As some of you know, my cookbook, Natural Pregnancy Cookbook, was recently released. The follow up book, which is due to be released next month, is called Natural Baby Food. I’m really excited about this project because it features over 125 nutritious recipes for babies and toddlers. And the last section in the book includes easy dishes that the whole family can enjoy together. While I was writing the book, I got to test many of the recipes on my own daughter Sienna!
brainstorming ideas for this book, I just knew I had to include a macaroni and cheese recipe. I mean, what kid doesn’t like mac and cheese? It definitely was my favorite dish growing up. But I wanted to add something to up the nutrition of the dish. One simple substitution I made was to use whole grain pasta instead of traditional pasta. You should aim to make half of all the grains you (and your little ones) eat be whole grains. The second change I made was to include cauliflower in the dish. Cauliflower is packed with powerful antioxidants as well as fiber, protein and an impressive array of
vitamins and minerals. Broccoli was the first vegetable that popped into my head but a lot of kids will revolt at the site of those green trees. Cauliflower has similar health benefits as broccoli and it has a mild flavor. And when you roast it in the oven, it gets nicely caramelized and crispy on the edges.
Overall, this recipe was approved by all of the mamas in the group- yay! Some of the feedback was
that the cheese may have been a little strong for their little ones. If that’s the case, you may want to start with a mild cheddar or even Monterey Jack (or a mixture). Either choice would be a healthier option than using processed cheese.
Mac and Cheese with Roasted Cauliflower
- 3 cups small cauliflower florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni, preferably whole grain
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups milk*
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 5 ounces (about 2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese*
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place the cauliflower florets on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss the florets with the oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until edges are browned and cauliflower is cooked, 15-18 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk until a smooth paste forms. Cook a minutes until the paste is a light tan. Whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking often, until a smooth sauce forms. Whisk in the mustard and ½ teaspoon salt. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes until it is thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheese until fully melted.
- Add the cooked macaroni and roasted cauliflower to the sauce and stir to combine well.
good morning Sonali and I can tell you that I am making this tonight because my husband is a big baby at heart and he will love this lol xoxo
Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies says
My husband is never thrilled when I try to get more cauliflower in our meals, but I know with this recipe he will be asking for more!
I hope so! Thanks 🙂
Sarah Grace Spann says
Wow I've seen Mac n cheese with squashes, but never caulifower! Love the uniqueness Sonali!
Ummm, yes please! This looks amazing! <3 (That's awesome that you got to taste-test a ton of recipes on your daughter! 😛 Kid-approved!) I actually thought I hated mac n' cheese for the longest time, but I'm glad I finally saw the light. (As it turns out, there are just certain types of cheese that I despise. :O )
Those sweet potato pancakes sound delicious too! <3
Thank goodness you changed your ways about mac n' cheese otherwise I don't think we could be friends, lol!! Thanks so much Farrah 🙂
Mira Cookinglsl says
Love how healthy and delicious this mac and cheese is! Congrats on the book, can't wait to get it, even though I don't have kids yet!
Thanks Mira! That's so sweet 🙂
Katie's Cucina says
So exciting about your book! I can't wait to try these recipes on my picky toddler! This mac & cheese looks divine and I bet tastes amazing!
Thanks so much Katie! I hope your toddler loves them. Any feedback is much appreciated!
Ben Maclain says
I just couldn't miss this luscious scrumptious pasta. Love the addition of cauliflower - it smoothes out quite a distinctive cheddar's flavor and i introduces a lovely texture. Well done, Sonali!
Happy New Year Ben! Thanks so much for stopping by!
GiGi Eats Celebrities says
Roasted Cauliflower is SOOOO GOOD!!! My fiance... Ohhh weird to say that, but I LOVE IT... Made some at XMAS and um, I ate the whole platter - SO DANG GOOD. He will be making it all the damn time when we are married! ALL THE DAMN TIME. Hope he knows this 😉
CONGRATS!!! That's awesome! And yes, put him to work- it's never too early!!
Tara Rochford says
The little girl I nanny would LOVE this!
Yay! That makes me so happy to hear 🙂
Rebecca Pytell says
The greatest childhood classic!
Shashi at RunninSrilankan says
Wow - Sonali you re such an inspiration - congrats on your next book - cannot wait to see it!
BTW - love the cauliflower in this - delightful!
Thanks so much Shashi!!
Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes says
The sharper the cheese the better for my daughters. They would gobble this up. And they adore roasted veggies.
Your girls have very sophisticated palates! Thanks Katie 🙂
Jessica Levinson says
Looks delish Sonali! I love that you keep the cauliflower whole, although I find that some kids will shy away from it at the site of the whole vegetable, so I've pureed cauliflower and added it to cheese sauces to get the veggie in. I let the kids know it's in there - I'm not into sneaking veggies into the diet! Congrats on the new cookbook - can't wait to see it!
Thanks Jessica! I totally agree with everything you wrote. I'm not a fan of sneaking in veggies either, but I have to admit I've been guilty of doing it now and then. Desperate times call for desperate measures 🙂
This looks delightful! Perfect for a chilly night.
Elizabeth Shaw says
This looks fantastic Sonali! I can't wait to see their feedback! I'm sure it's going to be delicious!
Thanks so much Liz!
Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl says
This is great! My fiance LOVES mac & cheese, and I would love seeing him eat it with some added nutrients, like cauli!
That's great! I hope you guys like it if you try it 🙂
athletic avocado says
I love the addition of cauliflower for extra nutrition! yum!
Lauren @ Eating with a Purpose says
So excited about your next book! As a pediatric RD this will be a wonderful resource for Moms!
Thanks Lauren! I can't wait to share it with you!