For a veggie, cauliflower’s taste lays on the bland side, which is why many don’t care for the crimpy-headed crucifer. However, it’s mild flavor is what draws me t0 cauliflower. I find the subtle, slightly sweet flavor to pair rather pleasantly with a vast array of ingredients. Kind of similar to tofu, cauliflower will blend into the other ingredients in which you cook it. Although, unlike tofu, it’s texture needn’t be too tampered with.
Here, I create a delicate sauce using just a few simple, quality ingredients that allow the cauliflower to take the main stage. A few flavor-potent ingredients join the mix in order to provide some depth to the pasta* that I place underneath. Caramelized garlic and shallots fragrantly fill the dish, alongside salty capers that add a certain pop to the pasta. Toasted walnuts and some fresh nuances seal the deal. With a mere 29 calories per cup (and a ton of vitamin C, vitamin K, folate and fiber), cauliflower is certainly worthy of being the star in this light, summery pasta dish.
*I used multi-colored whole wheat rotini to add some color to the cauliflower, but feel free to use whatever variety of pasta your heart desires. But of course, a whole wheat variety is recommended.
- -1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
- -5 cloves garlic, minced
- -1 large shallot, minced
- -2 Tbsp. lemon juice (1 large lemon)
- -3-4 Tbsp. capers
- -1/3 cup walnuts
- -6 oz. whole wheat rotini
- -Handful of parsley and/or 3 spring onions, diced
- -2 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- -3/4 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- -Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat skillet over medium-high. Add walnuts to pan, and cook, stirring frequently, until edges begin to brown nearing the point of black. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in large saute pan. Add garlic and shallots, and saute until caramelized, 5-7 minutes. Add cauliflower, and saute additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle a generous pinch or two of salt and pepper around the pan. Pour in reserved cooking water. Cook 5-7 minutes, until cauliflower is tender. Add lemon juice and capers. Toss with pasta. Remove from heat, and stir in walnuts, scallions, and parsley. Serve.