CREAMY CAULIFLOWER PASTA WITH GARLIC & ROASTED TOMATOES

Super Creamy Cauliflower Pasta with Garlic and Roasted Tomatoes (vegan!) - The First Mess
Because I love you all so very much, we’re going heavy on the carbs two weeks in a row. We eat pasta twice a week usually. Sometimes we’re really virtuous and do the lentil-based “sedanini” from Trader Joe’s and other times, only the all white flour stuff will do. I broke my spiralizer months ago, so zucchini noodles aren’t an option anymore. I totally get why people love them–I just definitely overdid it within a certain period of time a couple years ago (I think a lot of us did haha). Today we’re making creamy cauliflower pasta.

This pasta is a variation on one that I do quite often. It’s creamy and tomato-y and it’s very cozy without seeming overly heavy. I try to keep raw, soaked cashews in my refrigerator for all sorts of recipe emergencies. Most of these are blended into my morning coffee with some mesquite powder, cinnamon, and coconut butter. The rest work their way into whatever plant-based milk I’m making and savoury/saucy recipes like this.

Basically everything that could possibly be in season is in season right now where I live. The summer and fall crops collide, our own garden is heaving, and it’ll be that way for another month or so. I always like to gently encourage people to eat seasonally, but realize that this is a challenging thing to live by in a black and white way if you don’t live in California or a similarly warm and fertile climate. It can be hard! This is a great time of year to experiment if you’re new to the whole thing ;)

This recipe stands right at that abundant seasonal intersection that makes our cute little corner of Canada feel like a southern California farmer’s market for about a month. My dad sends big baskets of grape tomatoes over around this time every year and I always slow-roast them (using this recipe), cover them in oil, and then keep them on hand in the refrigerator for a couple weeks. They’re perfect in and on so many things, but pasta is their ultimate final destination for me.

We simply sauté the little cauliflower florets in lots of garlic with the tomatoes, make up our own little plant-powered cream with the soaked cashews, toss in lots of basil, chilies, green onions, and pasta. I threw in some peas (still growing around here!) and a quickie homemade vegan parmesan to make it extra lovely because we all need a little extra loveliness midweek, right? If you’re into this pasta, you might like this Summer Garden Pasta recipe as well.

Super Creamy Cauliflower Pasta with Garlic and Roasted Tomatoes (vegan!) - The First MessSuper Creamy Cauliflower Pasta with Garlic and Roasted Tomatoes (vegan!) - The First Mess
CREAMY CAULIFLOWER PASTA WITH GARLIC & ROASTED TOMATOES
Print the recipe here!
SERVES: 4
NOTES: I prefer traditional wheat-based linguine here, but brown rice pasta, zucchini noodles, or any other noodle you like would be great. If you’re going the zucchini noodle route, I’d cut back the liquid a bit.
-If you don’t want to slow roast some tomatoes for this recipe, I’d recommend replacing them with a ¼ cup of finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil.
-Feel free to add a cup of cooked white beans or something similar to this if you’re craving more protein.
-Don’t forget to reserve a cup of the salty and starchy pasta cooking water. It’s the key to success here.

QUICKIE VEGAN PARMESAN
¾ cup raw cashews, walnuts or sliced almonds
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

PASTA
¾ lb linguine of choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups small cauliflower florets (from about ½ a large head of cauliflower)
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of chili flakes
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
½ cup slow-roasted tomatoes, lightly chopped or mashed (see headnote for sun-dried option)
sea salt and ground black pepper
 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
½ cup filtered water
½ cup shelled fresh or frozen peas
2 sprigs fresh basil, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
1 cup quickie vegan parmesan, divided

Make the parmesan. In a food processor or the dry blade container of a high speed blender, combine the raw nuts, nutritional yeast, salt, and lemon zest. Pulse until you have a finely ground mixture that tastes lightly salty and cheesy. Set aside.

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of the salty and starchy pasta water before draining and setting aside.

In a large, wide sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cauliflower to the pan and stir. Sauté until the cauliflower is lightly softened on the edges, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, chili flakes, paprika, tomatoes, salt, and pepper to the pan and stir.

In an upright blender, combine the cashews, the reserved pasta cooking water, and the ½ cup of filtered water. Blend the mixture on high until you have a milk-like consistency.

Pour the cashew milk into the pan and add the peas as well. Bring the mixture to a boil and then immediately lower the heat to a simmer, stirring often. Once the cauliflower is soft and the peas are bright green, gently fold the pasta into the mixture to coat in the sauce.

Sprinkle the basil, green onions, and ½ of the parmesan onto the pasta and stir to combine. Serve the creamy cauliflower pasta hot with remaining parmesan on top and extra chili flakes if you like.

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