When it comes to making dinner, my life is all about shortcuts. I’ve been cooking since I was 10 years old eating every meal I’ve ever made in a pan. Am I bad? Yes. I’m also lazy and like to cook quick dinners rather than spending a lot of time fussing over a recipe. However, I’m not vegan/vegetarian. I like to eat meat. Thanks to the keto diet, I’ve recently been introduced to a new way of making macaroni and cheese that might just be the greatest thing ever invented.
This keto mac and cheese has all the flavor of your favorite comfort food but fat free and is a great meal for busy weeknights or the holidays. It is full of flavor and can be served with any side dish you would like. It is a great way to get rid of those left overs from the holidays and also to save money if you are a student like myself and do not have cash to go out to eat.
You can never go wrong with a classic, cheat-friendly mac and cheese recipe. Even if you’re not on a diet, you can still enjoy this amazing meal which is low in calories, low in carbs, and high in nutrients. With only 5 grams of net carbs per serving, you can feel confident in knowing you won’t get too hungry or get cravings when you make this recipe!
That’s right, we’re going back to the miraculous vegetable. When it comes to hacking your favorite comfort food recipes, cauliflower is truly the most flexible ingredient, and we’ve done it again.
This time, we’ve got a fantastic Baked Cauliflower Mac & Cheese recipe for you. But we didn’t stop there. To cram in as much flavor as possible, this recipe includes bacon and pork rinds as guests. In the video below, Megha will also demonstrate how to do everything:
Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower That’s a Sure-Fire Way to Get People’s Attention
Even the most adamant mac and cheese purists would be converted by this cauliflower mac and cheese. There are a few considerations we’ve made to ensure that we come out with a crispy and delicious cauliflower mac & cheese dish that’s a cut above the rest. In this recipe, there will be no wet and mushy parts of roughly chopped cauliflower! Everything from the size of the cauliflower to the thickness of the cheese sauce has been considered. After that, we combined everything to make the greatest low-carb cauliflower mac and cheese.
Is Cauliflower Keto-Friendly?
Cauliflower is a fantastic keto item to use in any low-carb meal. It only takes a few minutes to prepare and is extremely low in carbohydrates. There are just 25 calories, 5 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fiber, 3 grams of net carbs, 0.3 grams of fat, and 1.9 grams of protein in 100 grams of cauliflower.
Roasted cauliflower is a terrific addition to our keto mac & cheese recipe because of its low net carb count. Cauliflower has numerous other health benefits, such as being high in choline (3). Choline benefits the body in a variety of ways, including brain growth, nervous system health, and metabolism assistance.
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Cauliflower, frozen or fresh
While frozen vegetables have been demonstrated to retain more nutrients than fresh vegetables (1), pre-frozen cauliflower is not the ideal option for this dish. When a vegetable is frozen, the water molecules expand and push on the cell walls, stretching them out and turning the vegetable mushy (2). For this recipe, it’s recommended to use fresh cauliflower rather than frozen cauliflower.
What Can You Do With Cauliflower Macaroni?
There isn’t a hard and fast rule about what you should and shouldn’t prepare with mac and cheese. Whatever you adore is the ideal side dish! This recipe is filling and has a large serving size, making it suitable for a supper. If you’re looking for a main course, consider one of our favorites:
- Cook and shred some pepper and salt-seasoned chicken thighs for Buffalo Mac & Cheese. Drizzle a keto-friendly spicy sauce on top of 4 ounces of mac & cheese.
- Barbeque Mac and Cheese- Make your own or buy smoked pork barbecue (un-sauced). Add your meat and some sugar-free BBQ sauce to the macaroni and cheese.
- Low-carb Buffalo Chicken Burger– This flavorful and spicy burger pairs perfectly with this mac & cheese recipe. It’s easy to make and can be completed in the time it takes your mac to finish cooking in the oven.
- Homemade Chicken Fries– This is a low-carb alternative to chicken tenders. With a mac & cheese and chicken tender combo, you can let your true inner child out!
These are just a few of the many dishes that go well with our mac & cheese. If you’re stuck for inspiration, a grilled protein is always a good place to start. This dish works well with both grilled steak and chicken, so don’t be scared to keep it basic!
Making the Best Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
On a keto diet, there’s nothing quite like a gooey cheesy cauliflower mac. This recipe is great as a side dish or a main course, but there are a few tricks to make consistently wonderful mac and cheese.
Cauliflower with Bacon Roasted for the Best Mac and Cheese Flavor
Cauliflower mac and cheese recipes frequently include instructions for boiling, steaming, or baking the cauliflower. Instead, we pan roast the cauliflower with bacon to perfection. The cauliflower will absorb all of the bacon taste and have a far better texture than other methods of cooking. On the cauliflower, we get a great al dente cook as well as a wonderful golden brown color. There is no way to duplicate this with any other style of cooking!
Crunchy Keto Mac & Cheese with Pork Rinds
My favorite kind of mac and cheese comes with a crispy top. Traditional shells with cheddar cheese sauce have their merits, but they pale in comparison to a well-cooked mac and cheese with an extra crunchy and cheesy topping.
Normally, bread crumbs would be used to get that crisp…but carbs! Pork rinds are used in place of bread crumbs. Pork rinds crisp up just as well and provide a delicious taste to the finished dish. One word of caution in the making of this dish: the bacon and pig rinds both have a lot of salt in them, so go easy on the salt. Simply top your cauliflower with cheese sauce with a healthy dose of crumbled pig rinds and bake!
Macaroni and Cheese with a Lot of Water
Nobody likes a sauce that is too fluid to stick to their cauliflower. There are a few things that could have caused your recipe to be overly runny:
- Don’t Boil the Cauliflower- We roast the cauliflower ahead of time to avoid unnecessary moisture in the recipe. Plus, roasting the cauliflower adds even more flavor, so don’t try to boil it instead.
- Frozen Cauliflower- As previously indicated, frozen vegetables do not work well in this recipe. They have too much water and the sauce will thin down. If you’re going to use frozen, make sure it’s been thawed and roasted beforehand. When mixing the cauliflower in the sauce, you may want to add a 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum (keto “corn starch”).
Seasoning is essential.
Because cauliflower is a blander vegetable, it’s critical to season cauliflower recipes. Because bacon and cheese are already salty, you may need less salt if you use bacon as directed in the recipe. You will, however, need cracked black pepper and possibly a dash of garlic powder.
Although fresh minced garlic is preferable over garlic powder in this recipe, if you don’t have any, a pinch of garlic powder can be substituted.
Cauliflower Shouldn’t Be Overcooked
Cauliflower is frequently used in Keto dishes and requires a lot of cooking time to soften. Unlike pizza crusts and other cauliflower dishes, cheesy cauliflower mac tastes best when it has a little bite to it rather than being soft. To make the cauliflower truly resemble noodles, don’t overcook it and make it mushy. When it comes to this keto meal, a good rule of thumb is to undercook it in the pan and finish it in the oven. You can always take it out of the oven and test a piece to see whether it has the texture you want.
Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower with Broiling Cauliflower
The cauliflower mac and cheese is finished by baking and broiling. The recommended broiling time is 3-5 minutes, but this varies greatly from oven to oven. I’d suggest keeping an eye on it during the broiling process to ensure it doesn’t burn. This will also allow you to pull it out when the crispiness you desire has been achieved. As a point of reference, our photos show a broiling period of four minutes.
These pointers should assist you in creating the ideal Mac. Seasoning the cheese sauce, cooking time, and final broil time are all crucial factors in making the ultimate keto mac and cheese. You’ll be a pro the next time you attempt this keto recipe!
Macaroni and Cheese with Cauliflower Recipe
This meal has a few moving elements, but you’ll be relieved to learn that it’s rather simple to prepare. So have your fresh cauliflower, heavy cream, and cheese ready, because it’s time to cook!
Equipment for Cooking
Fortunately, making keto cauliflower mac and cheese is simple and only requires a few pieces of equipment.
- A big skillet is required to roast the cauliflower and bacon.
- A decent quality saucepan will assist in properly heating the cheese sauce.
- We use an 8x8in baking/casserole dish from Amazon, but any 8x8in baking dish should suffice for cooking the cauliflower.
Ingredients for Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
This low carb cauliflower mac and cheese recipe has three main ingredient categories. We’ll begin with the base, which will consist of cauliflower, thick sliced bacon, onion, and garlic. The bacon isn’t required, but it’s a nice touch… Is that correct? Bacon adds fat and a crispy, smokey taste to the dish. With the onion, garlic, and cauliflower florets, we decided to roast it. Pre-cut cauliflower florets are available, but we found them to be far too large for this recipe. You’ll need to break apart or slice the cauliflower florets by hand to get an appropriate noodle-like size. It takes a while, but you’ll be rewarded with the finest cheddar cheese cauliflower mac you’ve ever tasted!
1/4 cup heavy cream, cheese, and butter are required for the cauliflower and cheese sauce. If you don’t have heavy cream, you can use almond milk, but you may need additional cheese to achieve the right cream-to-cheese ratio. Finally, a little of black pepper and a pinch of salt will bring the cheese sauce to life!
We used a baked topping that only has two ingredients but provides a lot of flavor and texture. We used shredded cheese and crumbled pig rinds to make it. If you want a little more greenery, top it with sliced green onions after it’s done, but just these two ingredients make for a fantastic keto-friendly “bread crumb” substitute. They have the same flavor as store-bought panko breadcrumbs, but without the carbohydrates!
Putting Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Together
Last night, we made this, and I’m so pleased we did. I’m always full and satisfied after eating this mac & cheese. Plus, I get to relive my macaroni and cheese days from childhood! This is a recipe we will absolutely cook for Theo in the future, and we can’t wait for him to try it.
Cooking Cauliflower (Roasted)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place a pan on medium heat to begin preparing the cauliflower mac and cheese. Next, dice your bacon into little pieces so that it may be roasted alongside the cauliflower. Break the cauliflower into little bite-sized pieces; for comparison, we used elbow noodles. You can use a knife or your hands to achieve this, like we did.
It’s now time to add the cauliflower and bacon to the skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until the cauliflower is slightly caramelized and the bacon is thoroughly cooked. If you want your bacon to be particularly crispy, put it in the pan first and start cooking it before adding the cauliflower. Once the chicken is cooked, dice the onion and mince the garlic, which will be added to the skillet next. Cook for another 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the onions have become translucent.
Because the cauliflower is going into the oven to bake after roasting, it should be slightly al dente. Don’t be alarmed if your cauliflower appears to be a touch hard right now; macaroni and cheese should have a bite to it.
Sauce de Chevre Preparation
In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, combine the butter, cheese, and heavy cream to make the cheese sauce. Cook until all of the ingredients have melted and blended. Then season to taste with salt and pepper. You definitely don’t want to overlook these because they provide a unique flavor to mac and cheese, especially the pepper.
It’s time to assemble and bake once the cheese sauce is done! Fill an 8-inch baking dish halfway with cauliflower and bacon. It’s time to get saucy now! Pour the low-carb mac and cheese sauce over the cauliflower and toss to combine.
After everything is properly covered, it’s time to add the finishing touches to the mac and cheese cauliflower. Over the sauced cauliflower mac and cheese, sprinkle the cheese in an equal layer. Cauliflower with a cheesy flavor is the greatest, so don’t be scared to add a little additional cheese on top!
The crispy pig rind layer follows, providing a great crunch. Crush your pork rinds in a zip lock bag to produce a “breadcrumb” if you haven’t already. Spread the breadcrumbs evenly over the top of the pork rinds.
Macaroni and Cheese in the Oven
Finally, bake your cauliflower macaroni and cheese. Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 10 minutes. Set the oven to broil for the last 3-5 minutes to make the toppings extra crispy. Make sure you’re ready to go! Broil oven temps vary, so turn on the light and keep an eye on it as it cooks. It’s ridiculous how many times we’ve burned something in the oven! Remove the baked cauliflower from the oven once it’s cooked and serve your low-carb cauliflower mac & cheese.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: How to Store and Reheat
When stored in an airtight container, this recipe keeps nicely in the fridge. The mac and cheese recipe should keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator. You can freeze cauliflower, but it will crystalize the water molecules, making it overly soggy and mushy.
The microwave and airfryer work great for reheating this meal. If you’re reheating frozen cauliflower mac and cheese, cook it for a few minutes longer until the middle is thoroughly warm.
More Delicious Comfort Food
Although macaroni and cheese is the ideal comfort dish, there are lots of other options. Our blog is brimming with delectable dishes just begging to be tried. Here are a few of our go-to comfort food recipes:
- Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies– These low-carb cookies are soft and chewy, and they’re chock-full of chocolate. They’re the ideal late-night snack and comfort meal.
- Keto Lasagna– Who doesn’t love a cheese-filled, creamy lasagna? When you’re looking for a low-carb main dish that’s both easy and delicious, try our gluten-free lasagna recipe.
- Broccoli and Cheddar Soup on the Keto Diet– Get your sharp cheddar cheese out and get cracking! To produce a thick and exceptionally cheesy soup, combine fresh broccoli with sharp cheddar.
- Cornbread with Low Carbs– Whether you’re from the south or the Midwest, this side dish is a staple in many American households. Our gluten-free keto cornbread is packed with so many wonderful ingredients that you won’t even miss the genuine thing!
These are just a few of the many delectable low-carb recipes available on our website. This week, prepare a few of these dishes ahead of time. You’ll have supper ready great new meals for days once the cooking is done!
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese on a Keto Diet
We made this dish several times before we were satisfied with the flavors and proportions. Every time we cooked this mac and cheese recipe, we discovered a new method to improve it. This recipe can be served as a side dish or as a main course. Simply adapt the recipe serving size to your appetite (but be careful; our appetites would allow us to consume the entire thing as the serving size…). We are confident that you will enjoy this dish as soon as you try it, so gather your children and head to the kitchen. It’s time to create mac and cheese with cauliflower!
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
The recipe video may be found in the blog post’s body!
40-minute total time
4 portion servings
315 calories per serving
Time to prepare: 5 minutes
Time to prepare: 35 minutes
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and heat a pan over medium heat.
Separate the cauliflower into “macaroni” sized pieces and dice the bacon. We do it by hand, but a knife can also be used. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the bacon is nearly done, in the skillet with the bacon and cauliflower.
Add the materials to the skillet after dicing the onion and finely chopping the garlic. Cook for a another 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower is tender and the onions have turned translucent. So that it cooks the rest of the way in the oven, the cauliflower should be somewhat al dente.
In a small saucepan, combine butter, 1 cup cheddar cheese, and heavy cream. Cook over low heat until all of the ingredients have melted and blended together. Salt & pepper to taste.
Fill a baking dish halfway with the cauliflower mixture. An 88% is what we use.
Pour the cheese sauce on top and use a spoon to combine everything.
Crushed pork rinds and the remaining cheddar cheese are sprinkled on top.
To crisp up the topping, bake at 425 for 10 minutes and then broil for 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Per Serving Amount
315 calories 230 calories from fat
daily value in percent*
25.5 grams of fat (39 percent)
7.5g3 percent carbohydrate
2g8 percent fiber
16.5 g protein (33%)
* Percent Daily Values (%DV) are calculated using a 2000-calorie diet.
Side Dish is a course.
Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese is a term used to describe a dish made using cauliflower.
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You’ve probably heard the term “keto” (pronounced “ket-oh”) used to describe a low carb diet. It’s used to describe a diet where your carb intake is limited to 20 grams or less per day. The keto diet is considered to be a more effective way to lose body fat and keep it off, since the body is forced to use fat as its primary source of energy.. Read more about perfect keto cauliflower mac and cheese and let us know what you think.
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