Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

By Alexandra Caspero on March 20, 2023
A nice break from ordinary red sauce based pastas! Roasted cauliflower with lemon and garlic breadcrumbs.
Serves 4

Roasted cauliflower pasta with lemon, garlic, parsley, and toasted garlic breadcrumbs. A delicious plant-based meal that’s perfect for weeknights.

Back with another pasta recipe for you—this time with plenty of perfectly roasted cauliflower, garlic breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and plenty of lemon.

If you’re looking for a fun twist on pasta, you’ve got to try this roasted cauliflower pasta recipe.

Cauliflower Pasta Recipe

Why this recipe works

I don’t remember where I first learned about the technique of creating garlicky breadcrumbs to adorn your pasta with, but I’ve done it both in my collard green pasta recipe and my kale pasta recipe.

The cauliflower becomes incredibly creamy when roasted and almost melts into the pasta when tossed together. Steamed or boiled cauliflower won’t work—it has to be roasted!

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta Pasta

Key ingredients

Obviously, you’ll need both cauliflower and pasta for this recipe. In addition to those, you’ll need:

  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Garlic
  • Shallots
  • Capers
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Parsley
Pasta Recipe With Cauliflower

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Orecchiette pasta is my favorite here as its little nooks and crannies hold onto the cauliflower along with the capers and garlicky breadcrumbs.

You could use another short pasta if you’d like, shells would be a great option if preferred.

The red pepper flakes is a nice addition to the briny capers and the lemon, but it’s also OK to skip the flakes if you prefer things less spicy.

Using vegan parmesan cheese, this recipe is vegan. However, if you prefer to use regular parmesan cheese then that works too.

How to Make Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

Roast the Cauliflower

Toss the cauliflower well with olive oil along with salt and pepper. You’ll want to make sure all the cauliflower is well coated for best results. Roast until tender.Cauliflower To Be Roasted For Pasta

Make the Breadcrumbs

Heat more olive oil in a large skillet, then add in the breadcrumbs and a minced garlic clove along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until the breadcrumbs are golden brown.Garlic Breadcrumbs For Pasta

Cook the Shallots

In the same skillet, cook the shallots until softened then add in capers, remaining garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes. Toss the cooked pasta along with the cauliflower, butter, lemon juice, zest, and 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water. Keep cooking, tossing often, until pasta is well coated and begins to form a sauce.Pasta With Garlic Breadcrumbs

Toss together and serve

Remove from heat and add in the breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and parsley.

Pan Of Cauliflower Pasta

Tips for Success

The garlicky breadcrumbs really help add both texture and flavor, so make sure to add them at the end. If you add them too far from to the end of cooking, they will lose their crunch.

I highly recommend using the amount of olive oil and butter called for here as it’s what helps make the sauce of the recipe. If you were looking to reduce the olive oil, then you could try using broth to roast the vegetables or sauté the shallots, but don’t skip it for the breadcrumbs or for making the sauce!

Pasta water helps the pasta to cling to the sauce as it contains starches from cooking the pasta. Save it before you drain the pasta!

Cauliflower Pasta

More Cauliflower Recipes:

Healthy Pasta Recipes:

More Recipes with Roasted Vegetables:

Pasta With Lemon

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Cauliflower Pasta Recipe

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Cauliflower Pasta Recipe

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top, oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Roasted cauliflower pasta with lemon, garlic, parsley, and toasted garlic breadcrumbs. A delicious plant-based meal that’s perfect for weeknights.


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top, oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top, oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 8 ounces orecchiette pasta, or other small pasta
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely diced shallots
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more, depending on taste)
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter*
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan* or vegan parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 tablespoon olive oil along with the salt and pepper and toss until well covered, then place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and tender. Remove from oven.
  2. While the cauliflower is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the package. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water before draining.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and 1 minced garlic clove along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often until the breadcrumbs are golden browned. Remove and wipe out the pan.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet and add the shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Then add in the capers, remaining garlic cloves, and red pepper flakes. 
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the pan with the capers along with the cooked cauliflower, butter, lemon juice and zest, and 1/3 cup of reserved pasta water. Cook, stirring consistently until the pasta is well coated with the cauliflower and begins to form a sauce.
  6. Turn off the heat and add in the breadcrumbs, parsley and parmesan cheese. Season to taste and enjoy.

Notes

*For vegan versions, I prefer Earth Balance and Miyoko’s for butter. For parmesan cheese, I really like Violife. 

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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    1. Sylvia W
      March 21, 2023 AT 9:31 pm

      This sounds absolutely delicious, and I am looking forward to making it very soon!
      One question, though – where does the 15g protein come from? I was not aware that cauliflower was such a powerhouse, and the recipe doesn’t specify a protein pasta. Just curious, since I am working to eat more plant based, but my doctor is pushing me to eat more protein (I’m in my late 60s).
      Thanks!

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