If you’re looking for some new low carb side dishes, let me formally introduce you to this decadent cauliflower mac and cheese. Believe me when I say this low carb recipes flavors totally outshine the original noodle-y version!
Now, this could easily become one of your go-to sides, but it also might be the star of the show (hello veggie-based low carb dinners!).
It’s melty, creamy, with crunchy bits on top and roasted cauliflower, and you guys, now I need to wrap this up so I go make some more. Seriously, this will be of your favorite cauliflower recipes, guaranteed.
This cauliflower mac and cheese is the PERFECT substitute for traditional mac and cheese, with a fraction of the carbs and an added dose of veggies. Plus:
- It’s EASY to make! This is the perfect weeknight meal.
- The cheese sauce is so amazing, you (and the kiddos) won’t even know you’re eating veggies!
- Can be switched around to suit your cravings — want more protein? Add it in! Want some spice? No problem…
In a word, this low carb mac and cheese is dreamy, and it’s so easy to whip up, too!
We’re remaking a kid favorite – now is not the time for artisan ingredients! Just healthy, whole foods with lots of flavor!
Pancetta – This yummy addition is optional, but adds a lot of flavor while keeping the carbs in mac and cheese to a minimum. This thinly cut, cured pork belly is super luscious and delicious.
Cheese sauce – We’ll use a mix of cheddar, butter and cream to make a decadent low carb cheese sauce to pour over our cauliflower. Don’t like cheddar? You can totally swap it out for another low carb cheese option.
Pork Rinds – I love these crispy, crunchy pork skins to add a wonderful breadcrumb texture to casseroles like this cauliflower mac and cheese.
If you aren’t eating low carb or gluten free, you can sub in bread crumbs.
Tools To Make
There are a few components to this baked cauliflower with cheese, so you’ll need a few simple tools. But, don’t worry! It’s worth it!
- Baking sheet – We’ll use this to toast our cauliflower, bringing out all the lovely flavors. You could also boil it, but you’ll lose some of the taste.
- Heavy-bottomed saucepan – We need this to melt our sauce down and make it nice and gooey. Using a heavy-bottomed pan will help prevent the sauce from burning on the bottom.
- Skillet – This is optional, but if you are using pancetta, you’ll want to fry it up a bit first.
- Casserole dish – You’re going to layer all your ingredients in this to bake it to perfection! I use an 8″ square dish, but you can use what you have!
Can You Freeze This?
It’s best fresh, but you can freeze it if you must. Assemble, cover with an airtight lid, and freeze. Thaw in the fridge, and bake as directed. Or freeze leftovers in individual baggies.
This recipe really is EASY! Just a few things to point out before sending you on your way…
- Don’t overcook the cauliflower. Overcooked cauliflower is often bitter!
- If you choose to skip the pancetta, be sure to add some salt to the cauliflower before roasting it.
- Add a crunchy topping, even if it’s not pork rinds (I know they’re not for everyone). You can sub them for roughly chopped low carb nuts, or breadcrumbs.
This cauliflower mac and cheese dish is perfect fresh from the oven without any toppings and really doesn’t need any sides. But if you’re looking to beef up this meal, serve it as a side to all sorts of low carb chicken recipes/
If you’re one for dipping sauces, try dipping this cauli mac in low carb ketchup (mac and cheese with ketchup is a thing!).
As long as you get the basics for the cheesy cauliflower recipe down, you can switch and swap ingredients as you see fit. Here are some ideas that come to mind:
- Get Creative with your cheese sauce. Swap cheddar for any meltable cheese — pepper jack, mozzarella — whatever you’d prefer.
- Add Protein. Swap pancetta for bacon (like this loaded cauliflower casserole), cubed ham, heck even shredded chicken would be a delicious addition to this cauliflower mac and cheese. Be sure to cook any meat before adding it to the dish.
- Add Veggies. Broccoli is a natural complement to this cauliflower bake, but everything tastes delicious in cheese sauce! Try adding some sauteed kale, red onions, or mushrooms — it’s a sneaky way to squeeze in more low carb salads.
- Try different “noodles”. Not digging the cauliflower part of this dish? Instead of cauliflower, try my almond flour pasta, low carb gnocchi, or cauliflower gnocchi (a little less cauliflower-y).
Cauliflower Mac And CheesePrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 1 Head Cauliflower cut into 1" florets
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt skip salt if using
- 1 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Ounces Pancetta optional
- 1 Cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Pork Rinds crushed. Optional. Can sub for breadcrumbs.
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Toss in olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, and spread onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the florets begin to brown and crisp up.
- If you’re using the pancetta, cook in a small pan, and drain grease on paper towels.
- In a small saucepan, add cheddar, heavy cream, and butter. Heat on low until everything melts together, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir in cooked pancetta.
- Place cooked cauliflower in a casserole dish (I use an 8” square dish).
- Pour cheese and pancetta combo over the top, then sprinkle the parmesan and crushed pork rinds or breadcrumbs.
- Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the top begins to brown. Allow the dish to cool before serving and enjoy!
Fans Also Made These Low Carb Recipes:
Because it’s a superfood and so versatile, there is a never-ending world of cauliflower recipes available! Here are some of my recent faves:
- Cauliflower Pizza Bites – Pizza anything is good, and these yummy cauli bites are excellent!!
- Cauliflower Stuffing – The cauliflower in this soaks up the flavors and is unbelievably tender.
- Cauliflower Fried Rice – Move over brown rice, there is a new healthy rice in town!
- Cauliflower Salad – All I can say is, yum yum yum!!
- Cauliflower Pizza – A traditional pizza crust, reinvented to be tastier and healthier than ever!
Without further ado, I present to you our family approves low carb cauliflower mac and cheese recipe! I can’t wait to hear what you think — be sure to leave a comment and let me know any variations you tried. Enjoy!