This Jalapeno Popper Faux Mac & Cheese is just the thing for a make-ahead dish that will wow your family and guests! Just make up a batch of my Jalapeno Popper Pimento Cheese and parboil/bake/or microwave a couple of packages of frozen or fresh cauliflower. Now mix the two together and you’ve got a good side dish for steak or barbeque or a great main dish for lunch.
Just in case you love the flavors of jalapeno poppers and want to jalapeno popper all the things my Jalapeno Popper Pimento Cheese is a great place to start! It actually contains no pimentos but in their place, I subbed jalapeno peppers.
If you use the traditional, pickled jalapenos from a jar you will get a spicy pimento cheese type spread, but if you use my Oven Roasted Bacon and Jalapenos you will get a gourmet style cheese spread that is very reminiscent of stuffed and barbequed or baked jalapenos.
To make this dish I oven roasted my jalapenos and bacon in the oven at breakfast time on Saturday morning and chopped it up and put it away until later.
Saturday evening I added the cheese mixture and made the Jalapeno Popper Pimento Cheese and put it in the fridge so that all I had to do was cook the cauli when I got home from church and briefly reheat the cheese mixture and fold them together.
This Jalapeno Popper Faux Mac & Cheese is yummy with steaks and burgers, but I’ve also served it as a main dish with rotisserie chopped chicken in it.
If you enjoy low carb cheesy dishes you might also love these:
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Jalapeno Popper Faux Mac & Cheese
Yield 4-6 servings
- 6 strips of thick cut bacon (chopped)
- 2 medium whole fresh jalapeno peppers*
- 2 - 10-ounce packages frozen cauliflower
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 4 oz. cream cheese – softened
- 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese*
- 2 tablespoons jalapeno peppers – chopped up well *see note!
- 1/3 cup Duke’s mayonnaise (it needs to spread well)
- 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
This mixture can be either baked or broiled. If the cauli is freshly cooked and hot and the cheese mixture is freshly prepared or briefly warmed from the fridge, just mix the casserole together and put it under the broiler to brown lightly.
- Cook the bacon and whole jalapeno peppers together in a skillet while you assemble the other ingredients. Or use your precooked Oven Roasted Jalapeno Bacon.
- For the stove top, I cook it on low with a cover until it’s done-ish for best flavor, then uncover and crisp on higher heat.
- But I highly recommend that you make my bacon ahead for dishes like this using the oven method that I linked to above. Highly recommend!
- Heat the broth to boiling in a heavy skillet. Add the cauliflower to the broth and cover it with a tight-fitting lid and simmer till done. (Mine takes about 8 minutes to get it just fork tender.) Pour into a colander to drain and set aside.
- Put the cream cheese in a large microwave-safe bowl by itself and microwave it for 30 seconds. It should be mushy and stir-able, not melted.
- Finely grate the cheddar and put it in the bowl with the cream cheese, chopped jalapenos, and mayo.
- Drain and chop the bacon and mix it into the mixture.
- Drop the cheese mixture over the hot cauliflower in a large bowl and gently fold together.
- Mix these together until thoroughly blended.
- Spoon the mixture into an oven safe 12x7 or comparably sized baking pan.
- Place under a pre-heated broiler for just a few minutes until lightly browned.
Want a real jalapeno popper flavor? Try this recipe for Oven Roasted Jalapeno BaconIt is quick and easy and you won’t want to ever make them any other way! (I put these on to roast before I start to grate the cheese…takes about 20-30 minutes)
If you prefer to use the skillet method of cooking these peppers just add them to the skillet with the raw bacon. Do not slice of cut these peppers open, just snap off the stem carefully. If you expose the pepper seeds to the heat they will put off fumes as they cook that are irritating. As long as they are enclosed in the pepper you won't have a problem.
Once the peppers are cooked you can split them open and either chop them up with the seeds in them - that's what I do- or just scoop them out and discard. A lot of the heat comes from the seeds but the dairy in this recipe will neutralize it so it is never super spicy even with the seeds.
For best results in all my recipes grate your own high-quality cheese rather than using the dry, dusted pre-grated.