The ultimate keto comfort food recipe. Cheesy Cauliflower Mac is the recipe that everyone turns to when they are craving traditional Macaroni & cheese. My recipe is far from the first Cauliflower mac recipe but I have a few tricks to making it one of the best. Follow a few easy steps to make your cauliflower Mac superior to other recipes.
Step by Step Instructions to Cheesy Liquid Gold
Let’s begin with the cauliflower itself. Boiling the cauliflower ahead of time is key. When cutting up the cauliflower make sure your pieces are similar in size so they cook evenly. Another trick is to salt the water just like you would pasta. Two or even three teaspoons is not too much salt when boiling your cauliflower. Most of that salt will be washed off when shocked in cold water but enough will absorb into the cauliflower to season throughout.
The cauliflower should be tender but not fully cooked. Since you’re cooking the cauliflower twice you’ll need to account for it baking in the cheese sauce. You should test the cauliflower after it’s boiled for six minutes by poking with a fork. If you overcook the cauliflower you’re going to have a consistency closer to mashed cauliflower…but that’s another recipe. As soon as the cauliflower is cooked it’s important to shock the cauliflower in cold water and drain thoroughly. If you don’t you’ll have soup not Mac.
Why is My Cauliflower Mac watery??
One complaint I’ve seen with recipes using cauliflower is that they’re watery. Cauliflower itself has a high water content and boiling it only adds more. Even after draining the cauliflower there is still a lot of water locked inside the vegetable itself. You need to at the very least pat the cauliflower dry after you’ve drained it. Another trick is to pop the cauliflower in the oven spread out on a sheet pan. You don’t want to cook the cauliflower but just dry it out a bit. I recommend 8-10 minutes at 300 degrees F. Just long enough to make your cheese sauce.
Let’s Get Cheesy!!!
All cheese sauces are not created equal. Different cheeses have different flavors and create different textures. I like to use a combination of soft and hard, mild and sharp cheeses to develop the ultimate cheese sauce. Cheeses like Parmesan or Romano are hard nutty cheeses where as cream cheese and Boursin are soft and creamy. When you combine all of them together you get the perfect balance of flavor and texture.
Just Like BBQ, The secret is Low n Slow
The second secret to cheesy perfection is temperature. Too often I see people bring their cheese sauce to a boil and then wonder why their sauce is greasy and grainy. A cheese sauce should never reach a boil. Even when the cauliflower Mac is baking in the oven.
I decided to use a combination of heavy cream and chicken stock. When preparing the sauce start with the soft cheeses like Boursin and cream cheese to begin thickening the sauce. Then add your melty cheddar cheese then finish with your hard Parmesan Cheese. This will give you the velvety smooth texture we’re looking for.
Once the cheese sauce and cauliflower is ready to combine, gently fold the sauce and cauliflower together before pouring into your baking dish. I like to use an enameled cast iron pan but any Pyrex or oven safe casserole dish will due. Finally before broiling I top the cauliflower mixture with a layer of cheddar and crushed Pork Rinds.
Pork Rind Breadcrumbs…Do I have Your Attention!
You can make your own but as a great time saver I use Pork King Good Breadcrumbs. They’re the perfect texture and ready in a moments notice to add to any recipe. If you’re oven has a low broil Setting that is ideal otherwise place your cauliflower Mac on the lower rack so the cheese has enough time to bubble and brown without burning. The cauliflower Mac will have everything you want in a cheesy casserole. A crispy crust on top with tender cauliflower enrobed in a velvety smooth sauce.
This is just a base recipe, now it’s up to you to make it yours. Add bacon or jalapeños for an extra kick. Play with the cheeses and seasoning to change the flavor profile. There are an infinite number of recipes that you can create from this only limited to your imagination. If you’re looking for more Cauliflower Goodness Click Here for More Recipes
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil w/ 2 tsp Real Salt
- Cut two heads of raw cauliflower into even bite-sized florets. Boil for 7-9 minutes until tender but still firm
- Shock cauliflower in ice water to stop cooking process then drain and pat completely dry. if cauliflower is not completely dry, bake in the oven at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes while you prepare the cheese sauce
- To make cheese sauce bring cream and chicken stock to just below a simmer then whisk in Boursin and softened cream cheese with salt and bbqueen seasoning. Whisk until smooth.
- Next slowly whisk in the cheddar and fontina cheeses in small increments until fully melted and incorporated into the sauce. Finally whisk in Parmesan Cheese.
- In a separate bowl combine cheese sauce and fully dried cauliflower. Then pour into enameled cast iron or oven safe casserole dish.
- Cover the top of the cauliflower mixture with a layer of cheddar, Parmesan and fontina as well as Pork King Good Breadcrumbs. Broil on the bottom rack of the oven on the low setting until golden brown (about 5 minutes)
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