A delicious twist on macaroni cheese, this Cauliflower, Broccoli and Bacon Pasta Bake is a quick and easy midweek meal that’s packed full of flavour and a real crowdpleaser!
Cauliflower cheese meets macaroni cheese!
Cauliflower cheese and macaroni cheese are two of my favourite things… combining them seems an obvious thing to do… but why stop there? This recipe also features broccoli and bacon – to take this pasta bake to the next level of yumminess.
This Cauliflower, Broccoli and Bacon Pasta Bake recipe is a real crowdpleaser – there are always clean plates when I serve it, and it’s one of my family’s most requested recipes!
So easy to make!
One of the best things about this recipe is it is very easy to make – even the cheese sauce! All you have to is boil the pasta, cauliflower and broccoli. Meanwhile make my easy simple cheese sauce and fry off the bacon lardons. Finally, place everything in an oven dish and bake for 15 minutes, or until brown and bubbling.
What to serve with Cauliflower, Broccoli and Bacon Pasta Bake
This Cauliflower, Broccoli and Bacon Pasta Bake is a complete meal on its own, but I like to serve it with a simple side salad. You could also add a side of garlic bread if you feel the need for more carbs… or if you want to stretch this dish a little further.
What to drink with Cauliflower, Broccoli and Bacon Pasta Bake
This simple pasta bake goes really well with a New World Sauvignon Blanc – from somewhere like Chile or New Zealand. Alternatively, it works well with an oaked Chardonnay or a Chenin Blanc.
At a push this would also work with red wine. I would probably opt for something like a Merlot here.
Can you reheat Pasta Bake?
Yes, you can. Just bear in mind that reheating will make the pasta softer, and the sauce will be totally absorbed by the pasta. So, personally I wouldn’t deliberately make this ahead of time – it’s so much nicer made fresh. But if you find yourself with leftovers, they can absolutely be reheated.
Place any leftover pasta bake in a lidded container in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in an oven pre-heated to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6 / 400F for 10-15 minutes, or until piping hot all the way through. Alternatively, you can reheat the pasta bake in the microwave, if you prefer.
Can you freeze Pasta Bake?
Technically, yes. This freezes fine. I have to admit, I am not the biggest fan of frozen and re-heated pasta. But if this does not bother you, then it’s totally fine to freeze this. Place the cooked and cooled pasta bake in a lidded container in the freezer, where it will keep for up to 1 month.
Defrost overnight in the fridge and reheat as above.
If you like this recipe…
…you might also like:
Cauliflower, Broccoli and Bacon Pasta Bake
- 300 g pasta shapes (I use fusilli, but penne also works well)
- 250 g cauliflower cut into bitesize pieces
- 250 g broccoli cut into bitesize pieces
- 200 g lardons or diced bacon (I use Tesco Finest Lardons)
- 30 g butter
- 25 g plain flour (AKA all purpose flour)
- 500 ml milk
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard or to taste
- Salt and black pepper to taste (see Note 1)
- 200 g mature cheddar cheese grated (I use Davidstow Mature Cheddar)
- Pre-heat your oven to 220C / 200C fan / gas mark 7 / 425F.
- Cook the pasta according to the pack instructions / your own preferences in a large saucepan. (See Note 2.) For best results, slightly undercook the pasta. This is because the pasta will cook a little more when baked in the oven.
- Add the broccoli and cauliflower to the pasta pan for the last 4 minutes of cooking time. (See Note 2.) When the broccoli, cauliflower and pasta have finished cooking, drain and tip into a large, shallow oven dish.
- Meanwhile, place the lardons in a small frying pan over a high heat and fry until crisp and golden (about 3 minutes). Turn off the heat and tip into the oven dish.
- Next, make the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a medium sized pan over a low heat. When the butter is foaming, add the flour and stir until it’s mixed in. Then keep cooking for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. It takes guts to do this. It looks like something is going to go wrong but it won’t!
- Very gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Make sure each bit of milk is incorporated before adding the next bit. If you do this slowly on a very low heat, you should end up with a perfectly smooth cheese sauce with no lumps and no need to whisk. However, if it does go wrong for some reason, you can always use a whisk to beat out the lumps.
- When all the milk is incorporated, add the mustard, salt (if using – see Note 1.) and pepper. Then add half the cheese, stir to combine and turn off the heat.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta, vegetables and lardons (which should by now be in the oven dish), stir to mix everything together and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
- Bake in your preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until brown and bubbling.
- Serve on its own or with a green salad and/or garlic bread.
- I only use black pepper as I find the cheese and bacon add enough salty flavour to this dish
- To minimise the number of pans you use, I advise using a large pan to cook the pasta and then adding the vegetables to this pan for the last 4 minutes of the pasta cooking time. If you do not have a pan large enough, simply boil the vegetables in a separate pan.
- Suitable for freezing.
- Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
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Delicious. I didn’t thicken the sauce enough before adding the cheese, but nevertheless everyone loved it.
Eb Gargano says
Aw, that’s so great to hear! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a review… and especially for the 5* rating! 😀