Cauliflower and Cashew Macaroni Bake – 385 calories

I was inspired to make this when I received a link to a vegan version of the recipe via a website I subscribe to –

I love that so many of the recipes are low cost and use store cupboard ingredients – however, their quantities are usually HUGE and they’re not particularly focussed on healthy foods or weight loss.  They do have a section on Healthy Recipes and also many excellent “fakeaway” recipes which I often drool over!

I’m trying to introduce more vegetarian and vegan foods into my meal planning and to generally cut down on meat consumption. Something we should all be making an effort to do.

This recipe is a take on macaroni cheese but the creamy sauce is made by roasting and pureeing cauliflower and almonds with milk – the result is rather delicious!  However, I was unable to resist the temptation of adding some cheese – as cauliflower cheese is one of my all time favourite meals.

So this is my version of the Mob recipe:

Cauliflower and Cashew Macaroni Bake – 385 calories


Cauliflower                                                 –  260g

Carrots, peeled                                         –  100g

Cashew Nuts, Plain, Average                  –  50g

Milk, Whole                                               –  300ml

Garlic                                                         –  1 whole bulb

Breadcrumbs, Panko                               –  50g

Thyme, Dried                                            –  1 Tsp/1g

Rosemary, Dried                                       –  1 Tsp/1g

Parsley, Fresh, chopped                          –  1 Tbsp/3.8g

Macaroni                                                    –  225g

Olive Oil                                                     –  4 Tsps/20ml

Cheese, Cheddar, Mature                       –  50g

Salt, Average                                            –  ¼ Tsp/1g

Pepper, Black, Freshly Ground                    –  ½ Tsp/1g


Preparation:  Grate the cheese.


Step 1.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Step 2.
Chunk up the cauliflower and dice the carrots. Toss with salt and a dash of oil and spread out onto a tray.

Step 3.
Roast the cauliflower and carrots at 220°C until tender, this will take roughly 25 mins. Roast the garlic in foil with salt and 1 tsp of olive oil for 25 mins until tender (this can be done alongside the vegetable roasting).

Step 4.
Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C.

Step 5.
Briefly toast the cashews in the oven in an oven proof dish or on a piece of foil. Once toasted, transfer to a blender jug and pour over 500ml of warmed milk. Add the roasted cauliflower and carrots and one of the cloves of garlic (popped out of its skin) blend until super smooth.

Step 6.
Season the creamy sauce with salt and pepper and set aside. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and save some of the oil.

Step 7.
Toast the breadcrumbs in some of the garlicky oil. Finely chop the thyme, rosemary and parsley and toss through the breadcrumbs.  Pop the rest of the garlic cloves out of their skins, roughly chop and stir into breadcrumb mixture.

Step 8.
Cook the pasta for a couple of minutes less than the pack instructs. Stir through the sauce with a splash of pasta water (if required). You want it a bit wetter than you think. Add the grated cheese and gently stir through. Pour into an oven proof dish and top with the herby breadcrumbs.

Step 9.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbling and golden. Serve with a fresh, zingy green salad or green vegetables.

Nutrition Data Per Serving

Calories (kcal)       384.6

Protein (g)                14.8

Carbohydrate (g)    36.7

Fat (g)                       19.8

Fibre (g)                     3.2

Fruit & Veg                 1.3


Healthy Food Swaps

As part of my weight loss journey, I’ve made a lot of “food swaps”.  I’m trying to virtually cut out things like pasta, rice and bread, reduce the amount of potatoes I consume.
These foodstuffs often are those which make you feel fuller – the things which make you feel full and contented.

I discovered, tried and like a recipe for cauliflower rice a long time before it became so hugely popular.  It’s now being sold in pouches ready to microwave!  Of course, as a horrendously marked up price.  £2 for 200g!

Given that the same shop sells a whole cauliflower (around 400g) for £1, it’s easy to see why so many stores are jumping on the bandwagon.

Strange that people buy it – all you need is a food processor with a metal blade and a cauliflower.  Chop the cauliflower into chunks, add to food processor, pulse about 4 or 5 times until the cauliflower resembled rice grains.

I actually managed to put myself right off cauliflower rice as I simply ate it too often!  Thankfully I wasn’t put off the vegetable itself.

Roasted spiced cauliflower.  A tasty and healthy alternative to rice or pasta.

Tonight I made a spiced roasted cauliflower to accompany a chicken breast in a tikka masala sauce.   330g of raw cauliflower, broken/cut into small bite sized pieces.  Spread on a baking tray.  Sprinkle on half a teaspoon of nigella (black onion) seeds, a quarter of a teaspoon of cumin seeds, a drizzle (10ml) of a really good quality (thick) balsamic vinegar.  Spray with 20 squirts of a low calorie spray oil.  Put into a pre-heated oven (190 degrees) for around 20 minutes, stirring half way through.

Total 150 calories.  Services one as a main meal or two as a vegetable side dish.

It remains slightly al dente, which is nice as it retains a bit of crunch and makes the whole meal take longer to eat!