This Italian Cauliflower Tomato Pasta recipe is ready in 30 minutes! It's gluten free and made with tomatoes, garlic, Parmesan, and walnuts.
This post is sponsored by Barilla but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
In the spirit of keeping things light, healthy, and flavorful here is a new Mediterranean inspired recipe - Italian Cauliflower Pasta.
Earlier this week I published a Mushroom and Olive Pasta recipe and promised that I would have another tasty pasta recipe for you and I have delivered on that promise.
This week it's cauliflower's time to shine.
Both of these pasta recipes are vegetarian, gluten free, and full of garlicky goodness. They're also both made with my new fave - This Red Lentil Pasta from Barilla.
This pasta is made from 1 single ingredient: Red Lentils. There's nothing questionable in this stuff. It's simple, straightforward, and seriously versatile. Between the Barilla Red Lentil Penne and the Rotini I have eaten very well this week!
What Does Cauliflower Pair Well With?
Cauliflower may seem like an unusual pasta ingredient but I can assure you that it totally works. I had a head of cauliflower sitting in my refrigerator drawer and thought I give it a try.
I'm seriously considering adding cauliflower to all my pasta recipes because it's amazing! The earthiness of the cauliflower lends itself well to the earthy nature of the lentil pasta.
Cauliflower is one of those things that pairs well with lots of flavors and absorbs whatever is added to it.
It's perfect with the garlic, tomatoes, walnuts, and Parmesan cheese in this recipe.
- This recipe calls for 1 head of cauliflower. Simply break the cauliflower into florets. Try to make sure that all the pieces are of similar size to ensure even cooking time.
- You should end up with 3-4 cups of cauliflower florets.
How To Add Flavor To Cauliflower
One of the best ways to infuse flavor (in my opinion) in any pasta recipe is to add lots of garlic.
- Start by mincing 6 cloves of garlic. Heat a skillet to medium and add 1 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Add the garlic to the oil and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the cauliflower florets along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper and saute for 5-6 minutes, stirring often.
- Add ½ cup vegetable broth to the broccoli at the 5 minute mark. This will prevent the cauliflower from sticking to the pan. Continue to stir.
- The cauliflower should be slightly caramelized and softened but not mushy at this point.
Which Gluten Free Pasta Is Best?
For this recipe I used the Barilla Red Lentil Penne. The shape and texture of the pasta are perfect! If you have experimented with gluten free brands of pasta you may have noticed that some of them are mediocre.
This penne retains a nice springy texture when it's cooked - Definitely superior to similar products on the market today.
Prepare 1 package of Barilla Red Lentil Penne according to package instructions. Once the pasta is finished drain it and reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. The pasta water is to be added back into the pasta.
How To Make Cauliflower Tomato Pasta
- Once the pasta has finished cooking add it to the skillet along with the ½ cup of reserved pasta water and 1 more Tbsp. of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Stir these ingredients together.
- Add 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes and 2 tsp. of Italian seasoning.
- Sprinkle ½ cup of shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese to the pan.
- Stir everything together again and cook for 5-6 minutes on medium heat until the tomatoes have warmed and the cheese has melted.
Looking for more vegetarian recipes? Don't miss these!
- Chunky Italian Vegetable Soup
- Root Vegetable Soup
- Lemon Pea Risotto
- Tuscan Vegetable Soup
- Garden Vegetable Lasagna
- Baked Eggplant Parmesan
- BBQ Sweet Potatoes
- Kohlrabi Schnitzel
How To Toast Walnuts
This may seem like another unusual ingredient but I love to top pasta off with toasted nuts. In this case I went with walnuts. The walnuts provide a nice crunch to the dish.
You can use any variety of nut you like but I love walnuts because they're cheap and flavorful.
Hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, or pine nuts are all great options. You can leave the nuts out altogether if you have a nut allergy.
The best way to accentuate the natural flavor in walnuts is to toast them and release their natural oils.
- Place 2 oz. of walnuts (or any nut you like) in a small skillet (I love my small cast iron skillet).
- Heat it to medium-low and toast the nuts for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don't burn.
- Remove from heat when toasted.
Can I Use A Different Nut To Make This Pasta?
Absolutely! Feel free to use any variety of nuts you like to make this pasta. Almonds, hazelnuts, or pine nuts are great alternatives to walnuts.
Alternately, you can leave them out altogether if you have a nut allergy.
What To Serve With Italian Cauliflower Pasta
The dish is ready at this point! I don't know about you guys but I love meals like this that are ready in 30 minutes and feel a little fancy but in reality are completely simple.
It's one of those meals you can trick people into thinking you spent lots of time and energy on and only you know that it took no time at all.
Serve this Cauliflower Tomato Pasta with the toasted walnuts, another sprinkle of shaved Parmesan, and some freshly chopped herbs of choice.
I always go with basil when it comes to pasta but you can use any herb you like!
How Long Does Cauliflower Tomato Pasta Last In The Fridge?
Any leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Make sure the pasta has cooled completely before transferring to the fridge for storage.
If you follow a gluten free diet or just want to switch things up you're going to love this Barilla Red Lentil Pasta! It's MUCH lighter than a traditional pasta, full of plant-based protein, and has a slightly nutty flavor that I really enjoy.
Barilla ALSO makes a Chickpea Pasta that I've got my eye on. This Italian Cauliflower Pasta is great any time of the year AND just in time for Valentine's Day in case you want to impress your sweetheart with your cooking skills...
Love pasta? Check out these recipes!
- Vegetarian Mediterranean Pasta
- Lemon Leek Pasta
- Chicken Marsala Pasta
- One Pot Veggie Pasta
- Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake
- Kale and Pancetta Pasta
- Gluten Free Vegetable Lasagna
- Cheesy Skillet Lasagna
- Olive Mushroom Pasta
- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- Green Pasta Sauce
Looking For More Cauliflower Recipes? Don't Miss These!
Cauliflower Tomato Pasta with Walnuts
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 head cauliflower about 3-4 cups
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil split
- ½ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 box Barilla Red Lentil Penne
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 oz. walnuts or nut of choice
- ½ cup shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup fresh basil or herb of choice
- Mince 6 cloves of garlic.
- Cut 1 head of cauliflower into florets (yields 3-4 cups). Make sure all the pieces are relatively the same size to ensure they cook evenly.
- Heat a skillet to medium and add 1 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the cauliflower florets to the skillet along with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Saute for 5-6 minutes, stirring often. Add ½ cup of vegetable stock to deglaze the pan and prevent the cauliflower from sticking.
- Prepare 1 box of Barilla Red Lentil Penne according to package instructions and drain. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Add the cooked penne to the pan along with the pasta water and stir.
- Heat a small cast iron skillet (or any small skillet) to medium-low. Add 2 oz. of walnuts (or nut of choice) to the pan and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from heat and set aside once toasted.
- Add 1 14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. Italian seasoning, and ½ cup of shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese to the skillet. Continue to cook on medium heat for another 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes have warmed and the cheese has melted.
- Serve the pasta with a sprinkling of the toasted nuts, additional Parmesan cheese, and some freshly chopped basil (or herb of choice).