I have always made my daughter’s mac and cheese from scratch and I’ve always added veggies to it. She thinks that “other stuff”, the kind that comes in the box is “yuck”. I have to agree with her. About a year ago I decided to try the old cauliflower trick, adding cauliflower to the cheese sauce. I really didn’t think it was going to fly because she HATES cauliflower.
It totally worked.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can freeze it and pull it out for stovetop mac and cheese! It makes nine or ten small containers (about ½ cup each). Just pull one out of the freezer and thaw. Throw it in with the pot while you strain the cooked pasta. As you heat it up you can add a bit of milk or cream. I usually add in some peas and some chopped tomatoes too. The pasta goes back in the pot, stir and done. If you don’t have time to thaw it put it in another pot while the pasta is cooking and heat it up, adding a bit of milk or cream. Once it is all heated up add the pasta to the cheesy pot (less mess for clean-up).
Veggie Packed Cheese Sauce
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 medium onion, minced
- 3 cups grated cheese (I like to mix Cheddar and Parmigiano – experiment with cheeses you like or what you have on hand)
- 3 cups milk
- 3TBSP flour
- 3 TBSP butter
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste
DirectionsCut the cauliflower into flowerets and drop into a large pot of salted boiling water. Let cook until cauliflower is quite soft. Strain and mash.
- Melt butter in medium-large saucepan and whisk in the flour. Cook for 2-3 minutes.Gradually whisk in the milk and then add the onion and bay leaf.
- Bring to a gentle boil and let simmer for 15 minutes, making sure to stir often.Remove the bay leaf and stir in the cauliflower, now add the cheese and stir until everything is well combined and the cheese is melted.
- Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Serve with your favourite noodle and freeze the rest of the sauce in meal size portions.
Did the cauliflower 'trick' work for you? What do you like to add to your "mac & cheese"? Share your variations, leave a comment below.