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Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

5 from 3 community reviews

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Craving cauliflower pasta? My recipe features roasted cauliflower, front and center, amped up with basic pantry spices (oregano and crushed red chili), fresh garlic, cherry tomatoes, and plenty of olive oil. The pasta sauce is mixed right in the roasting pan, finished with a touch of cream and grated Parmesan cheese that coats the pasta like a velvety blanket.

Curly-shaped pasta with a roasted cauliflower and tomato sauce on a serving plate, with a fork on the side.
Golden-brown roasted cauliflower and pasta with juicy tomatoes in a lightly creamy sauce.

What you’ll love about this recipe:

  • Sheet-pan simple: Fresh cauliflower florets roast in one pan with juicy cherry tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and seasonings. You’ll create an instant pasta sauce right in the pan, with the addition of some heavy cream and a bit of the starchy pasta-cooking water.
  • Big flavor: Nothing makes mild-tasting cauliflower recipes taste more amazing than reaching for bold seasonings that are probably have in your pantry right now — like garlic, aromatic dried herbs, and crushed red pepper.
  • It’s a one-dish dinner: Like all my favorite pasta dinner recipes, this is a satisfying dish to serve as a vegetarian main dish, or along with a cooked protein for a heartier meal.
Ingredients for cooking cauliflower with pasta, including a head of fresh cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, grated cheese, spices, cream and dried pasta.

Ingredient list:

  • Cauliflower: This member of the Brassica family is milder tasting than its cousin, broccoli. Because I can’t help thinking of white cauliflower as a blank canvas for playing with herbs, and spices, I LOVE to pair it with big flavors (like cauliflower with harissa, spicy kimchi and curry-spiced). For this recipe, you’ll need one medium-large head of cauliflower, or about 8 cups of florets.
  • Cherry tomatoes: Bite-size tomatoes are the key to making roasted cherry tomato pasta sauce because of the way they burst with juice and sweetness in the oven. They add a pop of acidity in every bite that contrasts perfectly with the neutral cauliflower.
  • Spices and seasonings: To keep the recipe short and simple, use aromatic dried oregano (or Italian seasoning), zesty fresh garlic and enough crushed red pepper to suit your tastebuds.
  • Dried pasta: I can’t think of any dried pasta that wouldn’t work with this sauce. Long pasta cuts like spaghetti or linguine are highly slurpable, or choose short pasta shapes with curly edges and nooks and crannies that cup the sauce perfectly, such as shells, orecchiette, cavatappi or fusilli.
  • Cheese and cream: Grated Parmesan cheese and a light touch with heavy cream finish the dish.

Recipe steps

Gemelli pasta with roasted cauliflower sauce on a serving plate, with a fork on the side.

Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes

Karen Tedesco
Craving cauliflower pasta? This recipe combines roasted cauliflower, amped up with basic pantry spices (oregano and crushed red chili), fresh garlic, cherry tomatoes, and plenty of olive oil. The pasta sauce is mixed right in the roasting pan, finished with a touch of cream and grated Parmesan cheese that coats the pasta like a velvety blanket.
Print Pin
5 from 3 community reviews
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Pasta
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 whole head cauliflower, weighing 2-2½ pounds (see note below)
  • 8 ounces (225 g) cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, or Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, add more or less to taste
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 ounces (170 g) dried pasta
  • 1 teaspoon grated or finely chopped garlic
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, or fresh basil

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 425 (220C) degrees.
  • Cut the cauliflower into four wedges. Trim off the stem, keeping some of the small, tender leaves around the head (they taste delicious roasted). Slice the cauliflower into large bite-size florets that are about 2-inches in diameter.
  • Put the cauliflower and tomatoes on a 9×13-inch rimmed baking sheet. Add the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, the oregano and red pepper. Toss the vegetables around so they're evenly coated with the oil and seasonings. Roast 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and add the garlic, stirring it in with a spatula. Continue roasting 5-7 more minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and the tomatoes are juicy and caramelized on the edges.
  • While the cauliflower is roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a generous amount of salt. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes depending on the shape. Scoop out and reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and transfer to a serving bowl.
  • Remove the sheet pan from the oven and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the cheese over the vegetables. Pour the cream and ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water into the pan. Stir everything around with with a spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any browned bits.
  • Tip the vegetables and pan sauce out over the pasta, and stir together to meld. Sprinkle with the parsley and remaining cheese and serve.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • You can opt to buy pre-prepped raw cauliflower, available in the produce section of many grocery stores. After the stem and core are trimmed off, a medium-large cauliflower will yield about 8 cups of florets, which weigh approximately 1 3/4 pounds. 
  • Tip: To prevent the vegetables from burning, use a sheet pan that’s not too large, one that holds all the vegetables snugly in one layer. A quarter-size pan (13×9) is a perfect size for this recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 36g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 128mg | Potassium: 270mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 801IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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8 Comments

  1. We made this for dinner last night and it was so so tasty! Really great for vegetarians.

    1. Thanks, Laura, glad you think so – they are my favorite flavors.

  2. This is a nice twist to my usual Sicilian style cauliflower and pasta w/ capers and raisins!
    I will try it this weekend! Thank you!

    1. Hi Stacey – that Sicilian-style cauliflower sounds delish!