With a creamy, gooey cheese sauce over perfectly cooked cauliflower….this recipe for Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese is comfort food at it’s best, AND a genius way to use up that leftover ham!
Who doesn’t love Mac and Cheese?
When the festive dust settles and we’ve eaten more food than we should have, there’s still that leftover ham and turkey in the fridge to deal with. This droolworthy low-carb recipe for Mac and Cheese (without the mac or macaroni obviously!) will hit the spot on a night when you need a fast and easy recipe that uses up what you have on hand.
Cauliflower is one of my favorite low-carb vegetables and I love that there are so many ways to cook it.
From boiling to roasting to making cauliflower rice or cauliflower mash it is a true keto diet staple. You can even make these delicious Keto Cauliflower Wings.
To make this recipe keto-friendly, we’ve replaced the macaroni with cauliflower. Use frozen cauliflower florets if you have some lurking in the freezer or use fresh. What I love about this recipe is that the creamy sauce can be served over pasta for your kids or family members that turn their noses up at cauliflower or low-carb mac and cheese!
For more ideas on how to feed your family when they want their carbs, read 5 Building Block for Ketogenic Family Meals.
You’ll love this creamy mac and cheese because:
- You’ll have a healthy dinner ready in 25 minutes
- Easily caters for carb eaters (serve over pasta)
- Uses up leftover ham (or turkey)
- The recipe comes together in 5 simple steps
- It’s low-carb, ketogenic and gluten-free
- It’s oh-so cheesey and creamy comfort food
- The cheese sauce keeps for a few days – a leftovers leftover!!
How to make Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Ham
Start by cooking the cauliflower – boil, steam or microwave.
Chop up ham or turkey if using.
Gather butter, chicken broth, cream, cream cheese, shredded cheese.
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Stir in chicken broth, cream, cream cheese and whisk for 3-4 minutes until smooth and lumps are gone.
Add shredded cheese to the saucepan and stir until it has melted. Continue to stir until the sauce is hot and has thickened (about 3 minutes).
Pour the cheese sauce over the cooked cauliflower and leftover ham. Allow to rest for 5 minutes to thicken and serve hot!
Cooking Tips & Tricks for Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Ham
- Can I use fresh cauliflower? Yes, fresh cauliflower can be used instead of frozen.
- Cooking fresh cauliflower: Cut the cauliflower into small florets and either boil or steam for 5-7 minutes or microwave cauliflower in a cling film or plate covered bowl for 1-2 minutes. The smaller you cut the florets, the quicker they will cook.
- Seasoning? I did not add any salt or pepper as I felt the flavors from the broth, cheese and ham were more than enough
- Does cream cheese need to be at room temperature? For best results, it should be at room temperature and whisking will yield smoothest results. If your cream cheese is still cold, microwave for 30-40 seconds on 50% power.
- Sauce is too thin? Cheese sauce will quickly thicken after removing from heat, so allow 5 minutes for it to rest and thicken up
- Serving carb eaters? This Keto Mac and Cheese recipe is perfect to serve carb eaters because the sauce is cooked separately so can be poured over your cauliflower and ham OR hot pasta.
- Leftover sauce? I didn’t use the full amount of sauce but it will be personal preference as to how much cheese sauce each person prefers. Store leftover sauce in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop for another meal!
- Can I use pre-grated cheese? You can use store-bought grated cheese for convenience, however, grating it from a cheese block will ensure that it melts more smoothly due to the anticaking agents used.
HOW DO YOU COOK CAULIFLOWER FLORETS?
Methods for cooking fresh cauliflower florets:
- Boil in a saucepan of boiling water for 5-7 minutes until tender
- Steam for 5-7 minutes until tender
- Microwave in a microwave proof bowl, covered in 2 layers of cling film for 1 minute. Check if cauliflower is tender and if not, microwave again for 30 seconds. Repeat until cooked
- Roasted in a 350F (180c) oven for 20 minutes. Toss cauliflower in a little olive oil and salt and pepper before baking.
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★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
Keto Cauliflower Mac and Cheese with Ham
- 24 oz frozen cauliflower florets or fresh
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (stock)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 6 oz shredded sharp white cheddar cheese or any shredded cheese
- 1 cup leftover ham diced
- Boil, steam or microwave cauliflower according to package directions until tender, about 10 minutes and drain
- In the meantime, heat butter in saucepan until melted
- Stir in chicken broth, heavy cream and cream cheese and whisk until smooth, about 3-4 minutes
- Add shredded cheese and continue to stir until melted and smooth and sauce is heated through and thickened (about 3 minutes)
- Stir together cooked cauliflower with desired amount of cheese sauce and leftover ham and allow to rest for about 5 minutes to thicken before serving
- Cooking fresh cauliflower: either boil or steam for 5-7 minutes or microwave cauliflower in a cling film or plate covered bowl for 1-2 minutes
- Cream cheese: For best results, it should be at room temperature and whisking will yield smoothest results. If your cream cheese is still cold, microwave for 30-40 seconds on 50% power.
- Sauce is too thin? Sauce will quickly thicken after removing from heat, so allow 5 minutes for it to rest and thicken up
- Serving carb eaters? This recipe is perfect to serve carb eaters because the sauce is cooked separately so can be poured over your cauliflower and ham OR hot pasta.
- Leftover sauce? Store leftover sauce in the fridge for 3-4 days and reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop for another meal!
- Can I use pre-grated cheese? Grated cheese from a block will melt more smoothly but pre-shredded can be used.
★ Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating below!
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