Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (2024)

Rebecca Baron 147 Comments

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Ok, I have to tell you that for a Paleo mac and cheese, I’m pretty excited about how this ‘cheese’ sauce turned out. It tastes like the real thing! Here is a summary of the steps of this Recipe:

Step #1

Steamcauliflower using your favorite method. I love to use my Instant Pot * to cook mine. If you don't want to make mac and cheese, get your base ready, whether it be noodles or something else.

Step #2

Cook the veggies and coconut milk in a saucepan

Step #3

Blend the sauce and pour it over the steamed cauliflower

Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (1)

Notes About This Recipe

Today have for you a kid-friendly childhood classic recipe. You won't even believe it is Paleo! Ok, I have to tell you that for a Paleo recipe, I’m pretty excited about how this ‘cheese’ sauce turned out. I researched before I made this and found that most dairy-free mac and cheese recipes called for things like nutritional yeast * flakes or cashews. What I came up with instead only used simple, easy to find ingredients…mostly veggies and coconut milk.

To make this you basically just sauté vegetables (including a little carrot to give it a cheesy color) and then cook them in coconut milk.After they are soft you puree them until smooth and then added an egg yolk to the hot puree. This turns it into a rich, velvety sauce that is probably as close to a cheese sauce as you can get without using any cheese.

But here's the best part - it tastes so incredibly good - and I'm not just saying that. My 11-year-old son is really picky about eating vegetables. But he loves this sauce. Heck, I love it and joke that I would drink it, but really I would.

You can put it on other vegetables, like broccoli, or if you eat clean, on a Clean pasta, like spelt macaroni. My 7-year-old daughter actually thinks it's cheese sauce. She was eating some the other day and I missed blending a piece of carrot and she was all mad that there was a piece of carrot in her cheese. She couldn't figure out how a carrot got in her cheese sauce.

We have this regularly for dinner with some simple homemade chicken fingers. All we do is put some chicken tenders in a cold pan with some oil, then sprinkle Real Salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika and flour of your choice, such as einkorn flour * for Clean Eating or arrowroot starch * for Paleo. Then we turn on the pan and cook it until each side is golden brown. It's a good compliment to this recipe.

I am excited I can now enjoy mac and cheese that has the classical taste with it. It is also a lot healthier too - you don't have to feel guilty for eating this one! How do you like to eat this recipe? Do you think it tastes cheesy?

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Recipe

Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (2)

Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe

★★★★★4.6 from 38 reviews

  • Author: Rebecca Baron
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Cuisine: Paleo
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Description

The sauce for this recipe is so good. It's basically blended up vegetables and coconut milk. This recipe puts it over cauliflower but I love it over noodles, broccoli, etc. and I don't feel guilty because it has lots of veggies and no dairy.

Ingredients

Scale

FOR THE CAULIFLOWER:

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE:

  • 2 T Ghee *
  • 1 small Yellow Squash (summer squash) or butternut squash (cut into small cubes) - about 1 cup
  • 1 small Carrot (peeled and diced)
  • ½ small Sweet Onion (diced)
  • ½ t Garlic Powder
  • ¾ t Ground Mustard
  • 1 t Real Salt *
  • 1 can Coconut Milk *
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • Pepper (to taste)

Instructions

FOR THE CAULIFLOWER:

  1. Option 1 - Cut the stalks and leaves off of the cauliflower and break it into small pieces. Add the cauliflower to an Instant Pot * with one cup of water and set it to manual on steam for 6 minutes.
  2. Option 2 - Cut the stalks and leaves off of the cauliflower and break it into small pieces. Add the cauliflower to a large sauté pan as well as the 2 T. butter, ½ t. salt, and water. Place on medium/high heat and cover with a lid. Let the cauliflower stead inside the pan for about 5 minutes, until mostly tender. Check the water levels every few minutes to make sure that it doesn’t all evaporate. When almost tender, remove the lid and let the cauliflower sauté for a minute or two, or until lightly caramelized in spots. Turn heat off, cover, and keep warm until ready to toss with the cheese sauce.

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE:

  1. Heat the 2 T. butter in a saucepan over medium/high heat. Add the squash, carrot, onion, garlic powder, mustard, and salt to the melted butter.
  2. Sauté for 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add the can of coconut milk to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the coconut milk has reduced by ⅔ and is thick.
  3. Pour the vegetables and coconut milk into a blender and puree until very, very smooth. Immediately add an egg yolk to the puree and blend well. The hot puree will cook the egg which will thicken the sauce and give it a rich texture.
  4. Check seasonings and add more salt or pepper to taste.
  5. Pour over the hot cauliflower and toss to coat.
  6. Serve.

Notes

The nutrition label is calculated using option 1 for the cauliflower since that's what I usually do.

Keywords: healthy, pasta-free, Keto, Paleo

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Zack

    About to make this recipe tonight! In the past I've used the butternut squash, nooch, or cashews and this is SOOO much simpler and cost effective 😅. I'm not strictly paleo.. but I don't tolerate dairy well so this is amazing, thanks again 🙏

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      You're welcome. I'm glad you like the recipe!

      Reply

  2. Sharal Ann

    I made this recipe today and it is so good! I love that the cheese sauce has regular everyday affordable ingredients. As you mentioned, other recipes call for expensive nuts and nutritional yeast - I just don't have the budget for these ingredients. I used frozen home grown jack-o-lantern pumpkin & Dijon mustard because that is all I had and it still turned out great! Thank you so much for this delicious and affordable all vegetable cheese sauce! I look forward to making it again and again.

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      I'm so glad you like it. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply

  3. Emily

    This cheesy sauce is delicious! I used it to pour over baked potatoes/broccoli/Whole30 bacon on my recent Whole30 run. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      What a great idea!

      Reply

  4. Ali

    I tried this and it is easy and great! I could use the sauce on all sorts of other things too!

    Reply

  5. Amanda

    It isnt dairy free if it has butter...

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      That's why the recipe states "or coconut oil". Coconut oil is Dairy-Free.

      Reply

  6. Kim

    This is incredible! My husband and I have been looking for vegetarian paleo recipes which are not easy to find. I was skeptical about this recipe AND I'm not a fan of cauliflower but this was amazing. I used a yellow squash and also added 2 T of nutritional yeast flakes. It was only the two of us so I only used 1 head of cauliflower and it ended up being our entire meal. I had some cheese sauce left over so we had it a 2nd time later in the week as a side with burgers. I have been telling everyone about this recipe. It's hard believe you can make a sauce that cheesy with those ingredients. Thank you for this!

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      I'm glad you gave it a try and you like it. It's definitely a favorite in our house!

      Reply

  7. Stephanie

    Best vegan cheese sauce ever!

    Reply

  8. Aimee

    The girls love this! Can use frozen cauliflower to save time and covers the first 4 ingredients. Shred the squash, carrot and onion in the food processor. Can add ground meat or sausage - Cook in the same pot as the veggies. On step 3, use a hand blender to save time/dishes.

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      Thanks for the suggestions.

      Reply

  9. Stacy A

    I would cook cauliflower a little less but it was good other then that. We used the pressure cooker method.

    Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (10)

    Reply

  10. Tosha

    I really enjoyed this recipe and am looking forward to making it again.

    Reply

  11. Joleen Frost

    It was great I added nutritional yeast to mine to give it more of a cheese flavour

    Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (11)

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      What a great idea!

      Reply

  12. Ben B.

    Easy & Delicious

    Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (12)

    Reply

  13. Brittney May

    So yummy! I reccomend if your steaming the cauliflower in the Instant Pot, do 5 min instead of 10. The cauliflower was overcooked and mushy. Other than that, it was a great meal I will make again ?

    Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (13)

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      Great suggestion. The instructions were definitely outdated so I updated them. I never cook my cauliflower in the Instant Pot anymore.

      Reply

  14. Kate

    Super delicious! Loved this and will definitely make it again and again. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I'm glad you like this. It's definitely a favorite in our house!

      Reply

  15. kay

    I make this every time I do a whole30. It tastes great and goes on anything. I recently poured it over some shredded hash browns and green peppers to make a "cheesy casserole". Loved it! Only questions are, can it be frozen and how long will just the sauce last in the fridge?
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I'm so glad you like it! I'm not sure if it can be frozen. I'm not much of a freezer person. Maybe someone else can help you? I also never have leftovers but it should last at least a few days in the fridge. Maybe even a week since it doesn't have meat or anything. Anyone else have any idea?

      Reply

      • Mandy

        We love this recipe. I like to preMade the cheese sauce to keep in the fridge for a few days until we’re ready to use it. My super picky dairy free kids LOVE it over their pasta. We also often have left overs and keep them in the fridge and just rewarm it in the microwave with a bit of diary free substitute butter 🙂

        Reply

    • JoAnna

      I tried the sauce for this recipe for the first time yesterday and almost drank half of myself! I wanted to comment because I made a double batch and froze it in 6oz mason jars to see how it did with the thaw. It is still awesome! The onion has a little more presence in the flavor but it is still scrumptious. I simply emptied one of the 6oz jars into a sauce pan and let it simmer while I cooked. When dinner was ready we used it on top of our vegetables and it was great! Hope this helps with the question regarding freezing leftovers.

  16. Teressa

    I do not like cauliflower but am trying to find good paleo recipes since our son 2.5 years old needs to be on the paleo diet. Does this taste a lot like cauliflower? I tried cauliflower mashed potatoes but did not like them because of the strong cauliflower taste. Also if I have a vitamix with the hot soup setting could I make the sauce completely in there or would you recommend the stove top instructions then adding it to the vitamix?

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      The actual sauce doesn't taste like cauliflower since it doesn't have cauliflower in it. Then the sauce just goes over regular cauliflower, but it does help hide the flavor a bit. Think cheesy broccoli. I have a Vitamix but haven't really tried soup in it. I don't think it really would get hot enough to cook it for 15 minutes and reduce the sauce by half to thicken it. The little that I've done was just enough to heat the sauce or soup up.

      Reply

  17. Kate Hollstrom

    Made with a yellow squash. While I could taste the onion wuite strongly, I was amazed at how 'cheesy' this was without any dairy!

    Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (14)

    Reply

    • Rebecca Baron

      Kinda of crazy how cheesy it is, huh? Did you use a small sweet onion? If you use a large onion, I suggest you only use half and the sweet onion really is better.

      Reply

  18. TANYA GAUTHIER

    Do you think I could make this today and reheat tomorrow when I am.on a camping trip? Looking for DF keto side dishes that are yummy and can be reheated after leaving home! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Actually, I have reheated the sauce and it works fine, as long as you don't get it too hot too fast or else the eggs will curdle.

      Reply

  19. Kristyn

    Wow, this was phenomenal. I am doing strict paleo and wanted some comfort food and this certainly didn't disappoint. I don't think the coconut flavor was overpowering at all; I tasted a lot of the garlic as well. I used Goya coconut milk since that's always thickened up really nicely for me. Will be using this "cheese" cause over and over again!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I'm so glad you like it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Reply

  20. Heather

    I am on my 4th month of the Whole30 diet and needed to mix it up. This looked great and had some great reviews so I gave it a try but added my favorite grilled chicken and green chilies and it was AWESOME!! Thanks for a keeper recipe!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Green chilies and chicken sound perfect. I'll have to give that a try!

      Reply

  21. Heather

    I don’t usually comment on recipes, but this was so good!!! We eat mostly paleo, but our kids don’t always(super picky 9 yr old boy, and two teenage girls). So they aren’t duped easily by paleo copycat recipes. All three approved this, as well and myself and my husband. I did sub canned pumpkin for the squash, since I realized at the last minute that my squash had gone bad. The only other thing I did was add maybe a tsp of nutritional yeast just before blending. We served it over broccoli. It was amazing. This recipe is a keeper, and we will be making it often.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I'm so glad you like it! I don't understand why my 9-year-old thinks this is real mac and cheese. It really doesn't taste like cheese at all. I mean, it tastes great and I'm so glad she likes it and it looks like cheese but it doesn't taste like cheese really at all. Kids are so funny sometimes. It's good to know that canned pumpkin works. I often add nutritional yeast too! Not only for a little extra cheese flavor but just cause it's so healthy and my children love the taste of it.

      Reply

    • Terri

      How much canned pumpkin did you use?

      Reply

  22. Jennifer

    Sorry but we had to throw this away last night, and we never do that!!! Even hubby who can pretty much make any horrible meal ate able too threw his away..there was nothing Mac or cheese about this as I had really hoped it would be a kid friendly and healthy version my kids with eating difficulties could tolerate. So sad as it was an expensive waste of money. ?

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      What about it didn't you like? Everyone I've made this for like it? Did it get thick for you? What kind of coconut milk and veggies did you use? What about it was horrible? The taste, texture?

      Reply

      • jennifer harris

        It did not thicken up and was super runny, more like a soup. The cauliflower was 'ok' texture wise and was ground up pretty small as it appeared more like grits then chunks. We used butternut squash and the coconut milk. The flavor was very very bland and what flavor it had, did not at all resemble 'cheese sauce', and even the smell even was off, and just did not appeal, even as I told the kids to not think of it as "mac and cheese' but of a paleo dinner instead, just so they wouldn't expect something that they know and love and it not to measure up to it. Lately, my 2 daughters have been having fibromyalgia symptoms and one has been diagnosed and the other will probably be shortly and both have eating difficulties since start of their illnesses and can't eat their usual loves anymore, and we are trying to find healthy 'alternatives' to make that can be good substitutes that they can tolerate. I'm sorry, I really wanted to love this, even had to buy twice the cauliflower as our first set started to mold soon after purchase, so had to repurchase before we could make it with the other ingredients...maybe its just that we are used to 'normal' foods and this just is not the sort of foods we like to eat (my family has always had a strong appetite for down home cooking and ethnic foods of all kinds including spicy stuff so now that we can't eat a lot of that as a family due to the dietary restrictions, we have a hard time making things that both taste good and settle well in the stomach, and none of us are veggie eaters in general)...

        Reply

        • Rebecca

          OK. It definitely sounds like it did not turn out like how it is supposed to. If you watch the video, it is supposed to be like a thick gravy and the cauliflower is supposed to be in thick chunks but will turn in to grits when overcooked. Did you use canned coconut milk and only about as much butternut squash as there would be for a summer squash, so no more than about a cup? A whole butternut squash would be about 3 cups. The difference could be the brand of coconut milk too. I always only use Natural Value without guar gum or any added ingredients. It's important to cook it down until it gets about half the volume and gets thicker, but it really only takes about 10 minutes. Did you use Real Salt? That will give it tons of flavor without making it salty. And pasture-raised eggs and butter have much better flavor than traditional too. And if you want it to have a little kick, sometimes I'll add in a little cayenne pepper or paprika.

          Reply

  23. Lindsay

    I am very excited to making this recipe! I don't have the canned coconut milk but I do have Silk's Coconut Milk. How many fluid oz. should I use?

    Thank you in advance! 🙂

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I haven't used Silk's coconut milk myself and I'm not totally sure what it is, but my guess is it's a little thinner than canned coconut milk, so either use just a little less, or just let us cook a little longer so it thickens up more. I'd have to experiment with it myself to give you a really good answer. Sorry I'm not more help.

      Reply

  24. Kaitlyn

    I could've cried when I ate this, I was that happy. I hadn't had "cheese" sauce in like 6 months, and it was so delicious. The only thing I wish was different was the coconut milk, I really don't like being able to taste coconut milk in a savory dish like mac and cheese, but it was still delicious, and that's my own personal struggle lol. Thank you so much for making my mac and cheese dream come true again. Do you have a cookbook? I'd buy it.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Comments like this make me so happy. You could always try a different milk, like almond milk, although it wouldn't be as creamy. If any savory dish could win you over to convince you that coconut milk can work with savory, it would be this one. You should give it a try - https://www.mynaturalfamily.com/recipes/clean-eating-recipes/clean-eating-chicken-recipe/ and I do have an eBook here - https://www.mynaturalfamily.com/50-paleo-recipes-from-my-natural-family/

      Reply

  25. Carrie

    We love this recipe!!! Especially my kids! We have made this recipe a few times and you should have seen my son's reaction last night when he saw the "mac-n-cheese" on his plate! Priceless and of course the first thing devoured by all the kids. (13, 11, & 4) We have many restrictions at our home right now and this recipe fits perfectly and is so delicious. Thank you for sharing, And those of you with egg restrictions, I substituted 1 TBSP of ground flax seed instead of the egg and it thickened the sauce just as well if not better than the egg. Also, we typically serve it over lentil noodles. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      It makes me feel so happy to hear comments like this. I'm so glad your family likes it and I'm glad the flax substitute works. I'm surprised it does for a recipe like this. It really is good though and my children love it too. Make me want to make it again. We haven't made it around here in a little while . . .

      Reply

      • Caroline Mirth

        The best part, aside from winning the kids over, is that it is so easy, not an overwhelming ingredient list, and mlt a ton of prep, and doesn't take long to make. ?

        Reply

        • Rebecca

          Yes, so true!

          Reply

  26. Lori

    Can I substitute the coconut milk for almond milk?

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I haven't tried it myself. It probably won't be as creamy, but other than that, it should be fine. If you try it, please come back and comment and let other know if it work cause I'm sure other reader would love to know if it works.

      Reply

  27. Gina

    This recipe was great!! Especially since I currently have so many dietary restrictions. I can't have egg and so I left it out and thought it was fine! I steamed my cauliflower in my Instant Pot and it was overcooked...not sure if I needed to put it in a bowl in order to steam properly instead of just on the rack bit I didn't have anything else to use. Other than the cauliflower being like mush, the sauce and the idea is great! I agree with everyone else that this sauce recipe could easily be used as a DF cheese sauce over other vegetables, etc! Thanks so much!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      It's super easy to over cook the cauliflower in the Instant Pot. I like to do mine for 10 minutes, but my hubby does it for 3 minutes, so you may need to play around with the time until it's just how you like it. Yep. We love it on broccoli too!

      Reply

  28. Christina

    Can you specify the fat content on the coconut milk you use? I've seen different ones & want to make sure I get the right one. Or am I confusing it with coconut cream? HELP a sister out here. LOL

    Reply

  29. Jessica

    I have made this twice now and loved it both times. The first time I used Ghee and the second coconut oil. I think the ghee made it slightly creamier. Those who complained that it is too thin probably did not cook down the coconut milk enough (it took longer than 10 min to cook down both times for me). I also added some paprika which added to the cheesy color and gave it a good flavor. I like it better over broccoli than cauliflower, but it was good both ways. This is one of my new favorites!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I'm so glad you like it! I love it too - and yes, they may need to cook it down longer to thicken it up. Good tip.

      Reply

  30. Holly

    My Husband and I are doing whole 30 this month and we liked this because it was different than anything else we have been eating. I will say that if it taste too sweet just add salt, that helps a lot. I also think that this is better as a side dish than as a main meal. Thanks for the idea!!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Thanks for your nice comment! We turn it in to a main dish at our house by adding chicken fingers or bacon. Yum!

      Reply

  31. Heidi

    Can you use a whole egg instead of just the yolk? Or do you think that would mess things up a bit? I hate separating my eggs and avoid it all costs. I understand some recipes require it, though.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      In this case, it really does need to be separated for best results. I usually just scramble the whites and feed them to my children while I'm cooking dinner.

      Reply

    • Bonnie

      A wonderful trick I learned that even kids can do to separate eggs is break the egg into a bowl, take an empty water bottle and squeeze it.. then suck just the yolk out into the water bottle which will actually stay in tack!

      Reply

  32. Sharon

    I used the frozen butternut squash cubes instead of the yellow squash and added pepper to the sauce and used two heads of cauliflower. This recipe was a major hit with my husband. Served it with my Hawaiian chicken wings and a side of green beans. Makes a very filling meal.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Thanks for the comment! I'm sure it will help other people be able to know what substitutions they can make. Hawaiian chicken wings sound delish too.

      Reply

      • Sharon

        They are. I think I got the recipe for Hawaiian chicken from paleo leap and adjusted it for the wings. Marinated them overnight, then I sprinkled with a seasoning mix of 1 tsp each of basil, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. Then convection baked on non-stick foil lined pan at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Pulled pan out of oven and turned on broiler. Also flipped wings and drummettes over and sprinkled with more of the seasoning mix. Placed under broiler for 4 minutes. Best wings ever! And such an easy recipe.

        We also use your recipe for,mac and cheese over poached eggs for an eggs benedict that is awesome.

        Reply

        • Rebecca

          Sounds delish. Now I'm going to have to try . . .

          Reply

  33. Julia

    About how much squash do you put in?

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I put about the same amount as the summer squash, which is generally about half a butternut squash, depending on the size.

      Reply

  34. Rosslyn

    Made this tonight for dinner.. SO delicious! I had my 92 year old Grandfather over and I was worried he wouldn't eat/like it and I would have to whip up something for him but he loved it so much he said it tasted like "more" ..too bad there wasn't anymore to give him 😛 Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I'm so glad you liked it! It's definitely one of our favorites. It's just a bonus that it's healthy.

      Reply

  35. Tswank

    I'm worried about the raw egg at the end. Can you cook but again after?

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I use raw egg in mayo. and this recipe all the time and don't have a problem. Besides, with this recipe, the heat of the veggies cooks the eggs. If you cooked it again, it would probably make the egg curdle and make the consistency be weird.

      Reply

  36. Deborah

    OMG this is delicious. Only alteration was I added more salt. Has me thinking of lots of other uses for the "cheese" sauce. I put some aside for my vegan daughter before adding the egg --not easy to find recipes that satisfy our paleo/vegan mix household. This one is a winner!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Yes! I usually sneak in a little extra Real Salt and yes, I love how everyone in our family loves this, no matter their diet.

      Reply

  37. Chrisy

    I did not have cauliflower so decided to use mushrooms instead (this also satisfied my urge to always vary a little something in a recipe). Probably the taste is quite different but still it was very delicious. Thank you for the great recipe, Rebecca.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I can't even imagine it on mushrooms, but I'm glad you like it! We put it on lots of things at our house and it gets my children to gobble down their vegetables!

      Reply

  38. Karen

    Can't wait to try this. Forget mac and cheese - one of my all time favourite meals is cauliflower and cheese sauce.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Please let me know if you try it and what you think. I really do love it.

      Reply

  39. Sophie

    Hi! Thank you so much for this recipe. Its so inventive, I had to try it! The children in your video are so cute as well 🙂

    I ended up using olive oil- but in general my dish was very bland! I added cayenne pepper, paprika and nutritional yeast to make it more flavorful and a little corn starch to make the sauce thicker. It still tasted a bit like a cauliflower coconut curry in the end. Is there anything you recommend? Also perhaps baking the dish to mimic the bubbliness of regular mac and cheese? Thanks again! Either way, this is still an incredible side dish 🙂

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      My kids and I love the flavor of it how it is written. Did you use Real Salt? We're insanely in love with Real Salt. It brings out the flavor in everything and is good for you, unlike fake salt, which is horribly bad for you. It isn't the thickest sauce ever, although you can make it thicker by cooking it down. Another thing to try for the flavor is that I often use butternut squash in place for the yellow squash because I think it has more flavor.

      Reply

      • Sophie

        Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for your reply. I did not use Real Salt. In fact I didn't realize the benefit of it, both health wise and flavor until you kindly pointed it out. I'll give that and the butternut squash a go. Thank you. I'm really excited to have found your site 🙂

        Reply

  40. Abraham Lincoln

    This was pretty good. It's also very light so I beefed it up with a few chopped up veggie patties. 7/10 for taste, 10/10 for creativity

    Reply

  41. Sam

    Can I freeze the cheese sauce?

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      We aren't big into freezing things and so I haven't tried it. It is worth a try if you think it would. Let us know how it works out if you try it.

      Reply

    • Abigail

      Did you ever try freezing it? I am wanting to make it in bulk for quick easy meals, wondering if it gets too watery? Thanks!!

      Reply

  42. Anita

    Rebecca, You are a genius! This recipe was very satisfying! And I used your "cheese sauce" recipe to make broccoli "cheese" soup. It was amazing! 1st time I've ever been able to eat broccoli cheese soup. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      That is great! so glad if worked well for you!

      Reply

  43. Leeann

    This is an amazing recipe! I did not have squash so I used a can of pumpkin... it was great! My 11month old LOVES it and so does my husband! Definitely saving this to do again 🙂
    Thank you for sharing it!

    Reply

  44. Leon Vilner

    This looks great. Can I sub Ghee for Butter?

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I am unsure about the ghee but I would give it a try to a small batch to see if it works well for you. We would love to know how it turns out if you try it.

      Reply

  45. Jeanette Mazziotta

    Is there any good substitutions for the coconut milk? I tend to not tolerate that or most nuts.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I haven't used any other milks cause I prefer coconut milk but I think the milk of your choice should work. It will just change the flavor and texture slightly.

      Reply

    • Rebecca

      I haven’t used any other milks cause I prefer coconut milk but I think the milk of your choice should work. It will just change the flavor and texture slightly.

      Reply

  46. Janet Jackson

    How can this be called dairy-free if it calls for butter? I may as well use real cheese. And I'm sure the butter adds much to the authentic cheesy taste.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Many people on a dairy free diet eat butter because it's only the fat portion of the milk (no casein or carrageenan that most people are allergic to). If you don't do butter, then people have said coconut oil works well too.

      Reply

  47. Rachel

    Wow, game changer!

    Reply

  48. Megan

    You have no idea how much this dish has completely lifted my spirits! I started whole30 a week ago today, and I have been having a mad craving for mac and cheese. This dish hit the spot! I'm surprised I could eat that much cauliflower. I used coconut oil in place of ghee, and it was still amazing. This will definitely be one of those recipes I keep around when I am craving my favorites! Thank you!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      You are welcome! I am so glad that is recipe works well for you!

      Reply

  49. Jillian

    Thanks for the recipe! With the cauliflower, I am confused about the small amount of water compared to the large amount of cauliflower. You say to check water levels to make sure there is enough, but a quarter cup is barely enough to even cover the bottom of the pan that I needed to house that much cauliflower. It's also super hard to sauté this much in any size pan. Am I missing something? I used 1.5 heads of it as instructed.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I haven't had any problems easily fitting the cauliflower in a large saute pan...maybe try a bigger pan? You only need a small amount of water because the cauliflower will cook quickly and too much water is not necessary and will make it overly soggy =) But if you find that the cauliflower is not quite cooked and the water has all evaporated, add a little bit more and let it finish cooking.

      Reply

  50. Megan

    This looks so good! Is there anything I can use in place of the egg? I am not able to eat eggs right now. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Unfortunately, the creamy thickness of this sauce is due largely to the addition of the egg yolk. You could simply try omitting it and adding in a little more vegetable to thicken it?

      Reply

      • Megan

        Okay, thank you!

        Reply

        • Ana

          Could you mix a little tapioca starch or arrowroot powder with water and use that as a thickener? Just add a little at a time.

          Reply

  51. Cat

    We tried this last night.

    Only substitutions were 'Nuttelex' (dairy free spread basically) and Sweet Potato instead of Squash (we had neither in the fridge)....

    ...and it is AMAZING! I could drink that sauce everyday for the rest of my life and be happy 🙂 🙂 We all agreed that obviously the 'mac' is not fooling anyone (it's just a concept/play on words after all and you're not pretending it tastes like pasta), but my three year old gobbled it up... and the 'cheese' sauce would easily fool somebody at a dinner party!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      I totally agree. It really doesn't taste like Mac and Cheese but it tastes so good. My dairy-free son and I practically drink this stuff - and I love how it's so healthy and gets us to eat even more veggies. Thanks for your nice comment.

      Reply

  52. John

    How important is the butter? Can we use coconut oil in place of the butter without effecting the taste too much?

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Yes. We have actually done that ourselves and couldn't tell much of a difference.

      Reply

  53. Emma

    Nice recipe. But it should be called "cauliflower and cheese." Calling it "mac and cheese" is misleading.

    Reply

  54. April

    Thank you! We were cast into gf/df purgatory 5 months ago, and this has been a dish we've missed! My kids and I are in heaven! I don't know how you came up with this, but you are a genius. Really tasty.

    Reply

  55. Lynne

    Can extra be heated up as leftovers? Or what about extra sauce, how long does it keep? Thx!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Yes, this can be reheated, but because it used egg yolks it is more likely to curdle if it is microwaved. A gentle reheating method would work best….add a little water to the leftovers and slowly reheat them on the stovetop in a saucepan, stirring occasionally.
      I wouldn’t keep leftovers past three days, as a general rule.

      Reply

  56. Dayna

    What an excellent recipe! Delish. As a side note, we used your "cheese" sauce on paleo nachos - sweet potato chips, guacamole, salsa, green onions, cilantro and your "cheese"! Seriously unreal. Better than the real thing. Thank you!!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Such a sweet comment. I'm glad you like the sauce!

      Reply

  57. Theresa @DearCreatives

    This looks really good. Do you think you could substitute almond milk instead of the coconut milk? I'd love to try this.

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      You could try. It should be fine, the only difference is that the coconut milk is a little bit thicker and helps the overall texture of the sauce be a little thicker.

      Reply

  58. Cydnee

    Wow! This macaroni and cheese looks and sounds delicious. Thank you for joining us at #purebloglove. We enjoy having you every Thursday at 8PM, EST through Sunday night. ~Cydnee

    Reply

  59. Jillian Hudson

    This is a great swap for mac and cheese!

    Reply

  60. Kristin

    I am literally DROOLING right now. This looks incredible! Featured you in my Sunday Funday top five today! 🙂

    Reply

  61. Louise@WillungaWino

    Wow! Does this have a "cheesy" taste? I usually use nutritional yeast, miso & Braggs amino to make a cheesy flavour. Great idea to make it healthy with cauliflower. I found you via a linky party 🙂

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Yes, it has a cheesy taste. Many people use the cheese sauce for other things where a cheese sauce would make sense.

      Reply

  62. Carly

    This looks so good! Will acorn squash work? And how much cauliflower is that cup wise? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      The flavors of acorn squash compared to the summer squash will be a little different, but texture-wise it should work. Let us know how it turns out if you try it! I'm not sure exactly how much cauliflower it is as far as cups go, but if you use 1 1/2 heads of average sized cauliflower, you should be fine.

      Reply

  63. Teresa

    This looks and sounds amazing! I am gluten free and can't wait to try this!! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      You are welcome. Let us know what you think.

      Reply

  64. Moe Jajko

    Will do! Probably won't make it for awhile though.

    If you or anyone else does first, please let me know! 🙂

    Reply

  65. Rebecca Piccolo Baron

    Please let me know if you like it!

    Reply

  66. Moe Jajko

    I will definitely be trying this! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  67. Moe

    Which size can of coconut milk do you use??

    Reply

  68. Katrina

    Hi just made this. It is awesome. Will be passing it on to my mom and a good friend.
    Thanks!

    Reply

  69. CaveGirl Culinarian

    This looks yummy! I'll have to try it soon!

    Reply

  70. Thalia @ butter and brioche

    Love mac and cheese! Definitely going to be making your paleo version, looks seriously delicious.

    Reply

  71. Ginell Lewis

    How do I figure out the nutritional info for one serving

    Reply

  72. Laura

    Made this last night and it was ridiculously good! My husband, a major fan of grains and dairy, actually LOVED it! He had seconds! We paired it with your sweet and sticky BBQ chicken and it was Paleo perfection. He is sold. The sauce legitimately tastes cheesy. I think it would make a really great soup base too... Broccoli cheddar?!? Thanks Rebecca!

    Reply

  73. Anna

    Can any coconut milk taste be detected? I only like coconut milk in sweet, dessert type foods, even then it can't be too noticeable. Looks delicious from the pictures!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Thank you! I don’t find coconut milk to be that noticeable or sweet when I cook with it. Just make sure you buy the unsweetened kind!

      Reply

    • Rebecca

      Thanks you! I don't find it to be particularly 'coconut-y" tasting. The vegetables give it the main flavor. But as it is a personal preference, you'd probably have to try it out to know for sure.

      Reply

  74. Laura

    Hi Rebecca,

    I'm pairing this with your Paleo sweet and sticky BBQ chicken tonight. When I was pregnant I craved BBQ chicken and Mac-n-cheese, and surprisingly still love it! Excited to try these much healthier alternatives.

    Reply

  75. Hilary

    Do you use actual liquid mustard for this or mustard powder? Can't wait to make this tonight!

    Reply

    • Rebecca

      Preferably ground mustard powder, but liquid mustard would work in a pinch.

      Reply

  76. Lydia B.

    Oh my goodness.. I will forever be a fan of macaroni-and-cheese, and this looks DELICIOUS! I love that it's a Paleo recipe. I'm definitely jotting this down to make for the cooler months. (-:

    Reply

  77. Vanessa @ Plaid and Paleo

    OMG! I can't believe this is paleo. This looks absolutely amazing and just like the real thing!

    Reply

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Paleo Mac and Cheese Recipe {Gluten-Free, Clean} - My Natural Family (2024)

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