Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is epitome of cheesy, delicious comfort food made healthier using cauliflower in place of half of the pasta…all in under 30 minutes! Thank you to Pompeian for sponsoring this post for what’s #TrendingintheKitchen.

Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese |

One of our weeknight staples is a simple, from scratch stove top mac and cheese recipe. It is hearty, easy to make, always delicious and oh so comforting. We enjoy this recipe often as-is, however I am always inspired by the latest food trends to make recipes healthier.

For the latest version, cauliflower came to mind. Cauliflower recipes are all the rage these days, given its versatility. Plus it goes great with cheese! But since I cook for the toughest critics (my kids!), I first floated the idea past my 7 year old. He thought Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese sounded really, really, really (REALLY) good! 

Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese |

While my kids were on board, I will best honest – I was still a bit skeptical. Prior to this recipe, I thought I didn’t like cauliflower.  When I tried it in the past, either the texture was off or I just didn’t like the taste. But I have seen so many lightened up recipes using cauliflower (and after the enthusiastic response from my kids!), I was inspired to give it a try. Turns out, I was just eating cauliflower in the wrong dishes. This Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese recipe is so tasty, it has turned me into a cauliflower fanatic!

Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese |

For the macaroni and cheese portion of the of the recipe, I followed my basic stove top mac and cheese recipe, except reduced the pasta by half. For the cauliflower, first I sauteed diced onions in olive oil. I used Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which has a delicate flavor that is perfect for sauteing. Pompeian’s Smooth (and Robust) Extra Virgin Olive Oils undergo frequent and rigorous testing to ensure a quality product in every bottle.

Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese |

Once the onions are softened, add garlic, stir in steamed cauliflower and add a splash of Pompeian Organic Balsamic Vinegar. Let the cauliflower mixture sit on low while finishing the rest of the mac and cheese recipe. At the end, simply stir the cauliflower mixture into the mac and cheese and enjoy!

Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese |

As a result, I was able substitute half of the pasta with cauliflower, reducing calories and carbs, while contributing more flavor and nutrition to classic comfort food…all made in under 30 minutes!

Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Yields: 6 servings
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 tablespoon Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6 ounces elbow macaroni (or any short pasta)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1 (12-ounce) can fat free evaporated milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  1. STEAM CAULIFLOWER: place cauliflower florets in a microwavable bowl with 1 tablespoon water. Cook on high in microwave for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tender. (Note: cook time may vary depending on your microwave)
  2. Heat Pompeian Smooth Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add onions and cook until softened (5 to 7 minutes). Reduce heat to medium, add garlic during last minute and cook until fragrant. Stir in cauliflower and balsamic vinegar, reduce heat to low.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large sauce pan, cook pasta according to package directions, drain and put back in the sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add cheese and milk, stirring frequently, until smooth and then quickly stir in egg. Last, add cauliflower mixture, stirring to combine and serve!

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Stove Top Cauliflower Mac and Cheese |

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Pompeian. All opinions are my own.


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  1. This looks fantastic! Total comfort food!

  2. What a great way to sneak some veggies into an old favorite. Yum!