This cauliflower mac and cheese doesn’t use traditional macaroni or pasta. It has just a couple of low-carb pasta servings along with nutritious spinach and an entire head of cauliflower to bulk it up and make for hefty servings. As you likely realize by now I’m a huge fan of oven-roasted cauliflower, and especially of using it to substitute for pasta in some of my homemade dishes. This is one of my all-time favorite low-starch meals. For help navigating your weight loss, diabetes, or prediabetes journey–with real, still delicious-tasting food being just the start–then please visit my Weight Loss Coach page for more info and contact me today for a complimentary consultation.
1 x-large head of cauliflower
2 servings dry low-carb pasta (such as black bean spaghetti or mung bean pasta)
(2) 12 to 16-oz packages frozen spinach, thawed
1 Tbsp whole wheat dry breadcrumbs
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp paprika
Lots of fresh garlic (~ 6-10 medium cloves), minced
2 small- to medium sweet onions, chopped
2 1/2 cups skim or low-fat milk, divided
1 1/2 Tbsp stone-ground whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cornstarch
2 cups shredded low-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups low-fat organic cottage cheese
<1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
Optional: low-fat cottage cheese for topping
- Roast the cauliflower ahead of time: Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and lightly grease a large roasting dish. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size florets and sprinkle with sea salt. (Note: I’ve since discovered that you don’t even need to further oil the cauliflower if the baking dish is well-oiled.) Roast for 30 mins, stir, and roast 15 min more. Once cooled, place in a very large mixing bowl.
- Grease a separate 13×9-inch glass baking dish, and set aside.
- Cook the low-carb pasta according to package instructions, drain, and place in the mixing bowl.
- Place spinach in a fine-mesh strainer and press out as much excess moisture as possible. Add to the large mixing bowl.
- Mix breadcrumbs, oil, and paprika in small bowl and set aside.
- Saute the garlic and onions with just a tiny bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until translucent. Add to the large mixing bowl along with the cauliflower, low-carb pasta and spinach.
- Using the now-empty skillet heat 2 cups milk over medium-high heat until steaming.
- Whisk remaining 1/2 cup milk, flour, and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth; add to the hot milk and cook, whisking constantly, until the sauce simmers and thickens, as much as 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of the Cheddar cheese until melted. Stir in the cottage cheese, nutmeg, and salt.
- Add entire cheesy mixture to the large mixing bowl and stir all ingredients well.
- Spoon into the 13×9-inch baking dish, top with the last 1/2 cup of Cheddar, and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until bubbly.
- Serve with optional additional cottage cheese.