Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheesy Pasta Bake

Prep Time:20 mins, Cook Time: 5 mins , Total Time: 25 mins

April 8, 2014

Eat Your Veg | Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheesy Pasta Bake

I was mightily chuffed with this dinner as it was a major first in the Foti household. Frannie actually ate pasta with cheese sauce. Ever since she was a teeny weaning baby she’s really disliked macaroni cheese. Being an all out childhood favourite of my own I’ve always found it unfathomable, naturally assuming all children were equally as comforted by a bowl of the goodly stuff. But how wrong was I! I’ve no idea how many times I’ve made it over the years and each and every time she’s flatly refused a second spoonful. Riding on the wave of a recent breakthrough into her suddenly loving cauli cheese, I thought I’d combine it with broccoli (another fave) and pasta twists and cover in appealing cheesy breadcrumbs and see if she might just go for it. And that she did.ย Unbelievably she ate the lot passing no comment whatsoever to suggest she wasn’t enjoying it!. A right royal result to Mummy I say. And a very tasty Foti Family Favourite is born.

We’ve started buying and eating wholewheat pasta lately. So much better for you than the white refined stuff which has had all the good fiber removed. Not only are you missing out on nutrients but without the fiber pasta turns to sugar very quickly when it’s digested. Wholewheat pasta releases sugars more slowly and makes you feel satisfied for longer, which has to be a good thing. Other than Jacques asking if the pasta was ‘dirty’ and ‘has it got soil on it Mummy?’ the kids have eaten it without any fuss, Frannie’s not even noticed!. I should confess that I avoided wholewheat pasta myself for years, I have many a dismal memory of my Mum serving it with one of her low fat yoghurt sauces, usually curdled and always unappetising. It’s funny that ordinarily she’s an amazing and highly accomplished cook but during my teenage years she did push the healthy eating a little too far!

Eat Your Veg | Cauliflower & Broccoli Wholemeal Pasta Bake

I’m entering the post to a number of challenges:

1) To the Four Seasons Food challenge I co-host with Anneli. This month she’s hosting the event at Delicieux and the theme’s Celebrating Vegetables, which indeed my pasta bake does!

2) To Extra Veg, an event jointly hosted by Utterly Scrummy and Fuss Free Flavours.

3) To Ren Behan‘s Simple and in Season, this month hosted by Utterly Scrummy, as cauli’s in season right now.

4) And finally to A Mummy Too‘s Recipe of the Week

Caul & Broc Cheese Challenge Logos

The Good Stuff:

Wholemeal pasta, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cheese, Milk

Great For:

Toddlers, Big Kids, Grown Ups, Family Meals, Lunch, Dinner, Making Ahead, Freezing, Hiding a few extra veggies, Mac ‘n Cheese Fans


Serves a family of four

Special Equipment:

A small grill proof dish, about 20 x 20cm

Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheesy Pasta Bake

Ingredients Prep Time:20 mins, Cook Time: 5 mins , Total Time: 25 mins

To Serve a Family of Four:
1 small cauliflower
1 broccoli head
180g wholewheat pasta shapes

For the Cheese Sauce:
40g butter
40g plain flour
600ml whole or semi skimmed milk, organic if possible
80g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon English mustard
salt and pepper

For the Topping:
3 heaped tablespoons dry breadcrumbs (about 30g)
1 heaped tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 20g)

1) Cut the cauliflower and broccoli in to large spears or pieces, steam or boil until tender (about 10 minutes).
2) Cook the pasta to packet instructions until al dente (about 10 to 12 minutes), drain and set aside.
3) Whilst the veggies and pasta are cooking make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter on a gentle heat in a medium sized saucepan, stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Allow to cook for a moment or two before gradually adding the milk. Keep briskly stirring with the spoon or a whisk as you do so until all the milk’s incorporated. Whilst stirring continuously bring the sauce to a simmer. Stir in the cheese and mustard and take off the heat. Season with a little black pepper and salt if you wish (no salt for small children).
4) Place the veggies and pasta in a small grill proof dish of about 20 x 20 cm. Pour over the cheese sauce. Top with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan.
5) Place under a hot grill for a few minutes to brown the topping.

You might also like:

13 thoughts on “Cauliflower & Broccoli Cheesy Pasta Bake

  1. Janice Pattie (@FarmersgirlCook)

    Oh my this takes me back. As a child I hated cooked cheese, my mum used to slip little pieces of cheese into scrambled eggs and give it to me when I was watching Blue Peter so I wouldn’t notice! That all ended when I went for tea at my friend, Anne’s house. I would be about seven years old at the time and in those days you simply didn’t refuse food when you were out visiting. Imagine my horror when Anne’s Mum produced Cauliflower Cheese for our tea! However, I dutifully ate it all up and found that I actually enjoyed it. I was not so perverse as to cnntinue to refuse cooked cheese and I’m so glad I learned to love it. ‘Thank you very much for having me’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Karen

    What a BRILLIANT recipe for a simple mid-week meal Lou and as Janice says, this recipe takes me back……mum used to make something like this when we had a meat free day towards the end of the month! Karen

  3. Sophie at Franglaise Cooking

    There is nothing I don’t like here, this looks like the perfect dish – pasta, cheese and my fave veg ๐Ÿ™‚ I like the addition of breadcrumbs on top, especially as I often have some in the freezer. We really must try to go more wholemeal, but it’s not very French so it’s hard to convince my French husband ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Janie

    Funny how kids can go right off a food isn’t it? When I was little my Grandad gave me a Toblerone and it made me REALLY sick! I’ve never to this day eaten one since and even the sight of that triangular box makes me fell nauseous ๐Ÿ™‚
    Janie x

  5. Ren Behan

    Thank you so much for sending this across to Michelle for Simple and in Season – I have all the ingredients for this and may well make it tonight!

  6. Anneli Faiers

    What a great family dish ๐Ÿ™‚ Cauliflower NEEDS cheese – FACT. And broccoli just loves it too. This is lovely and healthy and hearty. A really lovely entry for FSF this month so thanks Lou. Hugs to you all. xxx

  7. Choclette

    Haha, I grew up with a health freak and wholewheat pasta, wholemeal flour and everything whole food was my diet. Luckily she was a great cook, so it wasn’t such a hardship although I so craved the sweets and fizzy pop everyone else seemed to live on. But for some reason, much as I loved pasta and cheese I wasn’t that fond of macaroni cheese. Now I love it, so your daughter is not alone!

    This bake looks fab and I’d love a big bowlful of it right now.

    1. Louisa

      Oh me too, used to crave Coke and McDonalds or Burger King but the reality was I didn’t actually like them much anyway…and still detest them to this day!. It’s funny now that I have my own kids I try to strike a balance with them and not go too far down one route but I just can’t help myself sometimes. I wonder what they’ll be saying about me in twenty years time!. I really thought my daughter was the only person ever to not adore macaroni cheese, glad she wasn’t alone!.



Your email address will not be published.