Parents are always trying to get their kids to eat more veggies. (Also, some parents—ahem, me—are trying themselves to consume more veggies).
Back in the day, my mom would make cauliflower or broccoli or both and smother it in some super awesome Velveeta sauce. I know, you want to be grossed out right now, but you know that fake cheese sauce is pretty delicious.
But these days, we try to use more wholesome, healthful ingredients and stay away from processed snacks and cheeses. But that’s no reason not to still smother your kids’ veggies (and yours) in some slightly healthier cheese sauce.
This recipe calls for canned pumpkin, but you could also use fresh pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, or kabocha. The squash adds creaminess, bright orange color (which kids love) and, oh yeah, it’s healthy too.
For one other variation on this recipe, you could mix together cooked whole wheat pasta and steamed cauliflower cut into small florets with the cheese sauce for a hearty, healthy, and kid-friendly macaroni and cheese.
1 medium head of cauliflower
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup whole milk or 2% milk
½ cup reserved cooking water
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
½ cup – 1 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese (or mixture)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Chop cauliflower into small florets.
Cook cauliflower 5-7 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and set aside, reserving ½ cup cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk 2-3 minutes until you have a golden paste. Add milk and continue to whisk. When sauce begins to thicken, add ½ cup cooking water from the cauliflower and whisk.
Add pumpkin and whisk until smooth. Add cheese and whisk until completely melted. Add salt and pepper to taste. Can also add pinch of ground nutmeg if desired.
Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower. Serve warm.