a peek inside the fishbowl

07 Nov, 2010

Will they eat it: a disaster involving cauliflower and macaroni and cheese

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Recipes and Food

Let’s cut to the chase. I LOVED this recipe. The girls definitely did not. Gah.

And like an 11-year old who’s just had his water pistol confiscated, a certain husband said: “How could you do this to one of my favourite dishes?” He looked very sad indeed.

“Why did you put cauliflower in the macaroni mummy?” came the question (asked carefully lest I explode and mar the dining room floor).
“Well, I thought you’d all like it this way…!”

Lame, I know. But I thought that cheese would be the great equalizer here.

Here’s the thing I hate about cooking: I research, shop for, spend time and energy making a particular dish and when the family doesn’t eat it I sometimes feel like (a) yelling (b) pouring myself a giant glass of wine and bringing my plate into the other room and (c) eating ALONE IN FRONT OF THE TELEVISION. Ingrates.

I want my family to be healthy, to know what a good meal is, and to show the girls that home cooking is good. Is that so terrible?

I now understand how some parents make their kids sit at the table until their meal is finished because DANGNABBIT, I WORKED HARD TO MAKE THAT SO YOU ARE GOING TO WORK HARD AND CHOKE IT DOWN. (Not that I would ever do that of course.) :)

As I mentioned, this recipe is good. Very good! But then again I love my veggies. I accidentally made too much and gave half of it to my neighbours. They have little kids – a toddler and 9 month old – and apparently it was all gobbled up. So there. Not so bad!

Mac n' cheese n' cauliflower

I used this recipe from Epicurious: Multigrain macaroni and cheese with cauliflower.

My recipe notes:

  • I didn’t measure out the macaroni and just dumped in a 375g box. (This proved to be too much macaroni, but on the flipside it made more, which you could probably freeze if you weren’t giving it away to a neighbor.) If there is ever a next time I will make sure to weigh it out first.
  • I dispensed with the crumb topping. It’s just not my thing.
  • I really recommend you use sharp cheese. It gives this dish a really nice zing.
  • A note about sour cream. Use the real stuff. None of this fat-reduced krrrrep. Read the label. ISour cream should not contain corn starch or things you don’t recognize. My fave brand right now is regular Western. Soooo good. Life is too short, so use superior sour cream.
  • I served it with Caesar salad, and for the girls, raw red pepper rings.

If you make this let me know! I’m dying to know if other families liked it.

18 Responses to "Will they eat it: a disaster involving cauliflower and macaroni and cheese"

1 | Dave

November 7th, 2010 at 10:13 am


I’ve got a cauliflower fritter recipe that would make you weep (and even my kids eat them).

2 | andrea

November 7th, 2010 at 10:21 am


I love cauliflower fritters, even ones that make me cry. Please share your recipe!

3 | Miss Vicky

November 7th, 2010 at 10:34 am


The Webgeek put peppers and purple cauliflower in our usual mac and cheese recipe this week. LOVED IT! Kids gobbled it up. I’m so sorry your idea was dissed! Seems to me the perfect combo and an easy way to get some veggies in a carb-and-fat-heavy dish.

4 | Kerry

November 7th, 2010 at 11:10 am


I make a variation with cooked butternut squash instead. The colour is still perfectly cheesy orange and the taste is mildly sweet. I’ll see if I can dig up the recipe for you!

5 | Finola

November 7th, 2010 at 11:18 am


I would LOVE this but there is no way my kids would like it just yet though. I’ll try to remember it for a few years down the road.

7 | Melissa

November 7th, 2010 at 12:17 pm


Looks awesome! There is a lovely little General Store in Ravena (near Collingwood). We have a few friends with cottages up there so it’s not out of the way for us to go through. They sell frozen homemade foods – Sheppards Pie, Beef Stew etc. All delicious. My favourite is the `Macalicious’. Homemade macaroni and cheese with cauliflower, shredded carrots, and croutons etc. I pick up a few single serving sizes to take to Toronto with me when I commute. Eat 1/2 for lunch with a big side of fresh fruit or veggies and the other 1/2 for dinner.

mmmm tasty!

8 | Sara

November 7th, 2010 at 12:20 pm


Like you, I love mac and cheese with cauliflower. I thought it was delicious. The DH pretty well eats whatever is put in front of him and the boys picked the noodles out and ate those. But there were more leftovers for me :)

10 | Scatteredmom

November 7th, 2010 at 12:31 pm


In the days where Kev could eat dairy and Hubs could eat pasta, we would’ve loved it. I might even make it for myself.

I know what you mean about being frustrated they don’t eat it. I learned, with an uber picky husband, not to take it personally and let him make a peanut butter sandwich. More for me! Fortunately it doesn’t happen often.

We’ve started using greek yogurt instead of sour cream-Kev can digest it better and we love the taste.

It looks delicious. I would totally gobble it up. :)

11 | Jenn

November 7th, 2010 at 4:23 pm


Heard something on CBC about how strongly sensitive some peoples tastes are to a chemical in that family of veggies, a trait that is apparently genetic. I have tried with both cauliflower and butternut/pumpkin and the squash version is the favorite, handsdown. Regarding sour cream, try liberate Greek yogurt. Same creaminess but 0mf.

12 | Betsy Mae

November 7th, 2010 at 5:56 pm


Dave please share your recipe!!

I love cauliflower and cheese together, I think I would like this recipe. Unfortunately, I doubt my kids would like it. They are not fans of cooked califlower but both eat it raw without a fuss.

13 | Vicky

November 7th, 2010 at 8:21 pm


This sounds absolutely delicious, but would never fly at my house. My husband refuses to eat anything that even resembles a casserole. If it has melted cheese in it, forget it. Yet he’ll eat pizza. And lasagna. Go figure.

14 | Allison

November 7th, 2010 at 10:03 pm


Sounds like a great recipe! This is actually a staple dish in my house — we use the recipe out of Deceptively Delicious, and it actually has chickpeas too. My kids have no idea – at least not yet! I bet the sour cream makes it extra rich and tasty! Oh and agreed about the sharp cheese, definitely the way to go!

15 | Tiana

November 8th, 2010 at 10:49 am


mmmm! I make this recipe of cauliflower mac n cheese:


I use FULL FAT regular sour cream instead of crème fraîche because my local store doesn’t carry it and whatever cheese I feel like at the time.

OMG I have to make this tonight now…

16 | sassymonkey

November 8th, 2010 at 12:26 pm


I’ll chime in as another person who does it butternut squash. It’s really good.

17 | Valerie

November 8th, 2010 at 4:11 pm


We make our mac and cheese with soy milk, old cheddar, cayenne rather than mustard, sometimes sour cream, and sometimes pureed cauliflower but more likely a pureed combo of squash, carrots, and yams for a nice bright colour and sweet taste. My kids won’t touch KD, LOL, but they’ve got to have homemade mac & cheese every weekend with leftovers 2-3 times per week in their thermos for school.

My 4 yr old will not touch visible veggies, but will gladly eat them pureed, even when he knows they’re there (pureed chicken stew, for example, with dumplings).

Thanks for the link to Weighty Matters – I think I’m going to enjoy that site.

18 | Maranda

November 9th, 2010 at 10:55 am


I use a traditional macaronni and cheese recipe, but instead of milk I use purred vegetables in the sauce. I usually use cauliflower with a bit of carrot (disguises the cauliflower and makes it nice and orange) but as a PP said squash works well, especially pepper squash. It’s so creamy and delicious, and the kids (and DH) have no idea!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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