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!!
it’s week 27 of baby cookin’ and little judah is the size of a cauliflower. after driving 15 hours from michigan to texas yesterday, we are finally home sweet home. holiday craziness is almost over… just in time for baby preparation craziness to start.
after eating waaayyyy too much of this over the past week, today’s recipe is the perfect combination of “i can’t wait to start my new-year’s diet” — mixed with creamy, delicious comfort food.
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. cauliflower mac and cheese? 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 plus a few other modifications to this recipe, and it was perfect!
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.
this recipe easily serves an entire family… i’d say 4 adults or 2 adults and 4 children. it’s a filling, complete meal that will not leave you hungry!
or try another variation of n0-mac & cheese… made with spaghetti squash!
- 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
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
- preheat oven to 350°. bring large pot of water to a boil. add cauliflower florets, and boil about 5-7 minutes, or until just tender.
- meanwhile, mix together 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and 2 tbsp ground flaxseed. set aside.
- drain cauliflower, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid, and set aside.
- melt butter in same pot over medium heat. whisk in garlic, almond milk, cooking liquid, and flour, stirring constantly. cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, whisking constantly.
- 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. mix in cooked ground turkey. fold in cauliflower.
- 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.
- top with parmesan cheese mixture and bake 30 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
**if this recipe looks familiar, you’re not crazy… it is a re-post from a recipe i posted last year but got erased and was never restored–until now. if you’ve been missing this recipe… i’m sorry. it’s now back for good!! :)
I don’t usually comment but I gotta admit thanks for the post on this special
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