A weight loss meal plan needs to include some indulgences. If you want to lose weight one of the keys is to find some ways to continue to eat comfort foods but to prepare them in healthier ways.

Many weight loss meal plans provide healthy vegetable substitutions for pasta. Regular pasta has about 220 calories in one cup and most of us eat much more than a cup. Yet a heaping plate of pasta can satisfy a craving for some comfort food. We all get cravings from time to time and mac & cheese is one of our all-time favorite ways to indulge.

But, even the small portion of mac & cheese at a restaurant, for example the Yard House, racks up 1110 calories. The large plate is a whopping 1980 calories, about what most people should consume in an entire day.

So what should you do the next time you crave some gooey, rich mac & cheese? Try this recipe, which uses cauliflower instead of pasta, and add it to your weight loss meal plan. Craving satisfied!

Baked Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese

Cheesy Baked Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese is perfect when you’re craving macaroni and cheese. Try this pasta-replacement alternative. It’s lower in carbs and each bowl has a healthy amount of vegetables and protein.

Ingredients (makes 6 servings)

  • 8 cups chopped cauliflower florets (1/2-inch pieces (26 oz))
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups fat free milk
  • 7 ounces freshly grated sharp cheddar (about 2 cups total)
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  2. Place 1 inch of water in a large pot with 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.
  3. Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in flour. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring continually 3 – 4 minutes, to cook out the flour.
  5. Add the milk and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick, about 2 minutes stirring; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
  6. Once it becomes thick, remove from heat completely onto another burner if possible. Add the cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup at a time mixing well until cheese is all melted.
  7. Stir in cooked cauliflower, then pour into a baking dish and bake until bubbly and golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Then broil 2 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned.


If you prefer to skip the oven and make this a stove-top dish, serve it right away.

Nutrition (per 1-1/4 cup serving)

Calories: 233

Carbohydrates: 14g

Protein: 14g

Fat: 14.5g

Fiber: 3.5g

Click here to add this recipe to your weight loss meal plan.