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buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese in a baking dish with a spoon

Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Incredible buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese made with sharp cheddar, your favorite buffalo sauce and a boost of veggies from roasted cauliflower. This easy buffalo mac and cheese with cauliflower is baked to perfection with a crumbly topping and will be a family favorite!

Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword buffalo cauliflower mac and cheese, buffalo mac and cheese
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 442 kcal
Author Monique Volz of AmbitiousKitchen.com

Ingredients

  • For the cauliflower:
  • 4-6 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil
  • Freshly ground salt and pepper
  • For the mac and cheese:
  • 8 ounces dry pasta shells or cavatappi (or any pasta you’d like, gluten free if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour (or sub whole wheat or GF all purpose flour)
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 3/4 cups unsweetened cashew milk, almond milk or regular milk
  • 6 oz sharp cheddar cheese (about 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese)
  • ½ cup medium to hot buffalo sauce
  • For topping:
  • 2 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded and reserved for the topping (or about ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese)
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • To garnish:
  • Green onion, (green part only)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Add cauliflower, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well to coat the cauliflower in the oil. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until tender and slightly golden, flipping cauliflower halfway through cooking. Keep heat in the oven.
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking you can boil your noodles and make the sauce: boil the noodles in a large pot until al dente, according to the directions on the package. Once done cooking, drain and return noodles to the large pot.
  3. While the noodles are boiling, make your mac and cheese sauce: in a large skillet, add butter and place over medium heat. Once butter is melted, whisk in a little bit of the flour and then slowly add in milk, a little bit at a time, alternating with the flour and vigorously whisking away any lumps. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes stirring every so often, until the sauce thickens up a bit. Stir in garlic powder, onion powder, salt and LOTS of freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Next add in 6 ounces (or about 1 ½ cups) of shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the sauce and stir until completely melted. Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles, then add in buffalo sauce. Stir to completely coat the noodles, then add in your roasted cauliflower and stir again.
  5. Spray a 2-quart baking dish or 9x9 inch or 11x7 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray, or grease with olive oil or butter. Pour in the cauliflower mac and cheese and spread out. Top with remaining ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese if you like extra cheesiness!
  6. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with melted butter. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture on top of casserole and bake for 25 minutes or until breadcrumbs are golden brown. Serves 6.

Recipe Notes

I typically make this with unsweetened almond or cashew milk because we don't buy regular milk. However you can use whatever milk you'd like. If you want a richer mac and cheese, use 2% or whole milk.

I recommend shredding your own cheese from a block of cheese. It generally melts better.

For a heartier option, feel free to add in shredded or cubed cooked chicken breast before baking the mac and cheese!

Nutrition Facts
Buffalo Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
Amount Per Serving (1 serving (based on 6))
Calories 442 Calories from Fat 202
% Daily Value*
Fat 22.4g34%
Saturated Fat 12g75%
Carbohydrates 44.7g15%
Fiber 3.7g15%
Sugar 2.8g3%
Protein 15.9g32%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.