Baked Shells and Cheese with Cauliflower and Ham

If you have mac and cheese fans, then you'll love this baked version that incorporates cauliflower into the pasta and cheese mixture.


8 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

Recipe from

Oxmoor House

Nutritional Information

Calories 309
Caloriesfromfat 0.0 %
Fat 9.1 g
Satfat 4.7 g
Monofat 2.7 g
Polyfat 0.5 g
Protein 20.3 g
Carbohydrate 36.5 g
Fiber 3.9 g
Cholesterol 34 mg
Iron 1.8 mg
Sodium 674 mg
Calcium 345 mg


8 cups water
7 cups small cauliflower florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
2 1/3 cups uncooked small seashell pasta
1.1 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1/4 cup)
3 cups 1% low-fat milk
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup diced cooked extra-lean ham (4 ounces)
Cooking spray
2 (1-ounce) slices whole-wheat bread
2 teaspoons butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Bring 8 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan; add cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling water, and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Remove cauliflower with a slotted spoon to a large bowl, reserving cooking liquid; set cauliflower aside. Bring cooking liquid to a rolling boil. Add pasta, and cook 6 minutes or until al dente; drain and add to cauliflower in bowl.

3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and milk in a medium saucepan, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in garlic; cook over medium-high heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, cheeses, mustard, and pepper. Pour cheese sauce over cauliflower mixture; add ham, stirring to coat. Spoon cauliflower mixture into a 13 x 9–inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.

4. Tear bread slices into quarters. Place bread in food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1 cup. Combine breadcrumbs with butter; sprinkle evenly over cauliflower mixture. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.


Young Chefs can:

Break cauliflower into small pieces, and place in measuring cups

Tear bread slices into quarters


Older Chefs can:

Dice ham with dinner knife

Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture