August 24, 2015

Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese

This Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese is loaded with vegetables and made lighter with a creamy cauliflower sauce. 
Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese
As I have written about before, my husband's dad's family is Mexican. They are the nicest people and some of the closest family to us. When we go to one of their parties, we know that there will always be good food. Homemade salsa is a must and is always on the menu. Main dishes have includes tostadas, homemade enchiladas, burritos, chicken with mole sauce, etc. I have always loved Mexican food and having it homemade with Troy's family is wonderful.

Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese
Ever since I have lived on my own, Mexican food has also been a huge part of my cooking. I have pretty much made every typical Mexican dish out there at some point. Some things like tacos, taco salad or enchiladas, are dishes that we make all the time. Mexican food always tastes amazing and can be thrown together pretty quickly which is something that I love about it.

Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese
This recipe includes fresh zucchini, mushrooms, cauliflower, bell peppers and garden fresh tomatoes. The tomatoes are grown in our own backyard. The zucchini was grown just a couple of blocks over at my parent's house.

Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese
While this recipe is not entirely Mexican, it does have a spicy, Latin flair to it that tastes delicious! With summer vegetables being at their prime right now, I have been throwing them in everything including this delicious macaroni and cheese.

Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese
I am a huge fan of macaroni and cheese but it can often be extremely rich and high in fat and calories. I love to be able to have a good sized portion of whatever I am eating and by adding a bunch of nutritious vegetables to this dish, I can do that without going overboard.

Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese
Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese

1 12-16 oz box of whole wheat noodles
1/2 small head of cauliflower, chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1/4 cup diced La Morena whole jalapenos and carrots

For the cheese sauce
1/4 cup butter of choice
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
3 cups skim milk
1/2 small head of cauliflower, diced
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1. Boil a pot of water and cook noodles according to instructions.
2. Meanwhile, take all of the vegetables for meal (except cauliflower for sauce) and grill on a grill mat or on aluminum foil until soft.
3. In the microwave, steam cauliflower for the cheese sauce until very soft. Blend with 1 cup of milk until smooth.
4. On medium heat, melt butter until liquid. Add flour and cook for about 2 minutes while stirring continuously. Add the cauliflower sauce mixture and the rest of the milk and continue to cook on medium-low heat until thickened.
5. Remove from heat and add cheese and stir until melted.
6. Pour cheese sauce over noodles. Add grilled vegetables and stir until everything is well combined.
7. Transfer to a baking dish and top with additional cheddar cheese and Parmesan cheese.
8. Broil for about 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese
We had my sister over for dinner and she enjoyed the dish as well. I asked my husband and sister what the secret ingredient was and neither could guess. The answer was a cup and a half of pureed, cooked cauliflower which helped to lighten up the dish a lot while still having it taste rich and creamy. Once they knew what it was, they both still said that they could not taste it which was my goal. Adalyn loved the meal too (no jalapenos for her!). It was a great family meal that we all enjoyed together. We paired it with a simple tomato and dill salad.

We love spice in our meals and I added some delicious pickled jalapeƱos from La Morena to this dish. The jalapeƱos also come with spicy carrots which I also diced up and added to the dish. It gave a nice flavor without being too spicy.

For the adults, we topped the mac and cheese with a bit of the La Morena homemade style chipotle peppers in adobo sauce which provided more flavor and spice. I purchased both of these products from Walmart in the Hispanic aisle and they were very affordable.

Of the macaroni and cheese dishes that I have made, this one was my favorite. It was very rich but made lighter by the cauliflower sauce.

This Spicy Garden Mac and Cheese is loaded with vegetables and made lighter with a creamy cauliflower sauce.

Share this post:


  1. Clever idea to incorporate vegetables in an American staple like mac n cheese. Thanks for your participation in this campaign #client


Please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of this post! I read and appreciate all comments.