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Super Creamy Cauliflower Pasta with Garlic and Roasted Tomatoes (vegan!) - The First Mess

Creamy Cauliflower Pasta with Garlic & Roasted Tomatoes

An easy and satisfying vegan main course recipe. Creamy cauliflower pasta with garlic and roasted tomatoes is comforting and amazingly rich.
Cuisine Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based, Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword all seasons, Almonds, basil, cashews, cauliflower, chili flakes, fall, garlic, linguine, nutritional yeast, paprika, pasta, peas, sun dried tomatoes, tomatoes, walnuts, winter
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4



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


  • 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 notes 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.


  • 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.