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Cauliflower and White Bean Macaroni Cheese

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When I was growing up, macaroni and cheese came out of a box and was bright orange. To this day, there’s still nothing quite like Canadian Kraft Dinner.  This wonderful invention was a staple in my childhood and university years and many variations of the original have been introduced since (like white cheddar cheese… yum!)    

It’s one of those long-held food memories where you realise the dish probably isn’t all that great for you – but it’s still a part of my history and it’s that nostalgia that makes life happy. So, as an adult, I looked at ways to make this dish “healthier” (and minus the orange colour).  First, I wanted to add more vegetables.  Enter inspiration from Heston Blummenthal’s cauliflower mac and cheese.  I also wanted to add more protein.  This comes from white beans (aka cannellini beans). 

There are two main types of mac and cheese – ones that are baked – and ones that are done on the stove.  Mac and cheese in a box is definitely the latter, and so is this recipe.  I find baked macaroni and cheese can get dry after being in the oven.  For this recipe, I use the Thermomix to make the sauce, while cooking the pasta on the stove.  

Cauliflower and White Bean Macaroni Cheese

This recipe aims to inject some vegetables and additional nutrients to what is normally a not-so-healthy dish. To speed things up, I use the Thermomix for the cheese sauce and cook the pasta and some of the cauliflower on the stove.
Course Main Course
Servings 4 serves


  • 250 g reduced fat cheese cut into 2cm pieces
  • 1 onion peeled and quartered
  • 400 g can of cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 400 g cauliflower florets in 5cm pieces
  • 500 g cauliflower florets in 2cm pieces
  • 400 g reduced-fat (2%) milk
  • 300 g macaroni
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • To make the cheese sauce, put cheese into the Thermomix bowl and grate with the measuring cup (MC) on for 8 seconds | Speed 8; remove to a bowl
  • Put onion into the Thermomix bowl and chop with the MC on for 3 seconds | Speed 5
  • Add beans, 5cm cauliflower florets and milk (440g), and cook with the MC off for 20 minutes | 100C | Speed soft
  • While the sauce cooks, heat water in a large saucepan and cook pasta according to packet instructions; adding the 2cm cauliflower florets into the saucepan with 3 minutes to go in the cooking time and covering with a lid
  • Drain pasta and cauliflower but do not rinse with cold water; add back to the saucepan
  • Once the sauce stops cooking, put the MC on the Thermomix and blend for 1 minute – going slowly from speed 1 to speed 8 – to create a smooth sauce
  • Add grated cheese, mustard (2tsp), salt and pepper and cook for 2 minutes | 90C | Speed 4
  • To serve, combine sauce with the pasta and cauliflower in the saucepan
Keyword Cauliflower, Pasta, Thermomix, Vegetarian

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[Last updated: June 21, 2015]