Not Mac n’ Cheese

Servings: 8 Prep: 15 mins Cook: 30 mins Total: 45 mins

This recipe is a bit of an odd one for me, in that it appears to embody some level of growth on my part. The inception of the idea came from a request for more “kid friendly” recipes. As a big kid myself, I LOVE macaroni and cheese. I assume most ALL kids do!

This is not Macaroni and Cheese.

My plan had been to use Dreamfield’s Pasta when I decided to add a Mac ‘n Cheese recipe to my website. However, I’m fresh off of reading “Wheat Belly” and currently of the mindset that pretty much anything “wheat” is bad and evil. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably regress at some point, but, as of this writing, I’m trying to steer clear of grains (tasty, tasty grains).

So, this recipe is Mac n’ Cheese, but … with cauliflower nibblets, instead!

Truth be told, when all is said and done, and I had a big plate of this sitting in front of me… it was delicious! I didn’t mind giving up the pasta, one iota!

Pasta Note: If you wanted to use Pasta, you absolutely could. To use pasta, you would pre-cook the pasta, but cook it about half as long as it states on the box. It will continue to cook, as it’s baked.

Smoky Note: I’m a big fan of smoky flavors, but recognize not everyone is. I suggest two smoked cheeses in the ingredients. Smoked cheeses are optional. Substitute one, or both, with un-smoked cheeses and the end result will STILL be tasty!

2019 Keto Bundle

Not Mac n' Cheese
Net Carbs
1 head (840g) large cauliflower, stem/leaves removed and cut into small florets
1/2 cup (119g) cream, heavy whipping
1 tbsp (15g) dijon mustard
4 each (12g) garlic clove, minced
8 ounces (227g) regular cream cheese (not low-fat), softened
1 1/2 cups (169.5g) smoked cheddar cheese, grated and divided
1 cups (132g) smoked provolone cheese, grated
2 tbsp (14g) hazelnut flour
salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Grand Totals (of 8 servings):
Totals Per Serving:
6.2 g

Not Mac n' Cheese

Not Mac n' Cheese

5 from 1 vote
Print Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Author: DJ Foodie


  • 1 head large cauliflower stem/leaves removed and cut into small florets
  • 1/2 cup cream heavy whipping
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 each garlic clove minced
  • 8 ounces regular cream cheese (not low-fat) softened
  • 1 1/2 cups smoked cheddar cheese grated and divided
  • 1 cups smoked provolone cheese grated
  • 2 tbsp hazelnut flour
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


  • Place a large pot full of water on the stove to boil.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 425 F.
  • Once your water is boiling, add a healthy amount of salt to the water.
  • Add your cauliflower florets to the water and simmer for about 3 minutes.
  • Strain the cauliflower, so that all the water is removed. Set aside.
  • Add your cream, mustard and garlic to a large sauce pan, over low heat.
  • Once it begins to simmer, whisk in your cream cheese. This will cool it down and stop it from simmering.
  • Let it come back up to a simmer. While it does, set aside 1/2 of a cup of your cheddar cheese.
  • Once the mixture is simmering, whisk the remaining 1 cup of cheddar and provolone into your hot cream cheese mixture. Taste, then adjust with a little salt and pepper.
  • Once the cheese is melted and a nice thick sauce has been created, add your cauliflower to the pan and mix, so that it is very well coated (this is the step where you would add your half cooked pasta).
  • Once the cauliflower is evenly coated with the cheese sauce, pour it into a greased baking pan. I used a 9 inch round ceramic pie pan, but a 9x13 casserole pan will work, as well. All we're really doing is browning the top. It's all already mostly cooked, at this point.
  • Dust the top of the cauliflower with the hazelnut flour and reserved cheddar cheese.
  • Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the top is nice and toasty brown.
  • Serve!

STANDARD FTC DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Please note, I only ever endorse products that are in alignment with my ideals and I believe would be of value to my readers.

* Learn More: More about this recipe and nutrition …

35 thoughts on “Not Mac n’ Cheese”

  1. What purpose does the hazelnut flour serve? I can not find that in our area. Can’t even find hazelnuts. Can you recommend a substitute if it is needed? I really like the way you have the weight in grams of the cauliflower. Many times recipes just call for a head of cauli and the weight really varies, which of course, changes the carb amounts. Thanks for another great looking recipe.

  2. Hi Jen, the hazelnut flour is totally optional. It’s more a nod to the breadcrumb topped and baked mac and cheeses that one might order at a restaurant. It’s intended to offer a little texture, but that’s about it. You could use almond flour, ground pork rinds, or just completely leave it out of the recipe. It’s far from mandatory. I’m glad you like the idea! Funnily enough, the gram weight is the magic that runs through the veins of my recipes. The USDA offers the nutrition for everything based off of 100 grams, right across the board. This is how I’m able to figure out the values for everything, but it’s based off of grams. Thus, I’m required, mathematically, to offer the gram weight for every ingredient! Be on the lookout, though … not all cauliflower are created equal. Some recipes I ask for little ones and others … big ones. Onions, too! Thanks for the comment!

  3. Ever since reading your post on Cauli-rice fried rice (which we have made, and LOVED) I am convinced that cauliflower can impersonate any carb – rice, potatoes, why not pasta?

  4. Just made this. Used cauliflower and leftover broccoli, and had some steak with it. It was wonderful! This will do doubt become a favorite in our house. Thank you!

  5. I made this tonight, except I replaced Miracle Noodles for the cauliflower. Oh my goodness, I have to start using mustard more in my recipes. So yummy! Thank you!

  6. I wonder if in place of the Hazelnut flour you could sprinkle ground pork rinds…Has anyone tried this? I always loved the crusty part of mac-n-cheese

  7. Hi Cyndy! I have not tried it with pork rinds. I’d bet it would work AND be tasty. However, I would warn you to watch it like a hawk. Pork rinds have virtually no moisture and are thin and delicate. My fear would be that they would burn quickly. If you watch it closely, I think that it will be fine. Just don’t walk away. Watch it to get a sense of how quickly they burn. I could be wrong, belief they’ll essentially fry themselves crispy, then burn. 425 isn’t TOO hot, though. I think it’ll be ok. Just watch it! Then, report back! (also almond meal works, too!) Thanks!

  8. I made this today, well, 1/4 size recipe because that’s how much cauliflower I had on hand. (Thank you for grams … since I have a good scale, it makes it easy to divide a recipe.) I had both cheeses, but neither in the smoked variety, so I added a dash of chipotle sauce. This is FABULOUS! I didn’t realize how much I missed mac & Cheese until I tried this. And it fits right in with my maintenance stage. I’ve been low carb for 15 years now. Thanks so much for his recipe.

  9. Ohhhh … a little smokey jalepeno. Nice addition! 🙂 Yep! The grams are how I track the nutrition. It locks my nutrition into place. All USDA nutrition measurements are based off of 100 gram weights. So volumetric measurements aren’t very accurate. Gram weight is precise! It’s a big pain to maintain, but I think it gives my recipes that little something extra! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it. It’s a good ‘un!

  10. Made this over the weekend, ridiculously delicious!!
    I used smoked gouda and a sharp provolone. WOW!
    Will definitely make again.

  11. Kelly, that sounds … DEEEEELICIOUS!!! I love throwing in smoked cheeses or stronger flavored cheeses. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Made it last night ? delicious! I didn?t have smoky cheeses on hand but sharp white cheddar & provolone were amazing. And I just have to share?
    I picked up a head of cauliflower the other day and it had been patiently waiting in my fridge for me to decide how to use it?yesterday I was reaching in for something else and there it was looking up at me, but this time the label caught my eye ? 90% Vitamin C. I said ?whaaa?? and began to search online to see if that little marketing sticker held any truth. Indeed, this is a very high C vegetable! The stats varied, but were impressive ~ fresh cauli has 283mg or 472% of the RDI of vitamin C per head, another source said 58% of RDI per 3.5 oz serving, another said 80% per 3 oz serving. So while there is a variation, it?s still pretty amazing. Sources concur that cooking depletes vitamin C, but it?s still higher than many vegetables. I had absolutely no idea! Cauli has always been kind of a meh vegetable for me, but since hanging out on pinterest over the last year and finding fantastic recipes like this one I?m learning to love it. Now that I really ?C? it for what it?s worth, cauli has just been catapulted to the top of my favorite veggie list 🙂

  13. I loved the base of this recipe too! Thanks for the great idea. I used only Old Cheddar cheese, and added cubes of cooked ham. I topped the whole thing with crispy onions. What a hit! I can see using this one for Thanksgiving or Christmas for sure.

  14. Bonnie, those are some excellent stats! Thank you for sharing! Also thanks to you, Karen, for sharing some of your tweaks. I actually do something similar, in a different cauliflower gratin recipe. I use ham, sage and parmesan. OHHHH … DELICIOUS!!! <br /><br />I also want to add that I had someone make it on my Facebook page. They tried it with frozen cauliflower. I was super curious how it would turn out and requested she share the results with me. Linda says, "It did NOT get mushy or soggy at all using the frozen cauliflower. I thawed the cauliflower overnight, then heated it in the microwave for 5 minutes at 50% power. I cut the cauliflower into elbow macaroni-sized pieces, then I put it in my salad spinner and spun the bejeebers out of it! Everyone raved about it…I got three requests for the recipe and didn’t bring any home!!!" YAY!!!
    —Reply posted by DJ on 2/25/2015
    Hiya Jenn! Click search at the top of my page and search for that exact thing. It’s there … and it’s delicious! 🙂
    —Reply posted by Jenn on 2/25/2015
    I’m thinking a ricotta gnocchi would be amazing to either add to, or replace the cauliflower for those that are not yet so fond of this veggie 🙂

  15. Noticed that Anita posted she used Miracle Noodles instead of the cauliflower. Was wanting to try it that way, but uncertain how many pkgs to use. Will one work or do you need more?

  16. Judi, I’m honestly not sure. The cauliflower used in this recipe is near 2 lbs in total weight, which would suggest you’d need A LOT of miracle noodles to take up an equivalent volume. It’s tough for me to make a suggestion on this one, coupled with my own opinion of miracle noodles used in this kind of recipe. (I think it would be kinda oogy, even though I know some people really enjoy it) Maybe try cutting the recipe into quarters and use 2 or 3 packets. Even then, I suspect it’ll be pretty cheesy and kinda rubbery. I hope this helps! Sorry if the response has a negative slant to it. Just my opinion. Do whatever feels right to you. Thanks! 🙂

  17. I’m new to the low carb WOE and still struggle to love veggies….BUT this recipe has done me in! I could hardly tell that it wasn’t really pasta. My 13 year old son is doing this with me and he loved it! Went back for seconds. Thanks for a great recipe for those of us that have avoided any semblance of a vegetable for so long!

  18. Sure thing, Andrea! Check out my sides section. I’ve got a cauliflower au gratin I think you’ll love, as well as a broccoli au gratin. If you willing to venture even a step further, I suggest looking at the creamed brussels sprouts! Coating veggies with copious amounts of cream, cheese and bacon … really helps get them down! 😉 In time … you may be able to tolerate them on their own! 😉

  19. I just made this! I halved it since it’s just me and the hubs. It is outstanding! It isn’t a complete ringer for mac and cheese, but it is the most "mac" tasting low carb dish out there. Thank you!

  20. I just made this! I halved it since it’s just me and the hubs. It is outstanding! It isn’t a complete ringer for mac and cheese, but it is the most "mac" tasting low carb dish out there. Thank you!

  21. I’m glad you like it, Barefootess. I agree, it’s … well … it’s not mac and cheese, but it’s a VERY sincere alternative. It’s luscious! 🙂

  22. This recipe sounds great, however, I am allergic to hazelnuts. Any suggestions on what I could use as a substitute. I have coconut flour and almond flour on hand. Thanks.

  23. I you liked Wheat Belly, check out Wheat Belly Busted or something like that you’ll find out how the Wheat Belly books are based on bad science.

  24. Yvette, out of curiosity, I tried to find the book you’re referencing, but … couldn’t find it. Is this more of a blog than a book? Ultimately … for every point someone makes, there’s someone out there making a contrary point, often using the same source of information, framed in a new way. In my personal experience, I tend to do better without the wheat … so … regardless of what is said in a book, pro or con, my experience has been that I operate better without it … and I don’t need it to survive (as delicious as it is! 😉 ). In any event, I would still look into the book. I’m always eager to learn something new! 🙂
    —Reply posted by joyce on 6/2/2015
    “The Wheat Belly Diet,” Dr. William Davis, cardiologist. I read it, too, and while I haven’t given up grains altogether, I’m far more careful about the wheat and other grass-type grains (which is most of them, I realize). I haven’t been off anything long enough to see any weight loss, though it’s seriously needed, but I’m not having the negative food reactions I was having. I love vegetables, too, so having cauliflower and cheese works well for me–and the Negative Nelly who is whining at the “low carbers” (she didn’t spell it correctly, so I did) needs to just be quiet; if you don’t have anything to contribute, why are you wasting anyone’s time by even making a comment? Hush up and let the rest of us enjoy our delicious SUBSTITUTES peacefully!!!! We know what they are, we don’t need anyone pointing out the obvious!

  25. Wish locarbers could call a spade a spade and stop trying to recreate “forbidden” foods! Cheesy cauliflower looks yummy! Great recipe!

    —Reply posted by DJ on 1/19/2015
    Well … to be a bit of a party pooper, I actually lost the overwhelming majority of my weight by eating these forbidden knock-offs. They DO work and work quite well. Granted, regular meat, nuts, seeds and veggies work even better, but the forbidden knock offs will actually take you pretty far! … two cents …

  26. I make cauliflower cheese as a main meal and add fried bacon lardons, chopped leeks and mushrooms…delish ??
    —Reply posted by DJ on 1/19/2015
    I think that sounds wonderful! Check out my roasted cauliflower recipe. Your description slightly reminded me of that recipe. Also quite tasty!

  27. What effect would omitting the hazelnut flour have?&nbsp;
    —Reply posted by DJ on 6/15/2015
    Virtually none. I mean, it’ll change the nutrition a little bit, but the end result will still be quite tasty. It’s there as a nod to many traditional mac and cheese recipes that are topped with bread crumbs and baked. All it does is provide a slightly crunchy crust, but if it weren’t there, the cheese would just melt and brown and it would still be very delicious. I hope this helps! 🙂

  28. i made this with crushed porkrinds with a bit of melted butter mixed in and sprinkled it over the top and baked.  Nice crunch to go with the creaminess!  Love this recipe!
    —Reply posted by DJ on 4/21/2017
    Nice addition. Sounds delicious. The flavors make perfect sense to me! 🙂

  29. Found this earlier in the week and just had enough time to make it last night. It is really delicious, though I did make a few replacements: Frozen cauliflower, thawed and then dry fried it in batches so it was dry (and because I wasn’t wholly focused a little bit of char that ended up adding some delicious flavor itself. Sharp cheddar for smoked, and I added a bit less and tossed in 1/2 an ounce of blue cheese. I also omitted the hazelnut flower and baking it. This recipe is amazing! My non-low carb, pasta-eating husband had some and LOVES it.

    Next time, I will add 2 ounces less of cream cheese and maybe add bone broth to thin a little as though it was really delicious, it was really heavy. Thank you for this recipe jumping off point.

Leave a Comment