mac & cheese mondays – cauli mac

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welcome back to mac & cheese mondays! the time is really starting to fly by, isn’t it? today is going to be a bit of a change of pace… a recipe rather than a review of the boxed stuff, and a baked mac & cheese rather than a stovetop. let’s go!

as i mentioned the past couple of mondays, i’ve traditionally been a stovetop kind of girl, but erik found a version of this recipe in runner’s world magazine a few years ago, and he thought it sounded right up my alley. he got to veganizing, it was a wild success, and it’s been a staple in our house ever since. the cauliflower does its magic and gets everything super creamy and delicious, making this recipe even halfway decent, health-wise. bonus!

creamy cauliflower mac (adapted from a recipe in runner’s world)

2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 head cauliflower, cored and cut into large pieces (you can also use frozen if you like!)
1 lb pasta, in whatever shape you prefer
3/4 cup vegan cheese (we use daiya), divided into two amounts: 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup bread crumbs

heat oven to 400° F. boil a pot of salted water.

in a saucepan, warm veggie stock and bay leaves on medium-low heat for 5 minutes; turn off heat.

either: (a) cook cauliflower in boiling water for 25 minutes, or (b) microwave in a covered dish with some water in the bottom for about 10 minutes.  put cooked cauliflower in a food processor.

cook pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes. drain and rinse to cool; put pasta in a greased 9×13 baking dish.

process cauliflower with stock (discard bay leaves), 1/2 cup of cheese, oil, mustard, nutmeg, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper, working in batches.

pour sauce over pasta, toss, and spread evenly in dish. top with 1/4 cup vegan cheese and bread crumbs, then bake for 20 minutes.

let cool for a bit, and bask in its glory while it sits on the counter. voila!

cauli mac pan

i really, really love this cauli mac. it’s so creamy and comfort food-y, and it makes a lot, so you can have leftovers for awhile, which is always awesome. we usually eat ours with a side of something green (roasted brussels sprouts, broccoli, etc.) to punch it up a bit, but it’s also good with chik nuggets or thanksgiving dinner. it’s versatile! the other night, we had ours with peas & edamame, which is my favorite side. erik isn’t wild about peas, so i always know he’s feeling extra charitable when he makes this meal for me:

cauli mac plate

love! this recipe is currently my runner-up for favorite homemade mac & cheese. we eat it fairly regularly, because erik likes it too. and the leftovers are just as delicious as the first night. i hope you like it!

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