January 27, 2014 posted by dre

cauliflower no-mac & cheese {gluten-free!}

it’s everything you love about creamy homemade mac & cheese… except the carbs!  this version is just as cheesy, loaded with lean protein, and it’s gluten free!  oh yeahhhh!!

cauliflower-turkey no-mac & cheese

mac & cheese.  the ultimate comfort food… not so much the ultimate diet food.  this recipe is the perfect combination of both worlds. a cheesy gluten-free dish packed with lean ground turkey and loaded with veggies, you don’t even miss the pasta! totally satisfying…down to the last bite i could stuff in my mouth. i couldn’t even finish my entire bowl (which is quite a rare occurrence)!

aside from being low carb and totally gluten free, this dish is also packed full of protein!  lean, muscle building protein. personal-trainer-approved mac & cheese… sign me upppp! :)

however, this recipe idea actually came about the opposite way… a friend (and training-client) of mine told me about something similar she tried while on vacation.  i was totally intrigued.  after doing a little research, all the recipes i found were lacking the right amount of protein to be considered a complete & balanced meal.  enter ground turkey.  a few other modifications to this recipe, and it was perfect!

cauliflower-turkey no-mac & cheese

the key to making creamy homemade mac & cheese is in the sauce. i used a blend of american, cheddar, and swiss along with nutritional yeast, which makes it extra cheesy tasting!  i used coconut flour as a thickener.  if you don’t have coconut flour, i tested it with brown rice flour as well and it worked perfectly fine.  if keeping it gluten-free isn’t a big deal to you, you are more than welcome to use regular flour.  however, i don’t think a denser flour (such as almond flour) would work quite the same.  stirring the cheese sauce until it thickens up (only about 7-10 min) is the hardest part to this recipe.  after that, the oven does all the work for you! :) are you convinced yet?

the baked crispy topping is really just indulgent.  it’s a combination of grated parmesan cheese and ground flaxseed.  it’s like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae… it’s perfectly delicious without it, but it just gives it that homemade baked mac & cheese feeling! so if you’re strapped for time–or super hungry, feel free to skip the topping and baking part. you’ll feel just as satisfied.

cauliflower-turkey no-mac & cheese

this recipe easily serves an entire family… i’d say 4 adults or 2 adults and 4 children.  it’s a filling, satisfying dish that will not leave you hungry!

no-mac & cheese cauliflower-turkey bake {gluten-free!}

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 4 (adult-sized) servings

no-mac & cheese cauliflower-turkey bake {gluten-free!}


  • 6 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbsp organic, grass-fed butter
  • 3 tbsp coconut flour (or brown-rice flour to keep it gluten free)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup cooking liquid reserved from cauliflower
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed & minced
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded american cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
  • (any 1.5 cup combination of shredded cheese is fine)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups (about 8 oz) cooked lean ground turkey meat
  • for gluten free "bread crumb" topping
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds


  1. preheat oven to 350°.
  2. bring large pot of water to a boil. add cauliflower florets, and boil about 5-7 minutes, or until just tender.
  3. meanwhile, mix together 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp ground flaxseed. set aside.
  4. drain cauliflower, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid, and set aside.
  5. melt butter in same pot over medium heat. whisk in garlic, almond milk, cooking liquid, and flour, stirring constantly.
  6. cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, whisking constantly.
  7. leave pot on the heat source, but turn off burner and stir in cheese, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, and egg yolk until cheese is melted.
  8. mix in cooked ground turkey. fold in cauliflower.
  9. spoon mixture into oven safe individual serving ramekins or coat 13- x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread cauliflower mixture in baking dish.
  10. top with parmesan cheese mixture and bake 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
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  • This looks very good and I am sure would taste great as well :)
    IshitaUnblogged recently posted…For The Love Of Galouti Kababs, Here’s The Royal Recipe | Ananta, Oberoi DubaiMy Profile

  • This sounds delicious! We used to make a sort of cauliflower stir-fry with heavy cream and cheese in my house, I’m thinking this recipe would bring back those childhood memories! I was just wondering what the nutritional yeast is for?
    Camille @Mylittlejarofspices recently posted…Roasted Broccoli Tuna SaladMy Profile

    • camille–yum! a cauli-stir fry sounds delicious!! the nutritional yeast really adds to the cheesiness! plus it’s packed with lots of good nutrients! :)

  • Dre
    Being a BIG fan of mac and cheese, (you know what they say, run fasta, eat pasta, LOL), this recipe is a great alternative. The cheese still provides the protein only without the carbs! And besides, I really like cauliflower too, so this is a win-win for me. Thanks for the post and the recipe!
    Irving recently posted…What Is Somanabolic Muscle Maximizer?My Profile

    • haha!! i did not know that’s what they say…but that’s funny!! :) i guess this recipe is perfect for non-runners (like meeee)! lol! thanks for the laugh irving! :)

      you may want to check out my loaded baked potato soup too… made with cauliflower!! one of my faves! :)

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