This casserole is a great substitute when you’re craving mac and cheese but don’t want to eat a bunch of refined carbs. Hearty whole-grain farro is mixed with tender cauliflower florets, and then smothered in a gooey cheese sauce made with skim milk.

Recipe courtesy of Chia, Quinoa, Kale, Oh My! By Cassie Johnston.

Get more protein-packed vegetarian recipes here.


  • 1 cup farro
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp white whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ½ cup freshly shredded Fontina cheese
  • ½ cup freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the farro and broth over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the farro is tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Meanwhile, bring a large pot full of water to a boil, add the cauliflower florets, and cook until fork tender, but not mushy, about 5 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
  2. While the farro and cauliflower are cooking, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the flour, and continue to whisk constantly for 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the skim milk while whisking. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cheeses, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To assemble the casserole, stir together the farro, cauliflower, and cheese sauce until everything is well-coated. Pour into a casserole dish, and then sprinkle the top with the bread crumbs. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes, removing the foil during the last 10 minutes to brown the bread crumbs.
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