Creamy organic English cheddar and crispy bacon come together in a delicious low carb faux mac and cheese dish. Who needs noodles when you’ve got cauliflower? This post is sponsored by Kingdom Cheddar.
I have come to the realization that I have been sadly underestimating cheddar cheese for most of my life. Growing up, cheddar was the “basic” cheese, the cheese that we always had a big block of in the fridge but that didn’t really grab my attention in any big way. It was the cheese we put in and on everything. Cheddar was just there and I didn’t think much of it one way or another, although I liked it well enough. I thought cheddar was just cheddar, that it didn’t really have much variety apart from different brand names, but I was sorely mistaken. Over the past few years, I’ve learned a great deal about cheddar and how it varies place to place, region to region. And how the flavour profile changes with age and with the circumstances in which it was aged. It really is a remarkable cheese, with a long history and an amazing array of varieties. There’s nothing basic about cheddar.
If you’ve ever had English Cheddar, you’ll know what I mean. England is, of course, the birthplace of cheddar, and English cheddar is very distinct from the American varieties. It can be quite sharp, which I love, with a nutty finish. I am probably doing English cheddar a great disservice by lumping it all in together under one name. I am sure it has as many distinct varieties and tastes as American cheddar, but I haven’t yet had the chance to sample English cheddar to that extent.
I did, however, get the opportunity to sample Kingdom Cheddar recently, a British import that is the first and only European cheese to be certified organic by the USDA. This award-winning cheese is true cheddar, in that it actually comes from the Cheddar region of England. But it can be found on this side of the pond now and if you’re a cheese fanatic, it’s a must try. My little tasting tip: try it at room temperature. Cheddar really is best when it’s not straight of the fridge. The flavours mellow and mature and it becomes a little less sharp on the tongue. Check out where to find Kingdom Cheddar here.
I wanted to create a recipe with this lovely cheddar that really played up the English cheddar flavour, without overpowering it. I wanted something simple and healthy and easy to make. The Kingdom cheddar is very smooth and buttery, so I knew it would melt well and be perfect in a low carb cauliflower mac and cheese. I added a little bacon for a heartier dish, and in the hopes that it would entice my kids to eat some. My middle child loved it and has already asked me to make some again, which I will happily do. This was a wonderfully satisfying veggie dish full of great English Cheddar flavour. Noodles and mild cheese need not apply.
PS – the leftovers make a great breakfast!
Cauliflower Mac ‘N Cheese with English Cheddar and Bacon
- 1 medium head cauliflower
- 6 slices bacon chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 5 ounces good English Cheddar such as Kingdom, grated
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 cup sliced green onion
- Cut cauliflower into florets and place into a large pot with about 1 inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and steam until it can be pierced with a fork but isn't mushy, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Drain well, then return to the warm pot for a few minutes to draw out more moisture. Drain again.
- Meanwhile, add bacon to the pot and cook over medium heat until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but 2 tbsp of bacon grease from the pot and return to heat.
- Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds, then add whipping cream and bring to just a simmer. Add the cheddar and stir until melted.
- Remove from heat and quickly whisk in xanthan gum to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Using your fingers, shred cauliflower into small macaroni-sized pieces and place in the bottom of a casserole dish or a cast iron skillet. Sprinkle with bacon. Pour cheese sauce evenly over the cauliflower and top with additional grated cheese, if desired.
- Bake until bubbly and browned on top, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions and serve.
Saturated fatty acids: 15.31g
Total fat: 24.54g
Calories from fat: 220
Total dietary fiber: 2.17g
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Kingdom Cheddar. As always, all thoughts, opinions, recipes, photography, random tangents and incoherent ramblings are my own.