Jalapeño Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Jalapeño mac and cheese is perfect for warming up on winter weeknights. With roasted cauliflower & fresh kale, it's filling, simple & nutritious.

Jalapeño & Roasted Cauliflower Mac & Cheese

Hi everyone, Jack here reporting in from the frozen tundra of Chicago. We flew in for a quick weekend over Jeanine’s birthday (happy birthday!!!) and it is just beyond cold. Austin’s apparently snowing today, but still, not much prepares you for walking outside into 9ºF (-13ºC) weather from a nice, warm airport.

This blog is almost always about making meals completely from scratch, but it’s cold times like this that sometimes you just want to pour a box of mac and cheese into a pot and go to town. Well we did that, posted a photo here on Instagram, and people went crazy for it. So this barely qualifies as a recipe, but our Instagram has spoken, and who are we to deny the people what they want?

Of course, we had to add some kale to it, jalapeños for some kick, roasted cauliflower, and a little fontina cheese. In case you want to make your own jalapeño mac and cheese a bit fancier, check out some of our other recipes whose sauces you may want to borrow:

Also, one last time, happy birthday, Jeanine. I LOVE YOU!!!

4.6 from 7 reviews

Jalapeño Cauliflower Shells & Cheese

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Jalapeño mac & cheese is a great weeknight dinner! Roasted cauliflower & fresh kale add extra bulk and nutrients to this vegetarian recipe.
Recipe type: Main Dish
  • 3 cups cauliflower florettes
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • Annie's Shells & White Cheddar Mac & Cheese (+ some almond milk)
  • (or 1.5 cups uncooked shells and sauce from here, here, or here)
  • ½-1 jalapeño, sliced
  • two handfuls of finely chopped kale
  • extra splashes of plain almond milk
  • grated fontina cheese
  • salt & pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Toss cauliflower with a little olive oil, salt & pepper and roast on a baking sheet for 30 minutes (or until golden brown)
  3. Prepare your shells and cheese (according to the box), or make your sauce and cook your shells. Mix together, adding enough almond milk to make it creamy.
  4. To your pot of mac & cheese (while it's still hot), add chopped jalapeños, kale and stir until the kale wilts. Stir in the roasted cauliflower, and a grating of fontina cheese if you like. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. Curl up on the couch under a blanket and enjoy!



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. Jill

    I made this for lunch today and it was so satisfying! For extra cheese, I only had parm but that worked great :). Totally making this again soon!

  2. Scott

    I haven’t made boxed mac and cheese in years but decided to try this recipe anyway. I was skeptical, but I am glad I tried it. I am also glad I doubled the recipe. 🙂 Will definitely be making it again!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Ha, glad you liked the combo!

  3. Krista

    we loved this recipe! except we made it with TWO boxes of shells and cheese instead of 1… haha whoops…

    these recipes are fun – loving your site!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.