Cauliflower Macaroni and “Cheese”
Cauliflower Macaroni and “Cheese”- a healthy vegan take on the classic comfort food made with pureed cauliflower, turmeric and nutritional yeast. It’s so rich and creamy you would never guess it’s dairy-free!
Macaroni and cheese is one of those foods that I could have happily eaten every single day as a child. It was right there alongside pigs in a blanket and Martha White’s muffins. Did anyone else ever eat those?! The packets were only 99-cents each and all you to do was add water? They were basically the fountain of youth.
Thankfully my brain eventually caught up with my tastebuds and I realized that eating like that is not going to do my body good. And I often find myself thinking how ironic it is that they’re called pigs in a blanket… As a kid that name sounded so fun and cute. But now all I can think about is how they should really be called pigs and other random parts in a blanket.
You could say that my diet might have upgraded from muffin packets and hot dogs wrapped in preservative-laden croissants, but I still crave macaroni and cheese like it’s nobody’s business.
However, instead of turning to convenient boxes to satisfy the child in me I try to think of ways to make it healthier by sneaking in different vegetables, like pumpkin and cauliflower.
I’ve been wanting to try my hand at a cauliflower cheese sauce since I made this vegan cream of mushroom soup. It gave the soup such a luxurious creamy texture and I knew it would perfectly for a “cheese” sauce.
The sauce is a simple combo of garlic, shallot, cauliflower, bouillon, turmeric, and nutrition yeast. Similar to the pumpkin mac n’ cheese, the turmeric doesn’t add much flavor but I like to include it for it’s anti-inflammatory benefits.
I paired it with tempeh bacon for an extra boost of plant protein and left out any bold spices so that it’s still kid-friendly. I like to serve it with whole wheat pasta but feel free to sub-in your favorite gluten-free brand.
If you’re looking for a healthy take on vegan macaroni and cheese then I highly recommend giving this one a try. I promise it’s worth the extra effort!
Cauliflower Macaroni and "Cheese"
Yield: 1 bowl
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 25
Total Time: 40
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 small shallots or 1/2 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cauliflower florets (approx.1 medium-size head)*
1/2 cup vegetable broth (I like to make my own using Better Than Bouillon)
1 cup unsweetened plain dairy-free milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons white vinegar
8 ounces whole grain pasta
In a large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent, for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, for about 2 minutes.
Add the cauliflower, 1/2 cup vegetable broth and 1 cup unsweetened plain dairy-free milk to the pot then bring to a boil. Cook the cauliflower until soft enough to mash with a fork, for about 15 to 20 minutes. When it’s done, remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes.
Carefully pour the contents of the pot into a blender (preferably high-speed for smooth results). Add 1/4 cup nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and white vinegar. Blend on high until smooth, for about 30 seconds. Taste test to see if you prefer more seasonings or vinegar and adjust, as needed.
Rinse out the large pot then add enough water to cook the pasta along with a large pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Pour in the pasta and cook as directed.
Strain the cooked pasta, add it back to the pot then pour in the cauliflower sauce and stir until everything is evenly coated. Top with tempeh bacon bits (optional) then serve immediately and enjoy!
*Try to make sure you are only using 4 cups of cauliflower florets. Using more will alter the flavor of the sauce and make more than you need for the recipe.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Facts are for 1/4th of recipe