Cauliflower Cheese Mac and Cheese

Creamy cauliflower and cashew cheese tossed with nutrient dense chickpea shells and topped with cheddar. Baked in the oven until bubbly and delish.

This recipe is , with main ingredient
mac and cheese

Here’s another easy recipe from our new semi-homemade 5 ingredient cookbook. The cheese sauce is made from cauliflower and cashews, but it’s so silky and rich, no one will know the difference.

This is serious comfort food done with great ingredients and easy enough that anyone can make it. Once you try this recipe, make sure to try my 5 ingredient hot cocoa.

How To Make Mac And Cheese With Cauliflower

To make the cauliflower cheese sauce, boil the florets from half a head of cauliflower with 1 heaping cup of cashews for 10 minutes. Make sure not to boil too long or the cauliflower gets too mushy.

Save the boiling liquid to cook the pasta and blend the cauliflower and cashews with olive oil, lemon zest and juice, parmesan, and some of the reserved cooking water. Keep adding enough water to make the consistency the same as a runny cheese sauce and check for seasoning.

Combine the cheese sauce with the cooked chickpea pasta shells and make sure to save some of the pasta water. Add enough water to the pasta mixture to make it loose and a bit watery, that way the mac and cheese won;t get dry in the oven.

Transfer to a baking dish, add a splash more water, top with cheddar, and bake for 30 minutes at 400F. Remove foil and broil for a few minutes until golden brown and bubbly on top.

macaroni and cheese
Macaroni and Cheese

Can I Make Cheese Sauce With Cauliflower?

It’s very easy to make a real deal cheese sauce with cauliflower, and it tastes like the real deal! You will need half a large head of cauliflower, and cut into large bite size pieces, trying not to use too much of the stalk.

It helps if you soak the cashews in water for a couple hours, but certainly not necessary. The key to making the cauliflower cheese sauce rich and smooth is saving some of the boiling water. Once you blend everything the texture will be too thick, you will need to add enough boiling water to make the consistency smooth and creamy, like a cheese sauce.

Can I Use Nutritional Yeast To Make Mac And Cheese?

You can easily make this recipe vegan by swapping the cheese for nutritional yeast. The call that stuff vegan parmesan because it has a salt and nutty flavor. Add 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the cauliflower cheese sauce and blend well.

The key is checking for seasoning and adding more if necessary. To keep this recipe vegan, top the mac and cheese with my favorite plant based cheese, either miyokoks or violife, and then bake in the oven just like the recipe says.

Make sure to try my other comfort food recipes:

mac and cheese

Mac and Cheese

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: mac & cheese, mac and cheese, macaroni and cheese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 5 people
Calories: 500 kcal
Author: Bobby Parrish

Cauliflower cheese macaroni and cheese made with nutrient dense chickpea past shells.



  • ½ large head of cauliflower
  • 1 heaping cup raw cashews
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • lemon juice
  • 12 ounces pasta shells
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese freshly grated


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and bring a medium size pot of water to a boil. Cut the cauliflower into large bite-size florets and season the boiling water with 1 tablespoon of salt. Boil the cashews and cauliflower until the florets are soft, but not extremely mushy, about 8-10 minutes.
  2. Save 1 cup of the cooking liquid, drain the cashews and cauliflower, and place them in a blender. Add ½ teaspoon of salt to the blender along with a few cracks of pepper, 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil, ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 cup grated cheddar cheese, 1 teaspoons lemon juice, and ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Blend on high until very smooth. You will most likely need to add another ¼ cup of cooking liquid to loosen the sauce, maybe more. Check for seasoning as you may need more lemon juice or salt. Set aside.

  3. Meanwhile, boil some water for the pasta shells and cook according to the box instructions. Save 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the pasta shells together with all of the cheese sauce and ¾ cup of reserved cooking water. Mix well and transfer to an 8x10-inch baking dish. If the mixture still looks dry, add another splash of water. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 1 cup cheddar cheese. Broil for a few minutes until the cheese is melted, but don’t walk away!


  5. Allow to cool a couple of minutes,then enjoy!

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 500 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Carbohydrates 70g23%
Fiber 13g54%
Protein 30g60%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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