All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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OK – this has to be one of the greatest Goddamn things ever! I cannot recommend highly enough that you try this. You can leave out the white beans (which I added for texture & fiber content) if you are serious about dodging carbs or make it with pasta instead of cauliflower if you are carbo-loading for a marathon – or do part cauliflower & part pasta. You could add black beans or corn or garbanzo beans or diced tomato – or avocado after it is baked as a garnish. So many options. I made this up out of my head with ingredients on hand. My version used 1 cup heavy cream & 1 cup water because I didn’t have milk. It came out a tad wetter than I expected – probably because cauliflower doesn’t absorb moisture the way pasta does – and I’d never attempted an all cauliflower mac & cheese before. If you like your mac & cheese (or your cheesy veggies) wet – this recipe is for you. If not either cut the milk by 1/2 or add another 1/2 cup each of the cheeses – or both. That should solve the problem. Or add a cup of cooked pasta. I feel very confident about this recipe & that you will enjoy it – wet or dry. And, though I haven’t confirmed this yet, I bet it is better the next day. It could be made vegan by simply using the vegan alternatives to the dairy in the recipe. This recipe is pretty spicy so – adjust the chipotle & jalapeno, if you are sensitive to heat.
LOW CARB Chipotle Cauliflower “No-Mac” & Cheese with White Beans
1 large head cauliflower – cut into but sized florets (I did the cutting after it was cooked & cooled)
1 can white beans
4 TBS butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 cups milk (or 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup water) – or less for a dryer result
5 chipotle peppers & their adobo sauce – diced
1 jalapeno – seeded & diced (optional)
1 red (or green) serrano pepper – seeded & diced (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro – chopped
1 cup quality cheddar (I used Kerrygold Reserved Cheddar) – or 1/2 cup more more for a cheesier result
1 cup quality pepper jack cheese (I used Tillamook Pepper Jack) – or 1/2 cup more for a cheesier result
S&P to taste
1/2 cup Panko or other bread crumbs
1/2 cup additional grated cheese to top the casserole
Additional cilantro for garnish
Pre-heat the over to 350.
Boil water & add the cauliflower to it. Boil about 6-7 minutes. Drain & rinse under cool water. Drain the beans & add to the cauliflower. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour & whisk continuously so i doesn’t burn. It should brown just a bit. Add garlic powder, smoked paprika & slowly whisk in the milk – allowing the sauce to thicken. Add chipotle & sauce & cilantro & jalapeno & serrano peppers (if using). Raise heat to medium-high & simmer about 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the cheeses in increments, allowing it all to melt without clumping. If it gets too thick, add water or a little milk.
Add the white beans & cauliflower florets & stir to coat.
Grease a casserole pan or other baking dish. Top with additional grated cheese & bread crumbs. Put the cheesy cauliflower in it, top with additional grated cheese & bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until the sides are bubbling & the bread crumbs are browned. Remove from heat & let rest at least 5 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional fresh cilantro.