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Stovetop Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese
with spinach / cauliflower / sundried tomatoes

Active: 40 Total: 40

A quick, stovetop mac and cheese is so much fun to customize. Smoky cheese and sundried tomatoes make this version feel sophisticated without any extra work.
Smarts: The keys to avoiding gritty mac and cheese are 1) to grate the cheese yourself, avoiding pre-grated cheese and 2) to add the cheese in small increments, whisking well after each addition. 



Stovetop Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese:
  • Cauliflower - 12 oz , finely chopped
  • Garlic - 2 cloves , chopped
  • Cheese, smoked Gouda - 6 oz , grated (sub regular Gouda or white cheddar; don't buy pre-shredded cheese as it can make the finished dish grainy)
  • Sundried tomatoes - 1/2 cup , drained and chopped
  • Pasta, elbow macaroni - 8 oz (sub any short pasta shape)
  • Butter - 2 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp
  • Panko breadcrumbs - 1/3 cup
  • Flour, all-purpose - 2 Tbsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Red pepper flakes (opt) - 1/4 tsp
  • Milk - 1 1/2 cups
  • Baby spinach - 5 oz


  1. Cauliflower / Garlic / Cheese / Sundried tomatoes - (If prepping right before cooking, get water heating for pasta first.) Prep as directed and store separately. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)

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  1. Bring a large stockpot of well-salted water to a boil.

  2. When water is boiling, add pasta. Cook until al dente, tender but not soggy. About 2-3 minutes before pasta is finished, add in cauliflower. Reserve about ½ cup of the pasta water (amount for 4 servings, adjust if customizing), then drain.

  3. While water is boiling / pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add first portion of butter until melted. Add panko with a pinch of salt. Saute until panko is lightly toasted and golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Set panko aside and wipe out pan.

  4. Return pan to heat and add second portion of butter.

  5. When butter is melted and bubbly, add flour, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes (if using). Stir until no dry spots of flour remain.

  6. Slowly pour milk into the pan while whisking. Continue whisking vigorously until everything is evenly combined. Heat milk until it begins to simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.

  7. Remove pan from heat. Add grated cheese a bit at a time, whisking the sauce well between each addition.

  8. Reduce heat to the lowest possible setting and return pan to the stove. Fold sundried tomatoes and spinach into sauce and stir until spinach has wilted. Fold pasta and cauliflower into sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water, then season to taste with some salt and pepper.

  9. Serve pasta with panko breadcrumbs sprinkled over top for some crunch. Enjoy!



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