Mac 'n Cheese ranks high on the list of satisfying comfort food makes, IMO. However add a bacon and rosemary topping and this simple dish is out of this world. Of course I had to sneak in a veggie, which means this delicious meal is filling, comforting, full of flavour, and nutritious. The crunchy-salty-herby topping works beautifully with the silky-soft cauliflower-cheesy combination below. Be sure to put this on your menu for the coming week, you won't regret it!
About the ingredients
Cassava Flour - I use Otto's for all my cassava-based recipes, it makes a really lovely silky béchamel sauce.
Cassava Pasta - As far as I'm aware the only AIP compliant brand is Jovial. They make cassava pastas in a variety of shapes. If you're looking for more AIP pasta recipes, I've used their orzo in Mushroom Risotto, penne in the "Cheesy" Ham and Pasta Bake and the Prosciutto Carbonara, and elbows again in Root Soup with Wild Salmon.
Nutritional Yeast - this is AIP compliant if you use a non-fortified version. Fortified nutritional yeast contains synthetic ingredients that are often grown on corn or corn syrup, and are therefore unsuitable for the elimination phase.
Plantain Chips - provide bulk and add to the crispiness of the topping. I use a salted, not sweet variety.
Coconut Milk - it's important to read labels because many manufacturers add emulsifiers such as guar gum, to stabilize and thicken coconut milk. I've linked to the coconut milk I used here and in the recipe below.
Mustard - is a Stage 1 reintroduction and optional for this recipe. Commercially produced mustard that doesn't contain sugar or non-compliant vinegar is not easy to find. There's a recipe for a delicious, clean mustard condiment in my cookbook if you can't source one in your local grocery store.
Does this Baked Cauliflower Mac 'n Cheese freeze well?
Yes. This is a perfect recipe for batch cooking. Once cooked I like to divide into portions and freeze in glass containers. When you want to eat, remove your portion from the freezer and thaw it thoroughly. Reheat in the oven with a splash of water at 300F, or in the microwave until piping hot.
Can I make the Baked Cauliflower Mac 'n Cheese ahead of time?
Yes. You can assemble the dish ahead of time and allow to cool completely. Keep in the refrigerator until an hour before you want to eat. Place in the oven and bake as per the instructions below. You can also divide the assembled dish into portions and freeze in glass containers. When you're ready to eat, thaw the portion you want to eat and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Bake as per the instructions below.
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I can't wait for you to give this Baked Cauliflower Mac 'n Cheese a try so be sure to let me know what you think. As ever, I love getting your feedback so leave me a comment below. And don't forget to tag me on Instagram, so I can share your beautiful meal.
Baked Cauliflower Mac 'n Cheese
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
Print the recipe here!
Prepare the topping. Grill/broil the bacon for 8 minutes or until nearly crispy. Add the rosemary leaves and lightly coat with the bacon fat. Return to the grill/broiler for 2 minutes. Transfer the bacon and rosemary to a plate lined with absorbent paper and set aside. They will harden as they cool down. Pour the rosemary oil into a small container and use another time.
Meanwhile cook the pasta per the packet instructions.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
To make the sauce, mix the liquids together in a jug. Heat the coconut oil in a medium pan and add the cassava flour. Stir for a minute on a low-medium heat. Pour in 1/3 of the liquid, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Add another 1/3, then the remainder, stirring all the time. Simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the nutritional yeast, and mustard if using. Add a generous amount of sea salt to taste and adjust the nutritional yeast/mustard if needed. Set aside.
Meanwhile steam the cauliflower for 6-8 minutes or until almost tender. Alternatively cook in a medium pan of simmering water. Drain well and put into a 12x15 inch ovenproof dish. Drain the pasta and add to the cauliflower.
Put the bacon and rosemary into a food processor with the plantain chips. Pulse until the consistency of large breadcrumbs.
Pour the cheese sauce over the cauliflower and pasta, and mix well. Sprinkle over the bacon topping.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until the topping is crunchy and golden brown, and the cauliflower is cooked through.
Serve with a crunchy dressed green salad or sautéed greens.