We all have those days when we just want to eat something stodgy and comforting. Maybe the weather is miserable, or maybe we’ve had a difficult day or are just tired. Maybe we’re craving those wonderful childhood foods that take us back to more carefree times. Enter our new recipe series – healthy comfort foods! These variations of classic recipes are just as satisfying as their originals, but are tweaked to be a little more balanced, with a few more veggies!
Cauliflower, Mac & Cheese
Two comfort classics rolled into one! Incorporating the cauliflower with the macaroni reduces the amount of pasta required without losing that wonderful texture. The addition of spinach and tomato gives a veggie boost while adding extra dimensions of flavour and texture.
Rather than a traditional béchamel sauce base, this recipe replaces the butter with pureed onion which makes for a lighter, but flavorsome sauce which is barely distinguishable from the original!
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 25
1 small head cauliflower
5oz (150g) wholemeal macaroni (dry weight) OR gluten free macaroni
34 fl oz (1 ltr) chicken or vegetable stock (retain 200ml)
10 fl oz (300ml) milk of choice
1 small brown onion
1 large tomato, diced
1 packed cup (large handful) baby spinach
2 tbsp all-purpose flour OR wholemeal flour OR gluten free flour
2 oz (60g) cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1 heaped tbsp. cream cheese
2 tsp Dijon mustard
- Preheat grill to high.
- Break the cauliflower into small florets.
- Bring the stock to boil in a medium saucepan adding additional water in order to cover the cauliflower and macaroni.
- Add the macaroni and cauliflower to the boiling stock, cook according to the macaroni directions.
- Once cooked, drain but retain 200ml of the stock. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, pulse the onion and mustard in a food processor until smooth.
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion puree for 5 minutes until browned, stir frequently to avoid sticking.
- Add the flour to the onion paste and stir quickly to avoid lumps.
- Continue stirring while slowly pouring in the milk and 200ml of stock. Adding the liquid slowly will prevent any lumps from forming.
- Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat and allow the sauce to thicken for a few minutes. Add the cream cheese and ¾ of the cheddar, stir well to combine. Remove from heat.
- Add the macaroni, cauliflower, spinach and chopped tomato to the sauce and mix well.
- Pour the mixture into a medium sized oven dish. Sprinkle the remaining cheddar and the Parmesan over the top.
- Place under the grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese in brown and bubbling.