Shells & Roasted Cauliflower

Shells & Roasted Cauliflower

Currently, in Austin, SO many restaurants are opening all the time and our list of to-try places is growing at a rapid pace. It’s a fun problem to have. Our little city is hot on the food map, but sadly, some of our old favorite little go-to spots are closing. One in particular was a little wine bar called Mulberry. It was a tiny place with a big marble slab of a bar. The wine was good, the vibe was cozy, and the food was everything you wanted to eat on a Friday night without having to make a reservation or wait two hours in line.

The menu would change often, but one dish that I ordered for a few weeks in a row was roasted cauliflower with herbs, pine nuts, golden raisins and capers – a combination that was deliciously tangy, savory and a little bit sweet. I’ve recreated that combo at home a number of times – this time I tossed it with whole wheat shells to make it more of a full meal.

Shells & Roasted Cauliflower Shells & Roasted Cauliflower

The day I shot this, I happened to have some A+ vegetables from the farmers market – adorable orange cauliflower and these gorgeous tatsoi greens. Since then I’ve been making it with regular cauliflower and baby spinach, which works equally well.

It’s tossed with olive oil, sherry vinegar, and a little sambal for spice. This is a pretty easy, fuss-free recipe that we’ve really been enjoying lately and I hope you do too!

Shells & Roasted Cauliflower Note: unless you’re making a half recipe, use a larger pan than is pictured in the photo at the top of this post.

5.0 from 6 reviews
Shells & Roasted Cauliflower
Serves: serves 3-4
  • 4 to 5 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon vegan or regular butter
  • 1½ tablespoons sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon maple syrup or honey* (see note)
  • ½ teaspoon sambal or red pepper flakes
  • 6 ounces shell pasta
  • ¾ cup reserved pasta water (save this before you drain your pasta)
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 4 cups spinach, tatsoi, or swiss chard leaves
  • ¼ cup toasted and chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
  • 1 heaping tablespoon golden raisins
  • ½ cup loose-packed chopped parsley, basil, or tarragon
  • lemon wedges, for serving
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cauliflower florets on the sheet and toss them with a drizzle of olive oil and pinches of salt and pepper. Roast for 25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the sherry vinegar, maple syrup, and sambal and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package, cooking until al dente. Reserve ¾ cup pasta water before you drain the pasta. If you like, drizzle the pasta with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, heat the oil and butter. Add the shallot, smashed garlic cloves, and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium-low heat until the shallot is soft and the garlic is fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the garlic cloves.
  5. Stir the greens into the pan and cook until lightly wilted. Add the pasta, roasted cauliflower, and vinegar mixture and stir to coat. Stir in ½ to ¾ cup of the pasta water to create a light sauce. Add the hazelnuts, raisins, and parsley.
  6. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional sambal, if desired. Serve with lemon wedges.
To make this vegan, don't use honey.


If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Synnøve from on said:

    Looks really good! love those simple pasha dishes.

  2. Frances on said:

    This looks great! You often have really fine recipes. Wondering if anyone has a suggestion for a good vegan sweet potato w/corn chowder? I have an abundance if those potatoes to use. I’ll probably make it in the crock pot. Happy Spring to all. 🙂

  3. Marion on said:

    Looks really yummy. I will have to try.

  4. Eden Passante from on said:

    This looks so good for dinner! I always need new ideas!

  5. I love getting inspiration from my favorite restaurants too! This pasta looks delicious 🙂

  6. Thea on said:

    If I don’t use sambal what can I use as an alternative? My family’s not into spicy. Thanks!

    • Hi Thea, just skip it, it’s not essential here!

  7. This recipe sounds amazing. Do you think you could add some zucchini? I am just not very fond of cauliflower.

  8. Taste of France from on said:

    This looks delicious. I too often think of sauces for pasta. I would make something like this cold–a pasta salad–but the thought of it hot, as presented here, has my mouth watering.

  9. Totally drooling! I’m loving how you took some simple ingredients and added just the right amount of pizzaz – raisins, walnuts, and a touch of maple syrup. So delicious!

  10. Lisa Favre from on said:

    Oh sherry vinegar – that’s an item I have to add to my pantry! This looks incredibly delicious and I love cauliflower… since I was a little girl!

    Lisa Favre

  11. Samantha on said:

    Looks yummy!

  12. Vale from on said:

    this need a try, I love cauliflower

  13. Kathryn Grace from on said:

    Marvelous, as always. I’m grokking on the flavors of the tatsoi and basil.

  14. Liz from on said:

    I cannot wait to try this. I love cauliflower and the simplicity of this.

  15. Natalie on said:

    Hi! Would this work using spagatti squash? Any suggestions or alterations?

    • I think it would be good (totally different, but that’s ok). Definitely skip the part where I add the pasta water or the spaghetti squash will get mushy. Aside from that, just season everything to taste.

  16. Rach's Recipes on said:

    I made this for lunch and used red pepper flakes instead of sambal. I also dusted some fresh parmesan cheese and opted for toasted pine nuts. Incredible flavors. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Felice on said:

    Made this last night with red pepper flakes. Delicious.

  18. Pali on said:

    This looks delicious and light!

  19. AJ on said:

    My husband and I made this last night and LOVED it! I almost didn’t add the raisins, but I’m sure glad I did! The unexpected sweetness in some of the bites was a delicious surprise. 😉

  20. Susan on said:

    how many calories is it ?

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