This healthy Mac n' Cheese makes an easy weeknight dinner, ready in about 30 minutes. I love how you can sneak an entire pound of cauliflower into this pasta, because it practically dissolves when you give it a stir after cooking it in the Instant Pot. Vegan & gluten-free variations are included!
1poundwhole wheat macaroni(see gluten-free option, if needed)
2tablespoonssoy sauce(or tamari, for gluten-free)
1tablespoonspicy brown mustard
1 1/2teaspoonsfine sea salt
1poundcauliflower florets(fresh or frozen)
4ouncesextra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/4cup grated parmesan(or other choice, like Gruyere)
Pour the pasta into the Instant Pot and add the water, soy sauce, mustard, and salt. Stir well to combine, then add the cauliflower on top without stirring, making sure that the cauliflower layer completely covers the pasta for even cooking.
Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual or Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 3 minutes. While the pot is coming to pressure, shred the Cheddar (you should have about 1 cup).
When the cooking cycle is complete, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes (so don't touch the pot until 10 minutes has passed), then move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure.
When the floating valve drops, remove the lid and stir the pasta well, using a spatula to break up any pasta that has stuck together or stuck to the bottom of the pot. (A little sticking is to be expected, but it will loosen up when you stir.) Use the spatula to mash any intact cauliflower florets against the side of the pot to help them dissolve into the pasta sauce.
Add the Cheddar and Parmesan and stir well. Adjust the seasonings as needed and serve warm. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4 days.
All of the recipes in The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook are gluten-free or include a gluten-free modification, and there is also a tested vegan modification for most recipes, too. Other than this Mac n' Cheese recipe, all of the sauces are all naturally vegan and dairy-free, to make swapping out the protein easy. Make it Vegan: Use store-bought vegan cheese, or make a cashew “cheese” sauce. Soak 1 cup raw cashews for 1 hour, then drain and rinse. In a blender, combine 2 cups of the water with the cashews, 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add the blended mixture to the Instant Pot, along with the remaining 2 cups water and the rest of the ingredients. Cook as directed. Stir in an additional 1/2 cup water after cooking for a creamier sauce.
Make it Gluten-Free: Omit the macaroni and soy sauce, and use gluten-free pasta and tamari instead. Use only 3 cups water and cook on high pressure for 0 minutes (see page 17). Let the pressure naturally release for 8 minutes, then continue as directed above.