If you’re looking for low-carb comfort food, this cheesy cauliflower bake is it! Loaded with all the flavor and creaminess of mac and cheese without the gluten and additional calories of pasta, it’s warm, cheesy, delicious and not too bad for you!
Before you call me crazy for implying that this might be a healthy option, consider that fat is not always the bad guy. Especially good fats like olive oil, grass-fed butter and uncured bacon. Consider that a pound of pasta is roughly 700 calories, while the equal measure of cauliflower has about 150 calories. Of course, it’s just not the same eating cauliflower instead of pasta and if you want a bowl of good old fashioned mac and cheese, go for it. I’m simply suggesting this as a delicious alternative, or at least a delicious side with chicken, fish or steak!
This cheesy cauliflower bake can actually be made two ways. I steamed the cauliflower to keep it lower in calories, but it is also delicious twice-baked.
Roasting takes no more effort than steaming and adds a great layer of flavor. By roasting, you allow the natural sugars in the cauliflower to caramelize creating, yep, you guessed it, flavor! This step is also a great place to add additional flavors. I like it simple with olive oil, salt and pepper, but if you want a more bold flavor, consider roasting the cauliflower with garlic or basil-infused olive oil. If you are trying to save a few calories wherever you can, trust me when I say this Cheesy Cauliflower Bake is delicious with steamed cauliflower.
- Cook time:
- Prep time:
- Total time:
- 2 small heads cauliflower, cut into florets
- 2 Tbsp. Heinen's olive oil, for roasting the cauliflower
- 2 Tbsp. grass-fed butter
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 1/2 cups Heinen's shredded cheddar, divide
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 lb. Heinen's CARE Certified bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 450° F.
- To Roast the Cauliflower: On a baking sheet, toss the cauliflower florets with olive oil. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Roast the cauliflower in a single layer for 15-20 minutes until tender, yet still slightly crisp (al dente).
- To Steam the Cauliflower: Use a microwave steamer to steam the cauliflower for 5 minutes, or simply drop into a large pot of boiling water and parboil for 3 minutes. Drain well.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (1 minute), then add the flour and stir until golden, 2 minutes. Add the milk and bring to a low simmer, then add the cream cheese, whisking until combined. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a 9×13 casserole dish, add the cauliflower. Pour the cheese sauce over top and stir carefully to combine.
- Stir in all but 1 Tbsp. each of the cooked bacon and green onions until combined, then top with the remaining cheddar, bacon and green onions.
- Reduce the oven temp to 350°F and bake until the cauliflower is tender and cheese is melty, 30 minutes.