Penne with Caramelized Cauliflower Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Penne with Caramelized Cauliflower

Tired of tomato sauce with your pasta? This classic Italian recipe is a hearty alternative to spaghetti with marinara. The roasted cauliflower can also be served sans pasta as a delicious holiday side dish.



Ingredient Line: 
4 Tbs. olive oil, divided, plus more for greasing baking sheet
Ingredient Line: 
1 small cauliflower (1 lb.), cut into ¼-inch slices
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1 cup fresh parsley leaves
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1 Tbs. grated lemon zest
Ingredient Line: 
1 Tbs. capers, rinsed and drained
Ingredient Line: 
1 lb. penne rigate
Ingredient Line: 
½ tsp. red pepper flakes


  1. Place oven rack in highest position, and preheat oven to 475˚F. Bring pot of salted water to a boil. Grease baking sheet with olive oil. Toss cauliflower with 2 Tbs. olive oil on prepared baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, and spread in single layer. Roast 18 minutes, or until cauliflower pieces are browned.
  2. Meanwhile, pulse parsley, lemon zest, and remaining 2 Tbs. oil in food processor until chunky sauce forms. Add capers, and pulse until capers are coarsely chopped.
  3. Cook penne in boiling water 11 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Toss pasta with cauliflower, parsley sauce, and red pepper flakes in large serving bowl, adding reserved cooking water if sauce seems too thick. Sprinkle with vegan Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Nutrition Information: 

13 g
Total Fat: 
17 g
Saturated Fat: 
3 g
59 g
0 mg
212 mg
3 g
5 g
Serves 6

Comments on this Recipe

This was a great dish! I roasted cauliflower and carrots in the oven with sea salt and oregano - super delicious! I'm not much of a pesto fan, so I used a very light tomato sauce. Very hearty and my boyfriend loved it!

I made this pasta the other night, it was surprisingly delicious, an interesting way to use cauliflower.

This was so easy to prepare and very delicious.

I loved this dish when it was first published and am so happy that I could find it in VT's online recipes.

delicious, simply delicious.

AWESOME recipe - I have been making this over and over again ( i add garlic and raw sunflower seeds to the pesto) YUM!

I hate cauliflower, at least I thought I did... but I REALLY love this dish! I made it last night and it was amazing. Who knew cauliflower could taste good?! Thank you!