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Stovetop Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

    Ready in just twenty minutes, this cheesy stovetop Mac and Cheese is made with bite-sized pieces of cauliflower for added fiber and nutrients.

    As we head into the cooler months and the temps start to lower, I find myself naturally gravitating towards heartier dishes including pasta, soups and slow cooker meals.

    Healthy Stovetop Mac and Cheese with Caulifllower in a bowl

    My boys are huge fans of Mac and Cheese which is why I love making it at home where I can control the quality of ingredients. A classic comfort food dish, you may be surprised that homemade, stovetop Mac and Cheese takes as little as 15 minutes to cook.

    Stovetop Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

    Despite what those convenience boxes make you think, you don’t need any packets of cheese powder. Whether you use a box or make it at home, it still takes just 15 minutes!

    Liz Holding Tillamook Shreds

    Speaking of quality ingredients, let’s start with the cheese. You already know by now that we are avid Tillamook cheese fans and for good reason: their Farmstyle Thick Cut Shredded cheese is cut in generously-sized shreds. Bigger shreds are not only better for flavor but better for melting. (Hello cheese pull!)

    In addition, I’ve found that full-fat dairy is more flavorful and satiating than low fat or fat-free dairy. As a general rule of thumb, I would rather use high quality, full-fat cheese than any lower-fat alternative.

    Liz Slicing Cauliflower

    To boost the nutrition of the Mac and cheese, I roughly chop cauliflower into bite-sized pieces then add it to the boiling water about 2 minutes before the pasta is done cooking.

    Liz Adding Pasta to Pot

    Next, you simply strain the pasta and cauliflower then stir it into the irresistible cheese sauce. To make the cheese sauce, you simply melt butter in a pan before whisking in flour. Once dissolved, you whisk in milk and simmer until it thickens into a white sauce.

    Liz Stirring Cheese Sauce

    Remove from the heat then stir in the Tillamook shredded cheese. While I love using sharp cheddar, you can also use medium cheddar or even Colby jack.

    Liz Serving Mac and Cheese

    Creamy, cheesy, hearty and satisfying, this is comfort food you can feel good about feeding your entire family. And the best part? It’s ready in just 20 minutes.

    Liz Eating Mac and Cheese

    Your fork is waiting.

    Stovetop Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

    Stovetop Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

    5 stars average
    Prepped, cooked and ready in just twenty minutes, this cheesy stovetop Mac and Cheese is made with bite-sized pieces of cauliflower for added fiber and nutrients.
    PREP: 5 mins
    COOK: 15 mins
    TOTAL: 20 mins
    Servings: 4


    • 8 ounces uncooked macaroni noodles (or pasta of choice)
    • 1 ½ cups cauliflower (cut in bite-sized pieces)
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 tablespoon butter
    • 1 tablespoon flour
    • 1 ½ cups milk
    • 8 ounces Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • ½ teaspoon salt


    • Cook pasta according to package instructions adding 1 tablespoon of salt to the water for added flavor. Add the cauliflower to the pot 2 minutes before the pasta is done cooking. Alternatively, you can steam the cauliflower in a separate pot until fork tender.
    • While the pasta is cooking, begin making the cheese sauce. Head the butter in a medium sauce pot over medium heat until melted. Once melted, sprinkle in the flour. Whisk to incorporate, about 30 seconds, before pouring in the milk. Increase heat to high and continue whisking. Once it comes to a slow boil and bubbles form around the edge, reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking constantly, until white sauce starts to thicken, about 2-3 minutes.
    • Once white sauce is thickened, remove from heat and whisk in the Dijon mustard and salt. Add the Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Sharp Cheddar Shredded Cheese and stir until melted, about 20 seconds.
    • Strain pasta and cauliflower and add to the pot with the cheese sauce. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste before serving.


    Serving: 1cupCalories: 527kcalCarbohydrates: 51gProtein: 26gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 767mgPotassium: 418mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 746IUVitamin C: 18mgCalcium: 535mgIron: 1mg

    SHOW AND TELL ON INSTAGRAM!Show me your creation and rate it below! Mention @thelemonbowl or tag #thelemonbowl! I would LOVE to see!

    Disclosure: I am honored to be a Tillamook Influencer Ambassador. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Lemon Bowl possible. All thoughts are my own. 

    Looking for some hearty recipes? Check out this Pinterest board!


    Liz DellaCroce

    Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been sharing delicious recipes that just so happen to be healthy. By using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality, Liz has built a growing audience of loyal readers who crave good food for their families. Click Here To Subscribe to my newsletter:


    1. Hello! I increased the cheese sauce with a little Cotija and added a pound of lean ground beef that I browned separately. It’s the fanciest, healthiest, cheesiest Hamburger Helper ever. Delish!!

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