This Cauliflower Mac & Cheese with Sausage, Kale, and Red Pepper is comfort food at its prime. Cauliflower florets, sausage, Italian kale, and roasted red peppers are enveloped in a seriously creamy cheese sauce, topped with mozzarella balls, and baked until tender and bubbling.
- 600 g (6 cups) cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
- 70 g (2 cups, tightly packed) Lacinato kale, deveined and chopped
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) roasted red peppers, chopped
- 12-16 oz sausage (Kielbasa, bratwurst, Italian, bulk, chorizo - can use link or ground)*
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil, divided (to coat the casserole dish and brown sausage links)
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 6 oz (3/4 cup) whole milk
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) sour cream
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 80 g (1 cup) green onions, chopped
- 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 8 oz (2 cups) cheese, shredded (cheddar, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, Gouda all work great)
- 4 oz mozzarella balls (ciliegine) (may sub for additional shredded cheese if preferred)
- Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C.
- Lightly oil or butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Add cauliflower florets, kale, and red peppers. Reserve to the side.
- In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 2 tsp butter or ghee to melt. Add sausage links to brown turning on each side every ~2 minutes. The sausage does not need to be fully cooked through, you just want to get a nice brown on the outside. Remove from heat, slice into 1/2 inch coins, and reserve to the side. (Alternatively, if you are using ground sausage, brown the sausage, drain excess fat, and reserve sausage to the side).
- In the same saucepan, lower heat to medium-low and add cream cheese, milk, sour cream, and Dijon mustard. Using a whisk, break up the cream cheese until melted. The sauce may look slightly separated as it melts but will emulsify as the cheese is added.
- Slowly add 8 oz (2 cups) of the shredded cheese, about 2 oz (1/2 cup) at a time, whisking each in until fully combined and emulsified.
- Season with salt, pepper, cayenne, and nutmeg, whisking to combine.
- Once the sauce is fully combined and smooth, pour over the top of the cauliflower and kale mixture and add sausage. Fold sauce into the ingredients until well-coated, then add mozzarella cheese balls to the top.
- Cover the casserole dish with tin foil and transfer to the oven to bake for 20-minutes. Carefully remove the casserole dish and remove the tin foil from the top. Return the dish to the oven for a further 20-25-minutes uncovered. The top of the cheese should be slightly blistered and bubbling. I highly recommend letting the dish sit for atleast 10-minutes after removing it from the oven to help allow the cheese sauce to thicken slightly.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
* The most recent photos I took of this dish include sliced kielbasa sausage, but it's good with just about any type of sausage you prefer -- both link-style and ground. I've enjoyed this dish with bratwurst, Italian sausage, chorizo, turkey or chicken sausages, and bulk sausage and it's been great. Not feeling the meat? You are welcome to enjoy this dish sans meat if you prefer or swap in your favorite plant-based alternative. This dish is easily made gluten-free when you select a sausage that is also gluten-free.
- Serving Size: 1 portion
- Calories: 713
- Sugar: 6 g
- Sodium: 1158 mg
- Fat: 59 g
- Saturated Fat: 30 g
- Carbohydrates: 13 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 33 g
- Cholesterol: 170 mg
Keywords: Cauliflower, Sausage, Kale, red pepper, cheese, Mac & Cheese