Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

This roasted cauliflower pasta is a simple & healthy vegetarian weeknight dinner. Lemon, basil & sun-dried tomatoes give it irresistible pops of flavor!

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

This cauliflower pasta was my birthday dinner last week. My sister called while the pasta was cooking, and the message she left said, “I hope you’re out doing something special and not at home photographing your dinner.”

Well, what can I say, I was obsessed with my cauliflower mission. Plus, it was a cold and rainy night, and this dinner felt warm and cozy. (Well, ok, it was warm when I reheated it after the photos were done… but still).

I’m strange about holidays… I just think celebrations should be random. If I made a list of my favorite life moments, most of them did not happen on Christmas or my birthday, or even on my wedding dayΒ (family, pretend I didn’t just say that)… they happened on some random Tuesday, at a time and place that I never expected.

To me, expectation muddles things. I’d rather Jack come home some weeknight and announce that we’re going to Uchiko (hint hint) than watch him stress about what to plan for my birthday.

So a low key birthday it was… with Jack, my dad, myself, and the roasted cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

Now, about this roasted cauliflower pasta!

This cauliflower pasta comes together simply. First, spread the cauliflower florets on a sheet pan in a single layer with the chopped shallots & garlic, sea salt, and black pepper. Then, roast it in a 450-degree oven until it’s golden brown and has a wonderful nutty flavor. While your cauliflower roasts, toss the hot cooked pasta with a little starchy pasta water and a handful of spinach, letting the hot pasta water wilt the greens into the pasta.

Finally, stir together the roasted veggies, the pasta & greens, lemon juice & zest, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh herbs. Top it all with crispy toasted almonds, and you have a delicious combination of bright, fresh, nutty, and briny flavors. In short, this is one satisfying, easy dinner.

Cauliflower pasta variations

If you’re looking to change up this recipe, I recommend the following variations:

  • Sprinkle some feta cheese on topΒ for a tangy, creamy pop.
  • Swap out the herbs for different cozy, fresh, or savory flavors. Tarragon, parsley, or thyme would all be excellent here.
  • Dust your pasta with bread crumbs for a little crispy texture.
  • Finish it with a poached egg for a creamy, sauce-like addition and some extra protein.

If you make this cauliflower pasta, please let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you.


5.0 from 3 reviews
Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This simple roasted cauliflower pasta is a healthy vegetarian weeknight dinner. We love its flavors of lemon, sun-dried tomatoes, and herbs.
Author:
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
Roast together:
  • 2-3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, very coarsely chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
For the pasta:
  • 6 ounces spaghetti noodles (I like Jovial's brown rice noodles)
  • A handful or two of baby spinach
  • Hot pasta water (about ½ cup)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Squeezes of lemon & some lemon zest
  • ¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes (or perhaps olives)
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (or herbs of your choice)
top with:
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs, toasted (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Poached egg (optional)
Instructions
  1. Roast cauliflower, shallots, and garlic in a 450 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Be sure not to chop your garlic too small or it will burn before the cauliflower is done. Once it's golden brown, remove from the oven. Mix it all together and taste a piece, it should taste nutty and delicious. If it doesn't, add a small drizzle of olive oil, a teeny bit more garlic, and a pinch of salt if necessary. Set aside.
  2. Cook your pasta for about 8 minutes or until it's done but al dente. Place spinach in a large bowl, and scoop your pasta noodles into the bowl with the spinach and toss so the spinach begins to wilt. Add some pasta water to help that along.
  3. Next add half the roasted veggies, another drizzle of olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon, some lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and basil, and toss everything together. Taste and adjust seasonings. Top with the rest of the roasted cauliflower and the toasted bread crumbs & almonds. (Serve with poached eggs if you like).

Β 

58 comments

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  1. ashley
    01.16.2013

    my birthday was last week too – horray for capricorns! my anti-cauliflower husband is out of town this weekend, think i’ll have to plan on trying this recipe out soon:)

  2. Sarah Miller from sarah-travelinglight.blogspot.com
    01.16.2013

    Ohmygosh. I totally agree with the best life moments happening on a whim. I planned our wedding for a year and a half only to have both me and my husband end up with the stomach flu the day of the event…puking in my wedding dress in the reception hall bushes no less. From that moment on, I’m all about the surprise, random celebrations! Can’t wait to try this recipe out. I have cauliflower burning a hole in my frig.

    • jeanine
      01.16.2013

      oh my, that sounds horrible! I seriously stressed about becoming sick on my wedding day… luckily didn’t happen but, oh, what a stressful time.

  3. Cassy from cvsee.tumblr.com
    01.16.2013

    This looks insanely delicious! Can’t wait to try it. πŸ™‚ Happy Birthday! Continue doing what you love, especially if it’s making wonderful food, taking pictures of it, and sharing it with the ravenous world around you. πŸ™‚

    • jeanine
      01.16.2013

      ha, thanks Cassy! yes, it’s become quite the obsession πŸ™‚ Just glad it’s being appreciated πŸ™‚

  4. First of all, Happy Birthday! Second, this dish looks divine! I have a head of cauliflower that now finally has a purpose.

  5. Alissa from bigeatstinykichen.com
    01.16.2013

    Oooh! Nothing feels more decadent than a creamy poached egg on top. What a perfect birthday meal. My birthday is in a week and low key is my ideal night as well. Happy birthday!

  6. Jacqui from goodthingsgrow.com
    01.16.2013

    Happy Birthday! I totally love going out on regular days instead of the expected ones, so much more unexpected and exciting. Besides, this cauliflower dish looks worthy of any b-day meal!

  7. phi from princesstofu.com
    01.16.2013

    I love your new mission – and congrats on the birhday! One of my new cauliflower mission for the season is pickled cauliflower and cauliflower green curry. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeves!

    • jeanine
      01.16.2013

      those are 2 of my favorite things that I haven’t made yet! (soon, promise) I love aloo gobi, (wondering how to make it look photograph-able πŸ™‚

  8. Brooke
    01.16.2013

    Sounds wonderful! I think I’ll replace the feta with pecorino romano.

    • jeanine
      01.16.2013

      that would be delicious (I just happend to have feta on hand)… really this dish is so very flexible…

  9. Jess from inquiringchef.com
    01.16.2013

    Happy birthday! That egg put this already delicious-looking dish right over the edge for me. Further proof that everything is better when topped with an egg.

  10. Ashley from edibleperspective.com
    01.16.2013

    This looks like my kind of birthday dinner! And that egg?? Ahhh. Perfection! p.s. My mom LOVED the recipe cards. πŸ™‚ I just got to give them to her last week when I came home for a visit. I filled them with simple recipes I knew she + my dad would enjoy.

    • jeanine
      01.16.2013

      oh I’m so glad… I think handwritten recipes are so precious… a dying art that should be kept alive!!

  11. Happy belated birthday love! Your sisters comment made me laugh πŸ™‚ Your cauliflower pasta looks yumo.

  12. Justina from onedomesticgoddess.wordpress.com
    01.17.2013

    I agree with you about birthdays and holidays. After my childhood years, the expectations of holidays removed what was joyful about them in the first place. My “holidays” are the traditions that my friends and I have started and find so much joy in, mostly just from being together.

    Thanks for sharing your birthday. πŸ™‚

  13. Kathryn from londonbakes.com
    01.17.2013

    I totally agree with your perspective on birthdays and celebrations. I think every day should be special in its own way and this cauliflower pasta sounds like the perfect way to make a day seem special, birthday or not.

  14. Caitlin from theveganchickpea.com
    01.17.2013

    i feel just the way you do. when i think back to happy memories, most of them are tender, private, random moments, and definitely not my birthday. your birthday sounds lovely, and i’m glad that your dad was there to enjoy it with you. and the cauliflower pasta? looks perfect πŸ˜‰

  15. Laura from thefirstmess.com
    01.17.2013

    I’m the same way with birthdays and celebrations in general… purposefully low key. I can’t understand the expectation and build up of a big to-do. I just like to be chill most of the time anyway! This pasta sounds wonderful, Jeanine. Roasted cauli 4 life. πŸ™‚

  16. Tina from Www.thealbrecht.com
    01.17.2013

    Happy Birthday Jeanine! I love roast cauliflower but have never added it to a pasta before. Thanks for the inspiration!

  17. Kasey from turntablekitchen.com
    01.17.2013

    I hope you had a lovely birthday! Also, I appreciate your reflections on celebrations, and how they don’t always happen on the ‘appointed’ days. I’ve been struggling with the fact that my baby didn’t arrive when the doctors predicted because everything I had *planned* was around that time…but when it does happen, probably on a random Tuesday, I’m sure it will be that much more spectacular than I had planned. Love all these cauliflower recipes – I’m definitely a cauliflower newbie (I’ve always sort of had an aversion to it) but I’m excited to try this pasta. xo

  18. Lauren from gourmetveggiemama.com
    01.17.2013

    I love the egg! I don’t know why I’ve never thought of topping pasta with a poached egg — I top everything else with them. πŸ˜‰ Beautiful.

  19. Eileen from hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com
    01.17.2013

    This pasta looks so good–who doesn’t need more ways to eat roasted cauliflower? I love the egg on top too. Happy birthday–I hope it was great. πŸ™‚

  20. I totally agree with you about random nights. The best times come about naturally, not forced or planned. That egg on the pasta = to die for!

  21. Leigh from laughinglatte.com
    01.17.2013

    This looks amazing! I want to try this now!

  22. Alisa
    01.18.2013

    Made this last night! Absolutely delicious!

  23. Shira from inpursuitofmore.com
    01.18.2013

    Wow, this looks amazing – and happy birthday! I adore roasted cauliflower and that combo has my mouth watering like crazy πŸ™‚ Wonderful!

  24. Genny from stampinbygenny.com
    01.19.2013

    I just made this recipe tonight and it was delicious. I’m so glad I found your blog on Pinterest. I can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. TFS
    Genny

  25. Kate from katesquared.net
    01.20.2013

    This looks delish, cannot wait to give it a whirl.

  26. Ashley from notwithoutsalt.com
    01.20.2013

    Happy belated birthday! I don’t know, a night at home with a big bowl of this in front of me pretty much sounds like a party right there. Beautiful.

  27. Leslie
    01.23.2013

    I’ve always been a bit wary of cauliflower but I made this yesterday, and *loved* it. Super website, I love the design, photos, recipes πŸ™‚

  28. Katie
    01.29.2013

    Made this tonight! Thanks for the inspiration. A huge head of cauliflower has been sitting in the fridge, saw this, and knew it had to be. Yum πŸ™‚
    Counter Dog: A girl, her lab and their kitchen at katiethisdell.wordpress.com

  29. Julie
    02.03.2013

    Oh my, this is good stuff! This pasta will not be going to the Superbowl party with me. I’m saving it for lunches this week. Thanks for the recipe!

  30. liz
    05.06.2013

    this is SO delicious. my boyfriend and i eat this, literally, once a week because we love it so much. thank you so much for sharing this!

    • jeanine
      05.06.2013

      Oh, I’m so glad, thanks for sharing!

  31. Terri from littlewanderings.com
    09.04.2014

    After making this recipe again for the umpteenth time tonight, I thought I’d take the time to leave a note and let you know how much this cauliflower pasta is adored in our kitchen. Even my meat-lover boyfriend loves sitting down to a big bowl of this pasta. I really love sprinkling on some high quality goat’s cheese (in replacement of the feta) – really makes it a special dish! Anyway – thank you for sharing this with us! πŸ™‚

    • jeanine
      09.04.2014

      aw, thanks for letting me know! I’m so glad to hear it’s a favorite! πŸ™‚

  32. Beverly
    07.28.2015

    I made this Sunday, splitting in half, thinking I’d bring the rest to work on Monday. It was so scrumptious I ate it all and am making it again tonight! Maybe I will add the egg this time, although it will be gilding the lily, so to speak. Scr -YUM-ptious.

    • jeanine
      08.01.2015

      I’m so glad you liked it! Ha, we’re not good at saving leftovers either :).

  33. Pennie
    10.04.2015

    Just have to say that this was delicious, and will be going into a regular rotation of pasta dinners!!!

  34. Beth Martin
    01.13.2017

    Great recipe. A crowd favorite!

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.