Yes, you read that right. This is Cauliflower Mac and Cheese and it is so cheesy that you can say goodbye to bland cauliflower forever! In this recipe I give multiple cooking methods for the cauliflower including boiling, Instant Pot, and roasting.
When I was coming up with this Cauliflower mac and cheese, I was poking around other recipes and I noticed a trend of bland cauliflower even though it was coated in cheese. I couldn’t have any of that so I set out to make my creamy bacony cauliflower mac and cheese extra flavorful…and I think I succeeded!
This cheese sauce coats every nook and cranny of the cauliflower so there is no bland cauliflower here!
WHICH CAULIFLOWER CAN I USE?
This cheese sauce can be used with frozen or fresh cauliflower. You can also use riced cauliflower to make cheesy cauliflower rice! If you buy frozen cauliflower florets or riced cauliflower, just follow the directions for cooking on the package. Just note you may want to cut the florets a little smaller after they are cooked.
I usually buy a head of fresh cauliflower because it is the cheapest. I like to cut the florets off of the stem and cut them as small as possible so the cheese sauce gets all in the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower.
BEST WAY TO COOK THE CAULIFLOWER FOR CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
I have 3 methods for cooking the cauliflower and they all have their advantages.
Boiling – doesn’t use the oven so it’s the perfect method for a hot summer day. Also, the cauliflower doesn’t need any extra butter or oil to cook.
To boil the cauliflower florets, take the chopped cauliflower and place it in a sauce pan that has a tight fitting lid. Cover the cauliflower halfway with water and season with salt. Bring the pot of water to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover with the lid. Cook for 5 minutes. Let drain in a colander while you make the cheese sauce.
Instant Pot – This is probably the easiest method but the cauliflower can overcook really easily.
To cook the cauliflower in the Instant Pot, add the chopped cauliflower to the inner pot along with 1 cup of water and salt. Place the lid, press the “manual” button, and set the time for zero minutes at low pressure. When the cauliflower is finished cooking, do a quick release of the pressure. Drain the cauliflower in a colander while you make the cheese sauce (make it in the Instant pot, too!)
Roasting – This yields the most flavorful cauliflower but it uses more oil, takes the longest, and heats up the oven.
Pre-heat the oven to 450F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Place the cauliflower on the baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
HOW TO MAKE LOW CARB CHEESE SAUCE
Start with a small sauce pan over medium low heat and melt the cream cheese with the heavy cream. Add in the shredded cheddar cheese and stir until just melted. Remove from the heat and season with mustard powder, salt, and pepper to taste.
Now we just combine the cauliflower with the cheese sauce and the bacon (if adding which I highly recommend) and serve!
Of course, more cheese and bacon on top is always an option, too.
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CAN YOU BAKE THIS KETO MAC AND CHEESE?
Definitely! Pour the cauliflower Mac and cheese mixture in an 8×8 casserole dish and top with more shredded cheese and bacon. Bake in a 400F oven util hot and bubbly…about 15 minutes.
CAN YOU RE-HEAT CHEESY CAULIFLOWER?
I do believe this cheesy cauliflower has a leg up over traditional macaroni and cheese in the re-heating department. I think we can all agree that macaroni and cheese doesn’t re-heat in the microwave very well. It gets dried out pretty fast. Well, I can attest that my cauliflower mac and cheese heats in the microwave beautifully.
You could also re-heat it in a saucepan on the stovetop.
Did you make this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe? Tag me on Instagram so I can see! @lowcarbwithjennifer
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Cut your cauliflower florets from the stem. You want to make each floret small, no bigger than 1 inch in diameter.
- Add the florets to a medium saucepan with 1/2 tbsp of salt. Add enough water to come half way up the cauliflower
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer until cauliflower is just tender, about 5 minutes
- drain cauliflower and keep it draining for at least 5 minutes
- For the cheese sauce, in a small saucepan, melt the cream cheese with the heavy cream over medium low heat, add 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and whisk until melted. Add in the mustard powder and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a medium bowl, add cauliflower and bacon, pour cheese sauce on top and stir to combine
- Salt to taste
- garnish with extra cheese and bacon.
- Make the florets small so the cheese sauce coats every nook and cranny.
- I put 1/2 tbsp of mustard powder in the recipe but I added 1 tbsp to my own dish. It gave it a nice kick!
- Make sure you shred your own cheese.
- See the post above for different cooking methods for the cauliflower as well as baking and re-heating tips.