Cauliflower Mac 'n Cheese

Cauliflower Mac ‘n Cheese

  • Author: Nicole Gaffney (
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 servings 1x
  • Category: vegetarain casserole
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: American


This recipe for cauliflower mac n cheese is like a mashup between the best mac n cheese and cauliflower au gratin. Perfect recipe for feeding a crowd! Adapted from Martha Stewart.



For the Topping

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh parsley

For the Mac ‘n Cheese

  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 16 ounces grated extra sharp white cheddar (about 4 cups)
  • 8 ounces grated Gruyere (about 2 cups)
  • 2 ounces grated pecorino Romano (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 pound short-shaped pasta like shells, elbow macaroni or cavatappi
  • 1 medium-large head cauliflower, cut into florets


Make the Topping

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and garlic, then continuously stir and toss around until evenly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Once cool, stir in the pecorino Romano and parsley and set aside.

For the Mac ‘n Cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, butter a 3-quart casserole dish and set aside. Fill a large pasta pot with water and bring to a boil.
  2. Heat the milk a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, then add the flour and stir for about 1 minute. Slowly pour in the hot milk while vigorously whisking. Continue whisking until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and all but 2 cups of cheese (a mixture of all 3).
  4. When the water is boiling, drop in the pasta and cook for 6 minutes (set a timer). Add the cauliflower into the water with the pasta, stir, and cook for another 3 minutes. Drain the pasta and cauliflower well, then combine with the cheese sauce.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining 2 cups of cheese, then scatter the breadcrumbs on top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling on top. Allow to rest for about 5-10 minutes before serving.


  • *This dish can be made up to 3 days ahead of time without being baked. Cool, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook. Heat in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until bubbling and browned on top.

Keywords: vegetarian, dinner, entree, cauliflower, pasta, cheese, macaroni and cheese, mac n cheese,