This dish was one of my “Sunday” creations (the one day a week I get to cook since I travel so much), and I was fortunate enough to share it with my cooking buddy Carol who made an amazing smoked chicken with 19 spices!  The combination of the smoked chicken and and cheesy goodness was very nice!

One thing I really miss on the paleo diet is Mac & Cheese. I personally subscribe to the 80/20 model (80% strict paleo, 20% cheat).  Problem is, I get so sick with the gluten, that I all but swore off my favorite comfort food!

[going primal]

So Carol challenged me the other day to make a “Mac” & Cheese dish worthy of my 20%… I reached back into my bag of tricks and modified an old favorite of mine to be, if not paleo, at least primal “Mac” & Cheese!

[the dilemma]

Alright, so keeping it as paleo as possible, I opted to not skimp on the cheese.  For the most part, all organic full-fat cheeses were used… as for the “Mac”?  I was torn between the go-to cauliflower and a zucchini method I read about online… so I chose both!

[the method]

I tried to make the zucchini as “pasta” like as possible by cutting it into little strips… I peeled it, then sliced it and made little rectangles…

01 Zucchini

I wanted to do the same with the Cauliflower, but I couldn’t.  So I just pulsed it in the food processor until it had the consistency of rice…

03 Cauliflower Riced

[the good stuff]

Here’s what makes this recipe amazing!  I took a handful of garlic heads and a peeled/sliced sweet potato and boiled until soft (I did the garlic first for two minutes, then the sweet potato for about five).

I sautéed some diced onion along with the sweet potatoes with a little EVOO and butter until slightly caramelized:

05 Sliced Sweet Potatoes Caramelized

I diced the sweet potatoes and mixed in the garlic (pressed) and some rosemary and set aside.

For the cheese sauce, I heated three cups of half/half and stirred in three tbsp of almond flour.  Since almond flour doesn’t quite behave like all-purpose flour, we tempered three egg yolks into the cream to add some thickness.

I stirred in some gruyere cheese and some Italian blend shredded cheese.  I happened to have some shredded cheddar and threw that in the mix as well.  Stirred and stirred until it got nice and thick and gooey (all the cheese melted).  I added two tbsp of coconut flower in hopes of absorbing some of the extra moisture I expected to get from the zucchini, and I stirred in some chipotle chili powder and a touch of ghost pepper salt for that after-kick!  Finally a little pink Himalayan salt & fresh ground pepper to taste.

I then added the cheese mixture to a large bowl with the sweet potato mixture, cauliflower, and zucchini and mixed it all up.

I pressed it into a greased large casserole dish and baked at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

[the topping]

While it was baking, I made a crunchy topping by crushing sweet potato chips with EVOO, garlic powder, and a touch of white truffle oil (okay, I know that’s a bit overkill, but I couldn’t help myself!).  I mixed in some blue cheese crumbles and topped the mac & cheese before broiling until crispy

06 Finished

[the results]

So… the flavor is amazing… no doubt!

As for the “mac”, I think I may try using a lot more zucchini and leaving out the cauliflower… not for flavor, but more for consistency…  Any ideas on what to use?

Gourmet "Mac" & Cheese with Caramelized Sweet Potato & Crunchy Blue Cheese Topping
 
Ingredients
  • 3 large zucchini
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 cups half & half
  • 3 tbsp almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • ½ chipotle chili powder
  • ⅛ tsp ghost pepper salt (optional)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup gruyere shredded
  • 2 cups Italian blend cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 4 tbsp grass-fed butter
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • ½ cup cheddar
  • ½ c Italian blend
  • 1 c sweet potato chips
  • ¼ c blue cheese crumbles (optional)
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • Evoo
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Touch of truffle oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut zucchini into rectangles; chop cauliflower w/food processor.
  3. Blanch garlic and boil sweet potatoes; press garlic and set aside.
  4. Caramelize sweet potatoes with onions in EVOO and butter; dice sweet potatoes, set aside.
  5. For sauce, melt butter, and slowly add half/half stirring until warm. Add almond flour and stir until fully incorporated. Temper egg yolks into the mixture and then add all cheese. Stir until fully melted.
  6. Add seasonings to taste.
  7. Add zucchini, cauliflower, garlic, sweet potato mixture, and cheese mixture to a mixing bowl and stir to incorporate.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes
  9. While baking, make crunchy topping by crushing sweet potato chips; add EVOO, remaining Italian cheese, blue cheese, salt & pepper, & truffle oil
  10. After 35 minutes has passed, put the oven to broil and add the topping; broil until topping is golden brown.