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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

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]