Mac and cheese gets a healthy makeover with pureed cauliflower, tangy yogurt and crispy panko. This is comfort food you can feel good about enjoying regularly!
The only thing more comforting than a bowl of creamy mac and cheese is a bowl of creamy mac and cheese that won’t land on your hips. Don’t worry, where this dish lacks in fat and calories it far than makes up for in flavor. My secret? An entire head of cauliflower is steamed then pureed with tangy dijon, fresh garlic, Parmigiano-Reggiano and extra sharp cheddar cheese.
Before you ask, let me calm your fears: no, you do not taste the cauliflower. Trust me, my husband would have been the first to tell me. In fact, he doesn’t even like mac and cheese but he loved this version.
By using whole wheat shells, the dish gets an added dose or protein and fiber that will help keep you satisfied on a smaller portion. In fact, with over 14 grams of protein per serving this pasta would be a perfect meatless entree served with a side salad.
Your fork is waiting.
- 4 cups cooked whole wheat pasta shells or short pasta of choice
- 1 head cauliflower cut into florets
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2.5 ounces sharp cheddar
- 1 clove garlic grated
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
Steam cauliflower until tender, about 8-10 minutes then remove from pan and set aside.
Whisk together milk and flour in a sauce pot over medium heat until mixture starts to thicken, about 5-7 minutes.
Add grated cheddar, garlic, dijon, nutmeg, salt and cayenne and whisk until cheese is melted. Stir in the steamed cauliflower and yogurt then puree until smooth with an immersion blender or pulse until smooth in a blender or food processor.
Add noodles and check for seasoning before pouring into a casserole baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together panko, olive oil and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the noodles then bake for 15-20 minutes or until topping turns golden brown.