Cauli-mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese is a meal that my girls grew up eating by the bowl full.  I have this incredible group of friends with children all similar in age, when they were little we would meet in the afternoon at someone’s home and let the kids run around like crazy, ride their bikes up and down the drive or swim until they were exhausted.  We would then feed them the same meal every time, mac and cheese, because it was the one meal that they all loved.  

I dug out this old picture of the kids waiting patiently for their much loved mac and cheese!

This low-carb healthier version of mac and cheese, is a great way to get veggies like cauliflower into little ones, and trust me, I know the challenge many mothers face trying to get their children to consume vegetables. Cheese sauce and bacon have been my go-to on many occasions to add flavour and excitement to vegetables, and I can honestly say that my girls have developed a love for vegetables and are now not afraid to try new flavours and textures.

Many recipes require the cauliflower to be par-boiled before baking, but I prefer to bake it from raw, because I like my cauliflower to still have a slight crunch, for me there is nothing worse than soggy cheese cauliflower, but if softer is your preference, feel free to cook it slightly first.

This recipe also shows the steps for a basic gluten free béchamel sauce (white sauce).  My family does not have an intolerance to dairy, therefore we do have the occasional dish containing milk, cheese and butter.  Non-dairy alternatives like almond milk and ghee may be used to substitute the dairy.


Clean and chop up a whole cauliflower, then place it in a roasting dish 


Skin and quarter 6 shallots


Fry them in some butter, making sure the leaves separate


Once soft and slightly caramelised, transfer to the cauliflower dish


Fry the bacon, until crispy 


Add to the cauliflower and onion, mix them together 


In a pot, boil the milk and butter (keep an eye on it, milk boils over really fast!)


In a small bowl mix together tapioca and water


Stir until smooth, making sure to scrape the bottom of the dish and sides well ensuring there are no lumps at all


OKAY, this is where you need to stay focused!!…..Once the milk and butter have started to boil, add a small amount of the milk to the tapioca mixture


Give it a good quick stir


Then pour it all back into the pot (which is back on the heat) and stir like mad


Stir, stir, stir….it will start to thicken up beautifully….add the herbal salt and carry on stirring, then remove from the heat


Pour over the cauliflower 


Top with a touch of cheese and bake for 30-40min


YUM YUM, thanks Mum!

Cauli-mac and Cheese
Serves 4
Gluten and wheat-free
Write a review
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
1 hr
  1. 1 large cauliflower, cleaned and chopped
  2. 6 shallots, cleaned and chopped in quarters
  3. 300g bacon, roughly chopped
  4. 1 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
  6. 3 cups full cream organic milk
  7. 125g grass-fed butter (half of a small brick)
  8. 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  9. 1/4 cup water
  10. 1 Tbsp herbal salt
  11. 1/2 cup grated cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC
  2. Place the cleaned and chopped cauliflower in the roasting dish
  3. Fry the shallots in the butter or coconut oil
  4. Add the cooked shallots to the cauliflower
  5. Fry the bacon until crispy and add to the cauliflower
  6. Mix the cauliflower, shallots and bacon together
  8. In a pot on the stove, add the milk and chunks of butter and bring to the boil (watch it carefully)
  9. In a small bowl, mix together the tapioca and water
  10. Mix until smooth, making sure there are no lumps at all
  11. Pour a little of the boiled milk into the tapioca mixture and stir quickly
  12. Transfer the whole bowl of tapioca and milk back into the pot with the remaining milk
  13. Return the pot to the heat and stir well, it will start to thicken really quickly
  14. Add the herbal salt and stir well
  15. Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and gently mix
  16. Top with the grated cheese
  17. Bake for 30-40min
  1. Serve with a big green salad.
  2. Add a clove of garlic and some chilli for spunk
  3. Add cheese to the white sauce for extra richness
  4. SERVES 4 as a main meal, 8 as a side dish
Eighty 20 Nutrition

About Donna

4 thoughts on “Cauli-mac and Cheese

  1. This was a complete hit – husband and boys loved it! I didn’t quite get the sauce consistency right – possibly too much water with the tapioca but recipe is a bit unclear as to how much water!! I used tapioca flour which I assume was ok. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks a mill xx

    1. Fantastic! I’m so glad, thanks for your feedback Sue…Huge apologies for the recipe error, I have corrected it, and you are now my official recipe tester! What was the consistency like, runny or thick?

      1. 1/4 cup of water made it very runny but perhaps that is in fact the consistency and less like a paste, which is what I thought it was supposed to be!!?? But completely delish – luckily there was a tiny bit left over for lunch today!

        1. Again, my wording was incorrect, it is supposed to be runny to make sure that lumps don’t develop when the hot milk is added to it. You were spot on! Well done and thanks for your feedback, I really appreciate it xx

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