This vegan roasted cauliflower pasta is satisfying and easy to prepare. Roasted cauliflower and red onion gives the pasta depth of savory flavor, while lemon juice and zest keep it bright. This is a perfect weeknight pasta supper at any time of year!
I could easily eat pasta every night of the week. It’s fast, comforting, endlessly versatile, and an easy vehicle for vegetables and beans.
When I’m in a food rut, I start to default to marinara sauce on pasta more often than not. And while I’m always pretty happy to eat a plate of spaghetti and marinara, it’s good to keep things varied. Especially if variety means incorporating more vegetables into my pasta suppers.
This vegan roasted cauliflower pasta is such a nice addition to my pasta rotation. It’s got cauliflower and red onion for vegetable goodness, and they’re both roasted to deepen and bring out their flavor. The dish also has a little spice from crushed red pepper and brightness from lemon. So much to love here!
Like most of my favorite pasta suppers, this one is pretty easy to prepare. Roasting adds a little time to the recipe as a whole, but it’s also hands-off work. While the cauliflower and red onion roast, which is the first preparation step, you can prepare everything else that you’ll need for the pasta.
The cauliflower and onion will need about 25 minutes in a 400 °F oven. The cauliflower is done when the edges are crisping and the florets and pieces are all fork tender.
While the vegetables roast, you’ll boil you pasta water. It should be well salted—not necessarily like the sea, but if you were to taste the water, you’d want to taste the salt.
Cook your pasta al dente according to package instructions.
Some of the oil in this recipe is used for roasting the cauliflower. The rest is used to quickly heat some minced garlic in a large, covered casserole or deep skillet. To the garlic, you’ll add your cooked pasta, roasted vegetables, lemon juice and zest, and some cooking water to help loosen the pasta and bring the dish together.
For simple pasta suppers such as this one, I find that it’s always important to taste and season as you go. Once you’ve mixed all of the pasta ingredients together in your casserole or large skillet, be sure to taste the pasta. Add salt, additional red pepper flakes, and lemon as needed.
I also like adding my cashew parmesan cheese to the pasta when I plate it. Here, too, you can use your intuition and season to taste!
You won’t need too many ingredients to bring this vibrant pasta to life. Here’s what you will need:
You’ll need a medium sized head of cauliflower to prepare the roasted cauliflower pasta. Mine was about a pound and a half, but a little less or more will be fine.
If you can’t get your hands on cauliflower that’s fresh, a pound of frozen and thawed cauliflower florets will work for roasting.
I love the sweetness of roasted red onion in this recipe, but you can use white or yellow onion if you don’t have red at home.
Seasonings in this recipe are spare, but I love the hint of paprika on the cauliflower, as well as the color that it contributes!
Crushed red pepper, which is also sometimes labeled “red pepper flakes,” is what gives the roasted cauliflower pasta its hint of spicy heat.
Don’t skip the lemon juice and zest in the recipe! Their brightness and zestiness is an important counterbalance to the earthiness of the roasted vegetables.
I use three cloves of garlic for the recipe. If you’re a garlic lover, feel free to add more.
As with the lemon, parsley contributes freshness and brightness to the finished pasta.
I’ve made the roasted cauliflower pasta with a number of pasta shapes. They include long shapes, like fettuccine (pictured here) and spaghetti. I’ve also made it with medium pasta shapes: my favorites are penne, fusilli, and casarecce.
You can also make the pasta with a shorter shape, such as orecchiette or lumache.
Bottom line? Use the pasta you love. It can be a short or long shape, regular pasta or a gluten free or bean-based option (such as chickpea pasta). Be sure to cook the pasta al dente, according to package instructions.
A generous dusting of my cashew parmesan cheese certainly isn’t necessary, but it does elevate the finished dish! I’ll eat cashew parm on just about anything, so I’m always game for using it as a finishing touch.
I tend to think that this roasted cauliflower pasta tastes best when it is freshly made.
However, you do have some make-ahead options. If you roast the cauliflower and red onion ahead of time, that will make preparing the pasta very fast. The roasted vegetables will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Store leftovers of the finished pasta dish in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. I don’t recommend this one for freezing.
Nothing like a low-key pasta supper, right? Here are some of my other favorites, for all of the seasons:
While I tend to make this pasta most often in the wintertime, it’s really a good one for any time of year. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!