Roasted Cauliflower Macaroni & Cheese

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I saw this pasta that was loaded with cheese but also cauliflower and immediately knew this would be a hit for a winter vegetarian dish. I’ve changed this recipe to be healthier by 1) adding cottage cheese for protein 2) adding more vegetables- more cauliflower, greens, and leeks! 3) using chickpea pasta. But don’t worry, I didn’t skimp on the cheese.

Cheesy Cauliflower Pasta Bake
Inspired by Feed the Swimmers

  • 1 box banza pasta or other pasta (shape of your choice, but I love fusili)

  • 2 small heads of cauliflower- one will be chopped and then roasted; one will be steamed whole

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 small bunch lacinto kale or other green of your choice, sliced into small strips

  • 2 leeks, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese (if you are not a fan of cottage cheese and don’t care about the boost of protein from this, ricotta would work well in this and would be more traditional! I would probably do ricotta if cooking this for guests rather than myself/Matt)

  • 1 cup nut milk (I used unsweetened cashew milk) (you could also do regular milk, but I’d choose something that is at least 2% fat or higher)

  • 1 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used a combination of mozzarella and gruyere)

  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan

Preheat oven to 375. Chop one of the cauliflower heads into bite size florets. Toss them in some oil and sea salt and pepper and spread on a baking sheet to roast. Roast in oven until brown, about 25-30 minutes on the bottom rack (at 20 minutes, do a quick check and move around the cauliflower on the sheet).

Take the other cauliflower head to steam. You can do whatever steaming method you like, but I decided to steam the whole head cauliflower in instant pot. It was quick and I didn’t have to cut it beforehand! To do this, place cauliflower on a steamer basket and add 1 cup water to the instant pot. Cook at high pressure for 1 min and do a quick release- it is super important to do a quick release or it will overcook (I’ve learned the hard way).

Meanwhile, cook pasta (according to directions)- on the al dente side!

Once cauliflower is steamed and slightly cooled, tear off cauliflower into florets and puree cauliflower (one head was about 1 pound 9 ounces, cooked with leaves removed), cottage cheese, and nut milk together into a blender until smooth.

In a medium dutch onion, saute onion, leeks, and kale with garlic until onion is translucent and just beginning to brown. Pour in cauliflower puree. Season and stir to combine. Add in pasta and half of the cheese. Top with remaining cheese and bake in oven, uncovered, until all liquid has evaporated and cheese is melted and bubbling, about 25 minutes.

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