Living in a foreign country is an amazing experience, and I’m so thankful to be living in a country with one of the best cuisines in the world! Sometimes, though, comfort food is necessary. Macaroni and cheese has been my favorite food since I was about 3 years old, but unfortunately my body doesn’t burn it off quite like it used to! That’s why I decided to jump on the cauliflower bandwagon and try this healthified version of mac and cheese.
It’s hard to find all of the ingredients in Paris to make my favorite southern recipes, but I’ve learned to stock up whenever I have the opportunity. When I first saw that Monoprix sells cheddar cheese, I had to buy a block RIGHT THEN (at 5x the price of cheddar in the U.S., naturally). I may have been a little overenthusiastic, as I had a lot of cheese left over. I tried freezing it, which actually turned out ok. I used the frozen (thawed first in the refrigerator) cheese for this recipe and wasn’t disappointed at all.
I saw a simple recipe for cauliflower macaroni and cheese on the BBC good food website, but it seemed a little bland for my tastes. I decided to vamp it up and make a southwest macaroni and cheese by adding some spices, tomato, and green chillies. I bet onion and other peppers would be great in this, too! My recipe could be even lower calorie with reduced-fat cheese and bread crumbs, but even with the full fat version it isn’t “bad” and is DELICIOUS!
Healthy southwest macaroni and cheese with cauliflower
Recipe modified from BBC:
– 125 grams whole wheat macaroni
– 500 grams frozen cauliflower florets
– 1 small tomato, diced
– 2 tablespoons canned green chilies
– 10 grams butter
– 1 tablespoon flour
– 200 ml skim milk
– 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– Pinch of garlic powder
– Pinch of dried parsley
– Pinch dried chives
– Salt, pepper
– 100 grams cheddar cheese, shredded
– 10 grams bread crumbs
1. Preheat oven to 200 C/390 F.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add frozen cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Add macaroni to pot and cook for another 6 minutes (adapt according to package directions).
4. Drain the cauliflower and macaroni. Use a knife or fork to break the cauliflower florets in to smaller pieces.
5. Mix the macaroni and cauliflower with tomatoes and green chilies. Pour into a non-greased baking dish.
6. Heat the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour gradually, stirring constantly.
7. Slowly add the milk to make the sauce. Add 3/4 of the cheese and continue stirring until cheese is completely melted. Add spices.
8. Once cheese is completely melted and the sauce is smooth, pour over the macaroni/cauliflower mixture.
9. Top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs.
10. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until bubbling.
Note: I sprayed my breadcrumbs with fat-free cooking spray before putting the dish in the oven.
Calories per serving: 250*
*Calorie count will vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
Southern comfort food may be delicious, but I can’t exactly argue with my French friends who tell me that the presentation leaves something to be desired…