Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese

Erin McDowell

Sometimes we feel like having a big, healthy bowl of roasted cauliflower. Sometimes we feel like eating a gooey, decadent bowl of mac and cheese. And most times (OK, all the time), we want to stir them both together and create the best meal ever invented. Presenting cauliflower macaroni and cheese. Yep, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

And psst: If you’re not a cauliflower fanatic like we are, this is still a great way to pack in a veggie punch with whatever produce you have in your fridge. Roasted broccoli would be equally delicious, but you could even experiment with squash, sweet potatoes or Brussels sprouts if you’re adventurous. Cheesy pasta is forgiving like that.

The Best Cauliflower Recipes of All Time


Roasted Cauliflower

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Macaroni and Cheese

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ sweet onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, diced

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2½ cups whole milk

1 pound dry, bite-size pasta (such as gemelli)

2½ cups shredded white cheddar cheese

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


½ cup panko bread crumbs

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1. Make the Roasted Cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer onto the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Make the Macaroni and Cheese: In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.

4. Add the flour to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Add the milk gradually, whisking to incorporate. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until it thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat.

5. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until very al dente, or according to the package’s instructions. Drain well.

6. Return the sauce to medium-low heat. Stir in the cheese until it melts, then add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the pasta and cauliflower, tossing well to coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. (The recipe can be made up to this point and refrigerated until ready to bake and serve or up to 1 day.)

7. Make the Topping: In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs with the Parmesan and melted butter. Sprinkle the topping in an even layer over the pasta.

8. Bake until the sauce is bubbly and has thickened slightly, 25 to 30 minutes (or 40 to 50 minutes if baking after refrigerating). Serve immediately.

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