A classic go-to-dish for kids, or, in other words: the perfect occasion to sneak good nutrition into your child’s tummy! Here you have it: Simply Caulifower mashed into a creamy cheesy Béchamel sauce with smart balance instead of butter, skim milk instead of whole milk and soft wheat flour, instead of plain white flour. The top crust is made out of wholegrain cereal (Organic Nature’s Path Multigrain) and peccorino cheese and the result is just AMAZING! You got to admit–getting your little finicky one to devour cauliflower AND wholegrain cereal all in one is a feat, right?! Just try it and see for yourself!
Sneaky Macaroni & Cheese
- For the béchamel:
- 3 cups skim milk
- 3 Tbsp smart balance
- 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup simply cauliflower* pureed or smashed
- 1/2 tsp coarse salt
- To assemble:
- 13.25 oz box of dry whole wheat elbow macaroni
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
- 1 Tbsp smoked mozzarella grated
- Top Crust:
- 1 cup nature’s path multigrain cereal finely ground
- 3 Tbsp pecorino romano cheese finely ground
Place 1 cup of baked cauliflower using the Simply Cauliflower recipe and grind or puree finely and set aside.
For the béchamel sauce:
Place milk in a glass measuring cup and place in microwave oven on high for 2 minutes and set aside.
In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the smart balance over medium heat. Add the whole wheat pastry flour and whisk briskly for a few seconds to form a paste.
Slowly add the hot milk to the flour mixture, a little bit at a time, while continuing to whisk until evenly combined and smooth, each time before adding more milk (so you will not get lumps or “grumeaux”), keep at it until all 3 cups have been poured in (it will be very thin and liquid-y at this point, and that’s OK!). You can stop stirring at this point.
Continue to cook until it comes to a boil and the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 8-10 minutes.
Stir in puréed cooked cauliflower, 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese, smoked mozzarella, and salt.
Remove from the heat and set aside (it will form a thin layer on top if it cools down, but not to worry, just stir it in when ready to assemble).
Fill a big pot with water and bring to a boil.
Once the water is boiling, pour in the macaroni, stir once and continue to cook, uncovered for no more than 4 minutes (it will be slightly undercooked—that’s the way it should be so it continues to cook mixed in with the béchamel sauce in the oven)
Drain and rinse with cold water.
Mix the drained pasta with the reserved béchamel and stir well until thoroughly mixed (You can serve immediately and just add the remaining cheddar cheese at this point).
OR- if baking, transfer to a baking dish, top with the ground-up multigrain cereal, peccorino cheese and remaining grated cheddar cheese and bake until bubbling and brown on top, about 20 minutes.