Because mac and cheese can be a heavier dish, I created these Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Cups to lighten it up without sacrificing flavor.
Mac and cheese is one of my favorite American side dishes that I fell in love with when I came to this country. Since we know that some mac and cheese isn’t the healthiest, and that eating a true serving size for mac and cheese can be difficult (it really is so delicious), I wanted to show you a simple solution. Let me introduce you to my cauliflower mac and cheese cups.
How to Make Healthier Mac and Cheese
These mac and cheese cups use whole grain pasta, low-fat dairy, and naturally provide serving size control. You’ll have an awareness of how much you’re consuming, while also enjoying every bite.
Plus, I’ve added some cauliflower to these cups – trust me when I say you won’t even taste it, but that it will lighten up the mac and cheese while also adding some valuable nutrients.
Pairing Dairy with Plant-Based Foods
Dairy foods are plant-packed snacks best friend – they complement each other by bringing a variety of nutrients, flavor, texture and satisfaction to the table.
Milk, yogurt, and cheese contain high-quality protein so paring dairy with plants which contain fiber like fruit and vegetables is a winner combination that can help you feel fuller longer.
How Long Do You Bake Mac and Cheese
For this recipe, I recommend baking for 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees F. This allows the flavors to blend together, and provides a subtly crispy top of your mac and cheese cups.
What to Serve with Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
The thing I love about these mac and cheese cups is that you can easily take them to a holiday gathering or get-together any time of year to pair with other dishes. Since they provide carbohydrates, protein, and fat, they can be served with a salad for a lighter meal. Or, you can have them as a side to your main meal for the holidays. Because they’re in cup form, it makes it easier to keep as a side rather than increase temptation to have it as a main dish.
Since I am lactose intolerant, I am using lactose free milk, it is real milk that provides 13 essential nutrients in a 8 fluid ounce serving.
Baked Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Cups
- 4-quart saucepan
- 2-quart saucepan
- Muffin tin
- 6 ounces whole-grain protein enriched elbow pasta
- 3½ cups cauliflower florets cut into small pieces
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1½ cups 1% milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
- 2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella
- ½ cup panko
- In a 4-quart saucepan, heat water to boiling over medium heat. Add the elbow pasta and the cauliflower, cook for 8 to 9 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the milk, cornstarch, salt, and black pepper with whisk until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the cheese and mix until almost melted.
- Add the cooked pasta and cauliflower into cheese mixture and mix well.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle the panko over the muffins and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Now it is your turn to make my cauliflower Mac and cheese cups!
Similar Recipes to these Mac and Cheese Cups
If you’d like to try other healthier versions of common foods you love, try some of the following:
- Creamy Vegetable Soup (without the Cream)
- Cheese Lasagna
- Artichoke Quinoa Muffins
- Comfort Food Meatloaf
For additional information and more about how to use dairy in your recipes go to USDairy.com.