Crab Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

This Crab Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is every bit gooey as it is delicious! Cauliflower transforms in this recipe to create a pasta-like consistency, giving you your carb fix without the guilt.

Make this baked crab cauliflower mac and cheese as an easy casserole.
Make this baked crab cauliflower mac and cheese as an easy casserole.

Ingredients:

  • Cauliflower: You can’t make a Cauliflower Mac and Cheese without cauliflower! Look for heads of cauliflower that are a bright white with bright green leaves. The head should be firm and have little to no brown spots on it.
  • Cheese: Use your favorite combination of cheese for this recipe. I recommend a combination of sharp Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Gruyere but you can add any of your favorite cheeses! Add cheese that melts well, so avoid cheeses like Feta and goat cheese, which just soften when exposed to heat.
  • Garlic: Amp up the flavor of this recipe with a head of roasted garlic. Cut the head in half and wrap in foil. Bake the garlic for about 45 minutes, or until the garlic is browned and easily squeezed out of the wrapping.
  • Onion: Using some roasted onion will add another depth of flavor to this recipe. Picky eaters won’t be able to detect it since it blends into the cheese once chopped.
  • Crab: Use canned or fresh. This recipe recommends 6 oz of crab (about two handfuls) but feel free to use more. Canned crab is affordable and easy to find, but fresh crab is a bit more flavorful.
  • Panko: An optional ingredient to top your mac n’ cheese with is a toasted panko topping. Combine panko with oil and toast slightly in a pan before adding to the top of your casserole dish.

How to Cut a Cauliflower

There’s really no wrong way to cut a cauliflower. The key is to make small bite-sized pieces for your cauliflower mac and cheese so that the vegetable resembles pasta.

Start with a firm, white head of cauliflower.
Start with a firm, white head of cauliflower.
Make a cut down the center, splitting the cauliflower.
Make a cut down the center, splitting the cauliflower.
Cut the center stem out of the vegetable.
Cut the center stem out of the vegetable.

Continue chopping the cauliflower with your knife or just pull the vegetable apart with your hands. Wash well and drain before using.

Cheeses to Use for Mac and Cheese

One of the best parts of this recipe is that you can customize your cheeses for this dish! In the ingredients listed below, I recommend using sharp Cheddar, Gruyere and Monterey Jack. There are other cheese options that you can use such as Brie, Gouda or even Parmesan.

You can use any cheese you’d like, as long as it melts when exposed to heat – so avoid cheeses like Feta, Cotija and soft goat cheese.

Use your favorite combination of cheese or stick with a single type, as long as your cheese total equals 2 1/2 cups.

Whichever cheese you choose, make sure to shred it yourself. Pre-shredded bags of cheese have a starch coating that acts as an anti-caking agent.

How to Make Crab Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Prepare your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350°. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and place on a baking tray. Chop the onion into rough sections and place on the same tray. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.

Roast your cauliflower and onion together, after tossing with salt, pepper and olive oil.
Roast your cauliflower and onion together, after tossing with salt, pepper and olive oil.

Cut the head of garlic in half. Cover the cut side with olive oil, and salt and pepper. Cover in foil and add to the oven. Roast for at least 45 minutes, until the garlic is browned and can easily be squeezed out of its shell.

The cauliflower is done roasting when it can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove and set aside. Take the pieces of onion and dice. Add back to the pan with the cauliflower and set aside.

Start making the cheese sauce by adding the butter to a large pot. Heat over medium-low and whisk in the flour until combined to make a roux. Then create a bechamel sauce by adding in the milk slowly so it incorporates. Once milk is incorporated, turn off the heat and add in the garlic powder, onion powder, cheese and garlic cloves. Mix well.

Make the roux by adding flour to the melted butter.
Make the roux by adding flour to the melted butter.
Add milk and spices to the roux.
Add milk and spices to the roux.

Next, add in the shredded cheese, softened cream cheese, and squeeze in the roasted garlic cloves. Smash the cloves or add them in whole. Then add in the crab. Mix well.

Add the shredded cheese to your bechamel.
Add the shredded cheese to your bechamel.
Add in the drained crab to the cheese sauce.
Add in the drained crab to the cheese sauce.

Add the cheese and cauliflower mixture to a casserole dish. Bake for 30 minute before serving.

Add your mixture to a casserole dish.
Add your mixture to a casserole dish.

Optional: To make a breadcrumb topping, add a cup of panko to a pan and toss with about 5 tablespoons of oil. Toast the breadcrumbs then add then to the top of the casserole dish. Cover before baking so the breadcrumbs don’t burn. At the end of baking, remove the covering and broil for 5 minutes.

For an optional crunch, add the oil to the panko and lightly toast.
For an optional crunch, add the oil to the panko and lightly toast.

Should I Make the Panko Topping?

While the point of using cauliflower in this recipe is to cut down on the carbs, adding a topping of panko breadcrumbs is totally worth it. You only add a little bit and it gives you a bite of extra crunch.

Adding the panko will give it a browned and crunchy top.
Adding the panko will give it a browned and crunchy top.

Common Questions about Crab Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

Do I need to add flour to make the cheese sauce?

Making a roux (a combination of flour and a fat, like butter) will help the cheese evenly melt and then adhere to your vehicle of choice, in this case cauliflower. If you skip the flour, the cheese sauce will be grainy and fall off from the “noodle” of choice.

What cheese should I use for this recipe?

I like using melty cheeses, such as cheddar. Avoid cheeses that don’t melt well, since they won’t adhere to your cauliflower.

How long will this take to make?

This recipe will only take a couple of minutes to put together. This mac n’ cheese is mostly bake time, so it’s the perfect easy recipe to make when you’re at home for a lazy day.

Crab Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

0.0 from 0 votes
Recipe by Sarah
Course: Lunch, DinnerCuisine: american, ketoDifficulty: easy
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

325

kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 heads of cauliflower

  • 1 head of garlic

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar

  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack

  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

  • 1 can lump meat crab (6 oz)

  • 1 tbsn flour

  • 2 cups 2% milk

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese

  • 3 tbsn butter

  • neutral cooking oil

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)

Directions

  • Prepare your ingredients. Preheat your oven to 350°. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and place on a baking tray. Chop the onion into rough sections and place on the same tray. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Cut the head of garlic in half. Cover the cut side with olive oil, and salt and pepper. Cover in foil and add to the oven. Roast for at least 45 minutes, until the garlic is browned and can easily be squeezed out of its shell.
  • The cauliflower is done roasting when it can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove and set aside. Take the pieces of onion and dice. Add back to the pan with the cauliflower and set aside.
  • Start making the cheese sauce by adding the butter to a large pot. Heat over medium-low and whisk in the flour until combined. Then add in the milk slowly so it incorporates. Once milk is incorporated, turn off the heat and add in the garlic powder, onion powder, shredded cheese, cream cheese and garlic cloves. Mix well.
  • Once you have a melty cheese sauce, add in the cauliflower and can of drained crab meat. Mix until combined.
  • Add the cheese and cauliflower mixture to a casserole dish. Bake for 30 minute before serving.
  • Optional: To make a breadcrumb topping, add a cup of panko to a pan and toss with about 5 tablespoons of oil. Toast the breadcrumbs then add then to the top of the casserole dish. Cover before baking so the breadcrumbs don’t burn. At the end of baking, remove the covering and broil for 5 minutes.

2 Comments

  1. Lisa Fogel

    I just made this, used half the recipe using cottage cheese instead of cream cheese, and a cup of mozzerella cheese since that is what I had in the house and almond milk and low fat butter, and a tsp of garlic powder since I did not have fresh garlic. I put some bread crumbs on top and a layer of olive oil spray on top. Now, let see how it comes out…..

  2. lisfogelgmailcom

    just made this but used half recipe, cottage cheese instead of cream cheese, low fat butter, only had mozzarella cheese, some bread crumbs on top with olive oil spray to set. let see how it comes out…. guessing on the time for half recipe.

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