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Baked cauliflower and peas: mac & cheese alternative

June 8, 2017 (Updated: August 3, 2021)
Lily Moran

Serves 6

Total Time:

The macaroni in macaroni and cheese is usually a simple carbohydrate from plain white flour. This cheesy dish uses cancer-fighting cauliflower to achieve the same sort of taste, but with fewer calories and more fiber. I think it’ll replace macaroni as a comfort food for you and your famly.

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  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 2 large heads cauliflower
  • 1 ½ cups green peas
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ cup bread crumbs


  1. In a medium saucepan, mix together flour and butter to form a roux. Stir briskly until flour is thoroughly incorporated into butter. Cook until golden in color.
  2. Add milk to pan, and stir for two minutes. Milk will thicken.
  3. Whisk in spices and hot sauce.
  4. Whisk in cheddar and stir until thoroughly melted. Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally as you prepare the cauliflower and peas.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Put water in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt.
  6. Cut the cauliflowers into florets. Cut the stalks into 1-inch cubes. Add the cauliflower to the salted water and cook about five minutes.
  7. Reserve one cup of the cooking water. Remove cauliflower to a colander and rinse with cold water. (The cauliflower should be undercooked at this stage. It will cook more in a bit.)
  8. On a cold eye, put the cauliflower back into the large pot and pour over the cheese sauce. Toss cauliflower until it is thoroughly coated. The sauce should be runny. If it is thick, slowly add some of the reserved cooking water. Stir in the peas.
  9. Prepare your baking dish with with cooking spray or by lining with parchment paper. Place cauliflower and peas in the dish. Top with breadcrumbs. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven when cheese is bulling and top is browned. Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving


Pasta-Free Baked Cauliflower and Cheese With Peas [Vegan]

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