Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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This Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese has lots of tangy roasted cauliflower, a velvety cheese sauce and a sprinkle of toasted breadcrumbs. So simple and so good.

For those days when you crave a bowl of veggie pasta that feels like a big comforting hug. ♡

This roasted cauliflower mac and cheese recipe has been one of our family’s favorite weeknight recipes this winter. It contains more than twice as much cauliflower as pasta, which is tossed with a simple garlic and paprika seasoning mix and roasted until tender and caramelized. The cauliflower and pasta are then tossed with the coziest cheese sauce, sprinkled with a rain of toasted breadcrumbs and baked until perfectly creamy, crispy and fluffy. And on cold winter days, I tell you, a hot, cheesy serving served fresh from the pan is guaranteed to warm you up.

Like most of my macaroni and cheese recipes, this recipe is very flexible if you want to add extra veggies, greens, or protein into the mix. There are a number of different directions you can go for the types of cheeses and seasonings used, as well as options to make the whole recipe gluten-free, so feel free to play around with the recipe and make it your own.

Let’s do this.

Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Ingredients

Before we move on to the full recipe below, here are some notes on the ingredients you’ll need to make this Roasted Cauliflower Mac and Cheese…

  • Pasta: Feel free to use traditional macaroni elbows, shells, or whatever pasta shape you like best.
  • Cauliflower: You will need a large cauliflower, which we will cut into florets.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: I recommend toasting the breadcrumbs briefly before adding them to the mac and cheese to bring out their best texture and flavor.
  • Cheeses: I recommend using sharp cheddar and/or gruyere cheese as the base for the cheese sauce. Then we’ll also add Parmesan for those salty, nutty, and umami notes.
  • Olive oil and butter: We will use olive oil to roast the cauliflower and butter to form the roux for the cheese sauce.
  • Whole milk : I usually use whole cow’s milk as the base for the macaroni and cheese sauce, but you can substitute a plain plant milk (like oat milk) if you prefer.
  • Plain flour: We are going to use flour to form a roux and thicken the cheese sauce.
  • Garlic: I also like to add a generous amount of garlic to season the cheese sauce.
  • Seasonings: I used a simple combination of smoked paprika, garlic powder, fine sea salt, black pepper to season the cauliflower. But feel free to experiment with your favorite seasonings here!
  • Garnish: A sprinkle of fresh chives or parsley adds a nice splash of color and freshness to this dish.

Toast breadcrumbs, roast cauliflower, make cheese sauce, mix it all up for Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Potential Revenue Variations

This roasted cauliflower macaroni and cheese recipe is quite flexible, so feel free to adjust the

  • Add/swap vegetables: We also made this recipe using roasted broccoli instead of cauliflower and it was delicious. That said, you can also roast any other vegetables you like with the cauliflower, such as roasted Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, peppers, etc. (If you add additional vegetables, you’ll need to use less cauliflower.)
  • Add greens: Feel free to also add fresh baby spinach to the cheese sauce to add greens.
  • Add a protein: Bacon, Italian sausage, or chicken would all be delicious options if you want to add some extra protein to this recipe.
  • Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free pasta and an SG all-purpose flour mix to make this recipe gluten-free.
  • Make it spicy: Toss a generous pinch of crushed red pepper flakes into the cheese sauce if you want to add a little heat.

closeup of macaroni and cheese and roasted cauliflower in pan

More Favorite Mac and Cheese Recipes

Looking for more cozy vegetarian mac and cheese recipes to try? Here are some of my favorites…

Mac and cheese and roasted cauliflower in a bowl with a fork


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The description

This roasted cauliflower mac and cheese recipe features a generous amount of tangy roasted cauliflower, the coziest cheese sauce, and a sprinkle of crispy toasted breadcrumbs.

Roasted cauliflower:

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 3 pounds before chopping), cut into florets
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Mac and Cheese Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 12 ounces uncooked pasta (I used shells)
  • 3 tablespoons Butter
  • 3 large garlic cloves, pressed or finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 8 ounces freshly grated strong cheddar or gruyère cheese
  • 1 ounce freshly grated parmesan
  • (optional) chopped fresh chives or parsley, for garnish

  1. Roast the cauliflower. Heat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Arrange the cauliflower florets in an even layer on a large baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with olive oil, then evenly sprinkle the smoked paprika, garlic powder and a generous pinch of salt and pepper over the cauliflower. Stir briefly to combine. Spread the cauliflower into an even layer and bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly toasted around the edges. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside, leaving the oven on.
  2. Toast the breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, while the cauliflower roasts, grill the Panko by cooking in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes) . Transfer the breadcrumbs to a separate bowl and briefly wipe the pot clean.
  3. Cook the pasta. Fill the same pot with water and bring to a boil. Generously salt the water, add the pasta, then cook until tender. fair reached al dente. (Try to avoid overcooking the pasta as it will cook a little longer in the oven.) Drain the pasta, return it to the pot and set it aside.
  4. Prepare the cheese sauce. Meanwhile, while preparing the pasta, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add flour and whisk to combine until smooth. Gradually add milk and whisk until combined and smooth. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens and almost reached a shudder. Add the cheeses plus a few twists of freshly cracked black pepper and stir to combine. Continue cooking 2 to 3 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth.
  5. Mix and cook. Pour the sauce into the pot with the cooked pasta, add the roasted cauliflower and gently stir the mixture until combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 inch baking dish, spread it into an even layer and evenly sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs on top. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes.
  6. To serve. Remove from oven and sprinkle with desired topping. Serve immediately while hot and melting… and enjoy!

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