So as you may know we try to find recipes and modify them for our family’s needs and tastes. We have a family full of various Neurodivergent needs and dietary issues so it can make cooking a challenge even on the best days. With that being said, we all love Cauliflower and we all love a good Mac N’ Cheese, so when I found this recipe from Real House Moms I knew it was something we were gonna have to give a go. She adds in Bacon and Pork Rinds to hers to make it Keto approved, working with those fats and proteins in the way the diet intends.
As I was reading her post however I was trying to figure out how to modify it so that it would fit our min dairy needs & how to add in proteins that were also friendly to me. I have to limit my red meat intake and I use pork in limited ways because of this. Also I cannot use anything that has been cured, so if I use bacon or sausages it has to be uncured meats. So we hit the grocery store, grabbed our supplies and came back home, excited to give it a go with our variations.
When I say this was amazing, I mean it truly was mind blowing how good this turned out. It was creamy, melty, warm, and comforting just like a pot of homemade mac n cheese should be. This is on our make again list for sure! Our youngest even asked for seconds but we had already eaten it all, so note… need to make a bigger batch next time LOL
BACON CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE INGREDIENTS
CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE:
Cauliflower – You will need two heads of cauliflower cut into small bite-sized pieces. If you have a large family I suggest getting three to four heads, they will enjoy it that much!
Uncured Bacon – We used a small package of uncured bacon which had about 8-10 slices in it. We did not put it in the mix it self, we used it as a topping and did add a small amount of the drippings to the cauliflower to help with flavoring as it roasted in the oven.
Limited Dairy Cheese Sauce – If you don’t have heavy cream on hand and decide to substitute milk just be aware it will make this recipe non-keto. The cream cheese gives the sauce a rich and creamy taste, we opted to use Parmesan and a low whey mix of Italian cheeses to help give it that bite. One of our children has extreme issue with whey and has an allergy to it. He can tolerate small amounts but large amounts send him into an allergic reaction. We also have several people who are lactose intolerant, which is why most of our substitutions are dairy free [ We used non-dairy heavy cream by Country Crock and a plant based cream cheese by Philadelphia, both of which were found at my local Kroger. I could not find a link yet to the cream cheese put I did find a photo for you]
Topping – For our topping choice we used the crumbled up uncured bacon, parmesan cheese, and panko seasoned bread crumbs. You can choose your own desired toppings and experiment with flavors like I know we will.
Make sure you florets are broken up into small pieces, like this or even smaller, you want small bite sized pieces but not so small you cannot fit them on a fork.
HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER MAC AND CHEESE
Mac and Cheese
- 2 heads cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil- Canola- or Vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup non dairy heavy cream
- 8 ounces non dairy cream cheese cubed
- 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
- 2 cups Italian Cheese Blend
- 1 teaspoon parsley
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon natures seasoning
- 2 tablespoons bacon grease (see note)
- 8-10 slices bacon uncured cooked and crumbled (reserve grease)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- Fresh green onions chopped for garnish
- Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, if you do not have parchment paper, lightly oil your pan with vegetable oil or canola oil. This just keeps your cauliflower from sticking to the baking sheet
- Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized florets, Then add them to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Cook the bacon, chop it, and set it aside.
- Begin preparing the cauliflower by cutting it into bite-sized florets and add them to a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, paprika and pepper
- Now spread the cauliflower florets out on the prepared baking sheet, optional- drizzle with about 1- 2 tablespoons of the bacon grease for flavor and roast for 30 to 40 minutes until the cauliflower begins to brown and is fork-tender.
- In a large pot over medium heat, add the heavy cream and cream cheese and heat it until the cheese has melted and the edges begin to simmer.
- Now stir in the desired cheese and seasoning until completely melted and thick. Add additional salt and pepper to taste, if you choose. We did not add in extra salt and pepper.
- Next, mix in the roasted cauliflower and additional desired fillings [see notes] then transfer to a greased baking dish.
- For the topping, mix together your desired toppings and sprinkle on the top. We chose to top it off with the uncured bacon, parmesan cheese and bread crumbs
- Broil on low for about 5 minutes until the top crisps up.
- Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
- Using milk or a nondairy substitution instead of traditional heavy cream will make this non-keto.
- If you want to make this mac and cheese vegetarian, leave out the bacon and substitute 2 tablespoons of melted, unsalted butter for the topping.
- If you skip the topping, the rest of this recipe can be made on the stove top after the cauliflower is roasted.
- Optional additional fillings can be added in for a extra protein boost, we added in Impossible Sausage after the cauliflower was done baking, this step would come in when you go to mix all the sauce and cauliflower together in your baking pan/casserole dish.