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Baked Banza Mac & Cheese



I have always been a little bit of a weirdo. And I've always been kind of proud of it.

Today let's talk about how weird I am about mac and cheese. I am SUPER picky about mac and cheese. Ya know how most people lose their 'ish over a bowl of lobster mac? Or bacon mac n' cheese? Or mac and cheese burgers? I don't get it.


I realized the issue is that the texture of mac and cheese reallyyy reminds me of cheese whiz, which is something I abhor. No, not because its crap in a can, but because it truly disgusts me. The way gobs of mayo disgust me. Nothing to do with health; its just a true dislike. There are plenty of junk foods that I thoroughly enjoy.


So, sometimes I enjoy baked mac 'n cheese simply because the consistency is wayyy less creamy. I know. Freak status weird. Lucky for you guys, my roommate and boyfrand are STELLAR taste testers. Every recipe has to get non-dietitian-taste-bud approval before it gets posted on my blog.


This recipe has a bunch of steps, but I swear its really simple. And I swear its really creamy (although I left a note how to make it less creamy if you're a weirdo like me). THE COOLEST thing about the creamy version is that it gets its creaminess from cauliflower!! Cheeze whiz has never been so healthy.


In fact, this is the perfect post-workout meal. I used Banza's high protein, high fiber chickpea pasta. The pasta's texture is totally indistinguishable from wheat pasta when baked.... but it is loaded with protein to rebuild muscles after ripping 'em apart on the track and lots of fiber to keep you fuller longer. THEN ya throw in some cauliflower to help replete lost electrolytes, tons of vitamin K to keep your bones strong (ain't nobody got time for stress fractures), and antioxidants to help with recovery. Dude. Mac n' Cheese has never appealed to me so much!




Ingredients

2 boxes of Banza Mac n' Cheese (I used a box of white cheddar and a box of cacio e' pepe)

1 cups frozen cauliflower

1/4 cup broth

1 large red onion, chopped into thin slices

3 tablespoons of grass-fed butter (I used unsalted Kerrygold), divided

1/2 cup parm cheese (or cheese of choice)

1 tablespoon paprika

1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon parm cheese


Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 350*F.

2. Puree the cauliflower and broth together in a food processor or blender.

3. Bring 12 cups of water to a rolling boil in a large pot.

4. While the water is coming to a boil, let's caramelize the onions! Place a small/medium frying pan over medium low heat. Once the pan is hot, add butter and let melt. When the butter is melted, add the onions, stirring frequently, until caramelized (about 15 minutes).

5. Once the water comes to a boil, add the macaroni and cook for 5 minutes. Drain water when done.

6. In the same pot you cooked the macaroni, add 1 cup of pureed cauliflower, two packets of cheese powder and the macaroni. Mix well.

7. In a small baking pan (I used a meatloaf tin), layer mac and cheese, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese (or any cheese of choice) and onions. Continue to layer until all the ingredients are used up.

8. Evenly pour the whisked egg on top.

9. Bake at 350* F for 30 minutes if you like a creamier mac n' cheese... or 50 minutes if you like a firmer, less creamy mac n' cheese casserole.


I SWEAR ITS WORTH ALL THE STEPS. ITS SO DELICIOUS!


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©2017 by Serena Marie RD. Images by Ralf Graebner