Mac and cheese is one of those things that we all love and enjoy often. But this cauliflower mac and cheese with turkey bacon is our all time favourite. I tend to make this very often and the kids never seem to tire of it. Since it’s one of those meals that has carbs, protein, fiber, and fat all in one, it’s not such a bad meal at the end of the day.
The ingredients for Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
I use ingredients that are used in a regular mac and cheese, but add to it some cauliflower and some turkey bacon. You are guaranteed to love the results.
Ingredients List for this Gluten Free meal:
- 1 cup uncooked (gluten free) macaroni
- 2 cups raw cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 slices turkey bacon
- 4 tablespoons rice flour (or any gluten free flour)
- 1 cup milk or half and half
- 1 cup old cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chilies
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (optional)
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The Cooking Process:
Let’s start with prepping the macaroni and cauliflower. Chop the cauliflower into bite size pieces. I chop them into 1 inch pieces so they boil easily and cook through when baked.
Boil the macaroni as per the package instructions and about 3 minutes before the pasta is done cooking, I add the cauliflower to the same pot. This allows the cauliflower to boil a slight bit. I prefer not to boil them all the way. I prefer to have a little bite to them because they will continue to cook in the oven and soggy pasta is not the best thing in this delicious meal. Drain the pasta and cauliflower in cold water and set it aside.
The Cheese Sauce for Baked Pasta Dish
Now we can get started on the cheese sauce. Slice the onions. Chop the garlic and bacon into bits. Add the oil and butter into a large pan. Once it’s heated, add the onions and garlic. Cook them for about 5 mins or till the onions start to brown a little.
Once the onion has started to brown, add the chopped bacon to the pan. Cook the bacon for about 5 minutes or until it starts to brown a little as well. Since it’s turkey bacon, it doesn’t shed any fat, so there is no need to worry about excess fat in the pan.
Add the rice flour to the pan and mix well so that the bacon and onions are well coated with the flour. The flour helps to thicken the sauce. I use rice flour, but you can use any kind of gluten free flour of choice. Adding the flour to the pan with the onions and bacon helps to ensure that the sauce doesn’t get clumpy. The oil and butter we added to the pan also help ensure the sauce is smooth.
Now we can add the milk to the pan. Allow it to cook for a couple of minutes so that the milk thickens. Once it has thickened, add the grated cheese to the pan and mix well. Cook until the cheese melts. This should not take longer than one or two minutes. Add the crushed chilies, salt, and pepper and combine into the sauce. We now have the cheese sauce ready to be used.
Add the boiled cauliflower and macaroni to the pan and mix everything well so that they both get coated with the cheese sauce really well. You should not be able to see any uncoated bits. This will ensure that each bite you take is creamy and cheesy and delicious.
The Baking Process:
Now we are ready to bake. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 x 13 inch baking dish – or any dish of choice that can hold all of the cauliflower mac and cheese in it. The oil will prevent it from sticking to the bottom and sides.
Pour or spoon the mac and cheese into the oiled dish and sprinkle the bread crumbs if using. I find adding the bread crumbs to the top helps crisp up the top a little and makes the dish even more delicious. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the sides start to bubble and the top is browned. If the bread crumbs / top aren’t browned at this point, turn the broiler on and stick the baking dish under that for a couple of minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow it to cool down for a couple of minutes before you serve. Enjoy with a side of greens such as a leafy salad or any greens of your choice.
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Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with BaconCourse: EntreeCuisine: CanadianDifficulty: Easy
This delicious cauliflower mac and cheese is much lower in carbs than the normal mac and cheese but is just as packed with flavour. It’s the best way to consume your favourite comfort food.
1 cup uncooked (gluten free) macaroni
2 cups raw cauliflower
4 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 slices turkey bacon
1/4 cup rice flour (or any gluten free flour)
1 cup milk or half and half
1 cup old cheddar cheese (grated)
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed chilies
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (optional)
- Wash and chop the cauliflower into bite size pieces (about 1 inch pieces). Boil the macaroni as per the package instructions. Three minutes before the pasta is done boiling, add the cauliflower to the pot. Boil them together. Drain with cold water and set aside.
- Slice the onion. Chop the garlic and the bacon. In a large pan add the butter and oil. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for about 4-5 mins.
- Once the onion has started to brown, add the chopped bacon to the pan. Cook the bacon for about 5 mins or until it starts to brown a little.
- Add the rice flour to the pan and mix well so that the bacon and onions are well coated with the flour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Add the milk to the pan and mix well so that the milk thickens. Once the milk has thickened, add the grated cheese to the pan and mix well. Cook until the cheese melts.
- Add the crushed chilies, salt, and pepper to the pan. Mix well so that the spices are evenly distributed.
- Add the boiled pasta and cauliflower to the pan and mix so that all the pasta and cauliflower get coated with the cheese sauce.
- Once the pasta has been coated, turn the heat off. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with oil and place the pasta into it. Even the top out and sprinkle with the bread crumbs (if using).
- Bake the cauliflower mac and cheese for 20 mins.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for about 5 minutes before serving.