GF Friday: Cauliflower "mac" and cheese with spinach and bacon

Feb 6, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. ET

Mac and cheese, hold the mac? Yes, definitely! Replace the macaroni with cauliflower in this cheesy, gooey dish. The added spinach and bacon round things out for full-on flavor.

Dig in to cauliflower "mac" and cheese with spinach and bacon

I think you'll be over the moon with this classic-dish-with-a-twist. For a GF Friday (and pretty much any other day), it's the perfect meal. I've swapped cauliflower for the macaroni you'd normally find in this dish.

Serve up this classic-dish-with-a-twist: Cauliflower "mac" and cheese with spinach and bacon

You won't believe how easy this is to make or how creamy and cheesy it is when you dig in. Not only does the spinach add color, but it's a nice boost to the veggie quotient for your meal too. Do I have to tell you the bacon just makes things, well, fabulous?

Cauliflower "mac" and cheese with spinach and bacon recipe

You won't miss the macaroni in this creamy dish. Cauliflower offers a great, gluten-free option in this comforting classic.

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 23 minutes | Total time: 33 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 large head cauliflower, stems trimmed, cut into small florets
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus extra to sprinkle on top
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 strips cooked bacon, crumbled
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. To a large pot, add enough water to cover the cauliflower. Bring the water to a boil, then add the cauliflower, and boil it for 5 minutes.
  2. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Drain the cauliflower, and set it aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 4 (6 ounce) ramekins with the cooking spray, and place them onto a baking sheet. Set aside.
  4. To a large skillet over medium heat, add the butter. When the butter melts, add the flour to the skillet, and whisk it for about a minute.
  5. Add the milk, reserved cooking water, garlic, dried mustard, salt and black pepper to the skillet. Cook for about 5 minutes, whisking constantly, or until the sauce thickens.
  6. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the cheese to the skillet, and stir until completely melted.
  7. Add the spinach to the skillet, and toss to combine. The spinach will wilt. Fold in the cauliflower, and mix until combined.
  8. Add the bacon crumbles, and mix to combine.
  9. Evenly divide the mixture among the 4 ramekins. Place the baking sheet into the oven, and bake for about 15 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the top of each ramekin, and place under the broiler for just a minute or so, until the mixture bubbles and turns golden.
  11. Remove from the oven, and let cool slightly.
  12. Serve warm.

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Pumpkin-chai muffins with vanilla glaze and maple-coated almonds

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