Making your weeknight dinner is a breeze with this quick & easy Creamy Pasta With Cauliflower! It is a delicious dish made of rotini noodles and tender cauliflower florets coated in a perfectly seasoned, creamy white sauce.
Healthy Pasta is a Thing!
This recipe is made super nutritious by adding one of my favorite veggies– cauliflower! As an added bonus, I’ve got them fresh from the garden! Cauliflower is really fun to harvest. We love that one plant equals one head of cauliflower, so it’s always a little bit more special as you really have to take care of that plant. These cruciferous veggies are fiber-rich, loaded with antioxidants, and packed with almost all the nutrients and vitamins our body needs. How amazing is that?
Also, this pasta recipe is a great way to sneak in that extra serving or two of veggies! Throw in anywhere from ½ cup to 1 cup finely chopped lettuce, kale, or spinach if you are craving extra veggies. Once it’s mixed in with the pasta and cream sauce, no one will notice, and they’ll be begging for seconds. Those staunch veggie protestors (AKA your kids) won’t even know!
Ingredients You’ll Need
You only need 10 ingredients that you are likely using on a daily basis to make this Cauliflower Pasta recipe. However, using simple everyday items does not make it bland or boring flavor-wise. It just means you get a flavorful dish without having to spend much! Here are the ingredients you have to gather and their alternatives.
- Rotini Pasta- I love how the thick cheese sauce clings to the dips and crevices of this type of pasta. It makes every mouthful such a delight! However, feel free to use other pasta types like spaghetti, linguine, farfalle, shells, penne, or even cheese tortellini.
- Cauliflower- I used one medium-sized head cut into bite-sized pieces. I boiled them together with the pasta, but feel free to use steamed or roasted ones.
- Butter- will give the sauce a richer taste and a thicker, creamier consistency.
- Garlic- two cloves are enough to give the pasta a savory taste. However, you can add more if you want your pasta on the garlicky side.
- Flour- Is used to make the sauce thicker.
- Liquids – I used chicken broth and milk to thin out the creamy butter mixture. You can also use vegetable broth to make it vegetarian.
- Dried parsley flakes- this all-around herb will provide a fresh and earthy flavor to the pasta dish. Other herbs that you can use are dried chives and thyme.
- Salt + pepper- to taste.
- Parmesan cheese- this helps thicken up the sauce and make it very creamy.
How to Make Creamy Pasta With Cauliflower
This cauliflower pasta recipe makes the perfect quick weeknight meal when you’re craving something substantial and comforting. It is so easy to make and is ready in less than 30 minutes.
Cook the Pasta and Cauliflower. Cook the pasta and cauliflower florets according to the pasta box instructions. Rotini takes around 7 minutes, so both the pasta and cauliflower cook together for 7 minutes. Drain the pasta and florets and set them back into the pot for later.
Make the Sauce Base. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the minced garlic until the pieces soften and become aromatic. Add the flour, and whisk until the mixture becomes creamy. Cook for another minute. Pour the milk and broth and stir for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.
Add the Seasonings. Add the dried parsley, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Keep stirring until you are satisfied with the consistency of the sauce. Remove from heat.
Assemble. Pour the white sauce into the cooked pasta and cauliflower.
Toss until the white cheese sauce coats everything evenly. Serve hot and enjoy!
Tips when Making Creamy Pasta With Cauliflower
- Chop the cauliflower florets in equal sizes so they cook evenly. If you prefer them in small pieces, reduce the boiling time for them.
- Use medium heat when making the sauce and keep it at a steady low simmer. It is also important to stir consistently, so the bottom does not burn and lumps will not form.
- If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of milk or broth to make it thinner.
This Cauliflower Pasta is delicious as is, but you can switch up the ingredients to customize the recipe to your tastes and dietary needs. You can also bump it up with proteins and other veggies.
- Proteins- bulk your dish up by topping it with grilled chicken, shrimp, or sausage. You get a significant dose of protein, carbs, and vegetables in one go. You can also simply add bacon bits or fried tofu cubes to keep it light.
- Toppings- Sprinkle your pasta with some toasted pine nuts, fried onions or pesto to create more flavor and crunch! Or add caramelized onions for a buttery taste.
- Team Broccoli instead? Just swap the cauliflower for broccoli instead.
- Spicy- You can also add a pinch of red pepper flakes to give your pasta a good zing!
- Vegetarian /Vegan- This pasta may not be vegetarian and vegan friendly, but a few substitutions will allow you to enjoy it while keeping your dietary limitations intact. Swap the butter, cheese, and milk for their dairy-free counterparts and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
- Gluten-free – if you need to make this available for those allergic to gluten, make sure to use gluten-free flour and pasta brands.
Cauliflower Pasta Make-Ahead and Storage Notes
If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, you can make the parmesan cheese sauce 2 days in advance. Place it in the fridge and just add it to the cooked pasta and cauliflowers when you are ready to serve. It is also freezer-friendly, so it is a great dish to add to your meal prep rotation.
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Creamy Cauliflower PastaPrint
- 16 oz box rotini pasta
- 1 medium sized cauliflower chopped into small florets
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- salt + pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cauliflower to the pot and cook according to the box of pasta's directions. Drain, and put pasta and cauliflower back into pot. Set aside.
- Melt butter and garlic in a medium saucepan. Add flour and stir so longer clumpy. Add chicken broth and milk, continuing to stir for a few minutes until sauce thickens. Add parmesan cheese, parsley and salt & pepper to the saucepan and continue to stir until the sauce is creamy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Pour cheese sauce over pasta and cauliflower in the pot. Stir so the creamy sauce coats everything. Serve hot and enjoy!
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