Mac and cheese is hands down my favorite food of all time. If you told me I could only eat one food for all 3 meals for the rest of my life it would be mac and cheese. But mac and cheese is not my waistlines favorite food. While I wish I could shove my face into a gooey, cheese bowl of heaven every single day I also want to fit into my clothes. Which brings me to talk about this lightened up version of Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.
Not only is it gorgeous to look at but it totally hits the spot when you are craving something warm and cheesy. And it is loaded with veggies so you can enjoy without the guilt! ? ? If you still in need of a side dish for your Thanksgiving table this week this seasonal take on mac and cheese is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
I was inspired to create this recipe when the awesome folks at Banza sent me some samples of there delicious chickpea pasta to try out. While I am not gluten free I do enjoy trying out gluten free foods and adding them into the rotation of my meals. Did you know Banza is made from 90% chickpeas and that chickpeas are naturally gluten free food!
You cook Banza just like you would any other type of pasta. However you may notice a little bit of foam in the pot that develops while cooking. This is the same foam that occurs when you boil chickpeas and is the result of a naturally occurring plant compound in beans called saponins. If you want to decrease the foam add a splash of oil to the water, or just scrape some foam off the top during cooking. It does not effect the taste of the pasta at all.
I found the Banza pasta to have a great consistency and was the perfect texture for this heartier pasta dish. The ridges on the penne shape were great for holding on to the gooey cheese sauce I poured all over it.
MMmm cheesey pasta ? I could eat it just like this right from the pot!
I have made countless mac and cheese recipes over the years but cauliflower may just be my favorite vegetable to pair with it. Cauliflower eaten raw or steamed can be very bland so I am not surprised when people tell me they don’t like it. But coat it in some olive oil, Himalayan pink salt (or sea salt), fresh black pepper, roast it in the oven and be ready to be have your whole outlook on cauliflower change. Roasting it helps to bring out it’s natural sweetness and don’t be afraid to let it get good and brown in some spots.
Cauliflower has so many health benefits including being a great source of vitamin C and K, dietary fiber, and can help your body to detoxify. It is a great ingredient to use in place of mashed potatoes, rice, or even to make a healthy alfredo sauce.
- 1 small head of cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Himalayan pink salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 8oz box of Banza pasta (or 8oz of the pasta of your choice)
- 2 tablespoons organic grass fed butter
- 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk
- 0.5 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 0.5 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons of dried parsley
- ¼ cup of whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- Preheat your oven to 400 F.
- Coat your cauliflower with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 40-45 minutes until you have nice caramelized brown spots on the cauliflower florets.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt.
- Add the pasta and cook for 8 minutes until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking melt the butter over a medium heat.
- Add the flour and whisk continuously for one minute to form a roux.
- Add the milk and continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, approx 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and add the Dijon mustard, cheddar and Parmesan.
- Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.
- Place the pasta back in the pot and add the cheese sauce. Stir to combine adding the reserved pasta water as needed to help thin out the sauce consistency to your liking.
- Add the roasted cauliflower and parsley. Stir to combine.
- Pour the pasta mixture into a large baking dish and top with panko bread crumbs.
- Turn your broiler on high and broil for 3-4 minutes until the panko has browned (or bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes).
Since this dish is packed with protein and loaded with veggies means I can eat mac and cheese for all 3 meals now right??