Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Casserole

Macaroni and cheese is a warm and hearty comfort food that often makes its way onto the holiday table. But because of the stuffing, breads and rolls that are bound to end up on the table too, I was inspired to make a gluten-free version of this delicious side dish. In this recipe, you will replace the pasta noodles with cauliflower. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results!

The white cruciferous vegetable is a great source of various vitamins and minerals and helps to boost eye health. Just one cup of cauliflower contains 51 grams of vitamin C! Research has shown that this antioxidant lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration, which can cause blindness, especially in the elderly. Also, a disease-fighting compound in cauliflower called sulforaphane protects retinal tissues and prevents visual impairment, even cataracts.

This cauliflower mac and cheese casserole, with creamy cheddar cheese and slightly crunchy cauliflower, will likely become your new favorite way to eat this cruciferous vegetable. You may not even miss the traditional mac and cheese!

Ingredients (about 5 servings):

1 tbsp butter
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
¼ cup onions, diced
1 ½ tsp fresh garlic, minced

Cheese sauce:

2 tbsp butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp sea salt
¾ tsp pepper

Toppings:

¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp gluten-free breadcrumbs
2 tsp parsley, finely chopped
⅛ tsp paprika

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 7×7 baking dish.
  2. Melt 1 tbsp butter in a saute pan on medium low heat and add cauliflower florets, onion and garlic. Cook, covered, for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until cauliflower is “al dente” (still has a slight crunch). You don’t want it to become mushy.
  3. Combine 2 tbsp butter, heavy cream and shredded cheese in a medium saucepan on low heat. Whisk until smooth. Then add dijon mustard, garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Occasionally stir sauce.
  4. Place the cauliflower and onion mixture into the baking dish. Pour the cheese sauce over it. Now for the toppings: sprinkle the top of the casserole with the extra cheese and the gluten-free bread crumbs. Then sprinkle parsley and paprika across the casserole.
  5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted on top of casserole and it is slightly browned.