Suzanne Hollander, MS, RD

As a dietitian, home cook, and enthusiast of all-things-delicious, I'm often asked, "so what do YOU eat?" Here's a blog to answer that very question! My hope is that you'll find (even just a little) inspiration from some of my favorite recipes, restaurants, party-ideas and food musings for your own happy, healthy, food-loving lifestyle.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cauliflower "Mac" & Cheese with Truffle Oil

 I love reinventing classic comfort foods into healthier alternatives. This vegetable-rich take on Mac & Cheese leaves out the refined, white pasta in favor of complex-carbs, higher fiber content, and more vitamins. Because of its white color and relatively neutral flavor, cauliflower is a great alternative for starchier dishes. Cauliflower "Mac" & Cheese (and who ever complained about truffle oil?) is a great main dish or could serve more guests as a side. I served it as a Meatless Monday dinner entree, alongside some fresh whole grain bread.

The Nutrition Rundown: Replacing low-nutrient, refined white pasta with cauliflower gives this dish tasty, heart-disease reducing benefits. Bulking up the creamy sauce with white bean puree helps cut back on saturated fat (another heart-health hooray!). The beans also add protein and soluble fiber, which make it a more filling and complete meal.

Cauliflower “Mac” and Cheese with Truffle Oil
Serves 6
2 Tablespoons cooking oil, divided (I used coconut oil)
1 head cauliflower, chopped
1 15 oz can white kidney beans (no salt added), drained and rinsed
4 cloves garlic
1 cup shredded cheese (I used ½ extra-sharp, grass-fed cheddar and ½ Gruyere)
¼ cup milk (I used 2%)
¼ cup crème fraiche (you can substitute sour cream or plain yogurt)
½ onion, diced
¼ cup fresh oregano, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1-2 Tablespoons truffle oil (optional)
Salt and pepper

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using ~2 teaspoons of cooking oil, grease 9x13” baking dish.
  2. Fill large pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add cauliflower and cook until tender,  ~5 minutes. Drain and set aside cauliflower and pan for later use. (You could also steam the cauliflower or use frozen and steam in microwave).
  3. In food processor, make sauce by combining white beans, garlic, cheese, crème fraiche, milk, salt and pepper. Pulse until creamy and set aside.
  4.  Preheat remaining cooking oil to large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent. Add cauliflower and toss to combine. Cook ~2-3 minutes until cauliflower begins to brown. Add sauce and herbs and stir to combine. Turn off heat, and add truffle oil if using as well as additional salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Bake for ~20-25 minutes, until top is golden brown. Remove from oven, and allow to cool slightly and set for ~5 minutes before serving warm. 

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