Cauliflower mac & cheese with hazelnuts

This comforting dish is best served with a crisp salad of bitter greens with a tart dressing to cut through the richness.

  • 25 mins cooking
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Cauliflower mac & cheese with hazelnuts


  • 50 gram butter, coarsely chopped
  • 50 gram plain flour
  • 500 millilitre (2 cups) milk, warmed
  • 120 gram coarsely grated aged cheddar, plus extra for scattering
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon tbsp thyme, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 200 gram dried macaroni
  • 400 gram cauliflower (about 1/3 cauliflower), cut into florets
  • 20 gram hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • bitter green leaf salad, to serve


  • 1
    Preheat grill to high heat. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour and stir until sandy-coloured (2-4 minutes). Gradually whisk in milk and stir until mixture is thick and comes to the boil (2-4 minutes). Stir in cheese, 1 Tbsp thyme and mustard, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 2
    Meanwhile, cook macaroni in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente (5-6 minutes), adding cauliflower after 2 minutes. Drain and return cauliflower and macaroni to pan, then stir in cheese sauce and season to taste. Pour into a large baking dish and scatter with extra cheese.
  • 3
    Combine breadcrumbs, hazelnuts, oil and remaining thyme in a bowl, scatter over cauliflower mixture and grill until golden (3-4 minutes). Serve hot with a bitter green leaf salad.