Looking for a healthy mac and cheese recipe? How about this one from the My Fitness Pal app that uses baked cauliflower? Many of us are mac and cheese lovers. What’s not to like about pasta and lots of stringy, gooey melted cheese? But, then there is the off-the-charts calorie count.

Why not try something new and make a healthy mac and cheese using cauliflower as a pasta stand-in and

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

This creamy pasta bake gets a healthy upgrade with a silky cauliflower-cheese made with a fraction of the calories found in a typical mac and cheese. In the filling, we also use part whole-wheat pasta and part crispy roasted cauliflower florets for a hearty dish without all of the extra carbohydrates.

Don’t be intimidated by the length of this recipe: It uses few ingredients and very simple techniques. If you are cooking for a larger crowd, this recipe can easily be doubled. Please note you may need to puree the cauliflower bechamel in batches.

If you’re looking for comfort food, look no further. Not only will you enjoy the creaminess of mac and cheese, you get a serving of vegetables, which means you don’t have to abandon your health journey while you enjoy a meal.

Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Recipe

Ingredients (makes 4 servings, 2 cups each)

For the sauce

• 1 small head cauliflower, separated into small florets
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, peeled
• Kosher salt
• 1 cup (102g) white cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1/4 cup (10g) Parmesan cheese, finely grated

For the filling

• 1 medium head cauliflower, separated into small florets
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 cups (175g) whole-wheat pasta, such as fusilli or rigatoni

For the topping

• 1/2 cup (45g) panko breadcrumbs
• 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, finely grated
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, freshly grated
• 1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


For the sauce: In a large pot, combine the cauliflower, onion and garlic. Cover with water and season with a generous pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cauliflower is very tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the cauliflower, onion and garlic, reserving the cooking liquid.

• Scrape the vegetables into a blender. Puree until smooth, gradually adding the cooking liquid until you reach your desired consistency. Add both cheeses and puree until smooth. Season with salt.

• Preheat the oven to 450°F (230ºC). On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake the cauliflower, tossing once, until crispy and browned, about 20 minutes. Reduce the oven to 400°F (200ºC).

• Grease an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until just shy of al dente (it continues to cook in the oven). Drain well and return to the pot. Add the roasted cauliflower and 2 cups of the sauce. Gently toss to coat and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the filling into the prepared baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and spread in an even layer.

For the topping: In a small bowl, combine all of the topping ingredients. Scatter the breadcrumbs over the mac and cheese and transfer the baking dish to the oven. Bake at 400°F (200ºC) until the mac and cheese is heated through and the top is golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Nutrition (per 2 cup serving)

Calories: 464;
Total Fat: 23g;
Carbohydrate: 48g;
Dietary Fiber: 7g;
Sugar: 5g;
Protein: 19g

Click here to get the full healthy mac and cheese recipe.