Sweet and Savory Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

A while back, I discovered a way to get my kids to eat just about any vegetable. How? Roast them with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper at 425 degrees for aprx. 20 minutes. Seriously! They’ve even eaten turnip root, which is quiet sweet and tasty after roasting. YUM!

Ironically, one of their most favorite vegetables to eat raw, roasted or steamed is cauliflower. I had a head of cauliflower that needed to be used, but I wanted to do something different with it. I thought pasta and cauliflower would be fun, so I “googled” it and came up with several lovely recipes.  Two recipes served as the inspiration for my dish: one from Martha Stewart, the other from Smitten Kitchen.

Although both of these recipes looked tasty, I knew my kids (and hubby) would want more protein. So, I set out to create my own dish. Since, my family enjoys pasta with cannellini beans, I thought this would serve as a nice protein (and fiber) base for the dish, along with feta cheese and either walnuts or pine nuts.

I just knew I had to roast the cauliflower with garlic to bring out the luscious flavors of the vegetable. And what about adding caramelized onions, one of my husband’s favorites, to the dish? From here, it was trial and error. Yet, I think I came up with a winner, especially since the kids gave the new dish “two thumbs-up”! Definitely will be making this one again!

Sweet and Savory Roasted Cauliflower Pasta

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 T of minced garlic or aprx 4-5 cloves (I use the jarred kind from Costco)
  • 1 purple onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of mini bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 pound whole-wheat rigatoni pasta
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • Small pinch red pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted OR pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup of feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. While oven is preheating prepare cauliflower. Place florets on a jelly roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with minced garlic, sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for aprx 20 minutes.

In a pasta pot, boil water that is seasoned with sea salt. Add whole-wheat rigatoni. Cook until al dente. Drain.

While pasta is boiling, in a heated cast iron skillet*, place 1 T of olive oil.  Turn to medium-high heat. Add onions in a single layer. Allow to just about caramelize, then add bell peppers. Cook until they are tender. Add sun-dried tomatoes. Stir all together, just until heated. Turn off burner.

In a large bowl, place half of the caramelized vegetables and half of the roasted cauliflower. Add pasta. Then, remaining caramelized vegetables and roasted cauliflower. Drizzle with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons). Gently stir in the feta cheese and walnuts or pine nuts, sprinkle in red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a green salad.

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