of cauliflower (4 loose cups, chopped, plus extra small florets to leave whole)
  • 12 oz gluten free elbow pasta (I used quinoa and corn blend)
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 – 1 cup cashew cream (see recipe below) or sharp cheddar
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • salt & pepper
  • pasta water, as needed to thin

Topping Options:

  • 1/4 cup gluten free panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes
  • Sprinkle of paprika

Cashew Cream: (this makes extra & can be made ahead)

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 30 minutes to a few hours (strain soaking water before using)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup water
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

Instructions:

  1. If you’re making the vegan option, start by making your cashew cream. (Strain the soaking water from the cashews). Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Scoop the cream out of the blender and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook until tender but not mushy, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to drain and scoop the cauliflower into a blender. When the cauliflower is out, bring your water back up to a boil and add the pasta.
  4. Back to your blender – add the dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, to the cauliflower, and puree well. Add about 3/4 cups of cashew cream (or cheddar cheese), sherry vinegar, and blend again. Add starchy pasta water, as needed, to thin the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. (Add more cashew cream if you want).
  5. When your pasta is al dente, set aside a cup or so of pasta water, then fully drain your pasta and the water out of the large pot. Return the cooked pasta to the pot and stir in the sauce. Add more reserved pasta water as needed to create a creamy sauce. Stir in the remainder of the cauliflower florets.
  6. Pour your pasta into a large baking dish (or a few individual sized dishes). Top with a sprinkling of panko, parmesan cheese (if using) and a drizzle of olive oil. (optional: make it extra cheesy by adding a layer of sharp cheddar underneath the panko and parmesan)
  7. Bake until the top is golden and crispy – about 12-20 minutes depending on the size of your dish.
  8. Remove from oven and top with chives, red pepper flakes, and paprika.