Cauliflower Pesto Pasta

A bowl of pasta with a yellowish cauliflower and some grated cheese on the side

A yummy bowl of pasta


  • 1 box (1 pound) linguine pasta (whole wheat is fine)
  • 1 small head or 1/2 large head of cauliflower (any kind is fine)
  • 4-6 dry packed sun-dried tomatoes (if oil packed, drain)
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1 medium clove of garlic
  • Large pinch of red pepper flakes (I did this recipe without the flakes and it went just as well)
  • 1 large (1 ounce to be specific) chunk of Romano or Parmesan cheese (Do NOT grate)
  • 1 tablespoon drained capers (you may be skeptical, but don’t skip the capers)
  • About 8 flat parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • NOTE: When you boil the pasta , be sure to save 1 cup of pasta water before draining


  1. ∆ Chop the cauliflower into large chunks, and pulse in food processor in two batches until it is a couscous like consistency. Put the cauliflower in a separate bowl.
  2. ∆ Pulse the cheese, tomatoes, pine nuts, garlic, capers, parsley, and pepper flakes (if wanted), until it feels, and looks like breadcrumbs.  Put this in the bowl with cauliflower, and toss until fully mixed. Add salt (and pepper), vinegar, and oil to taste.
  3. Meanwhile, boil a pot of generously salted water. When boiling, add pasta, and cook until soft, but make sure the pasta has a bit of a bite to it. (Ask an adult to help you drain the pasta, but remember to save a cup of water)
  4. Toss the pesto and pasta together, and add the water if pesto is to thick. (It likely will be) Then adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Serve into bowls and enjoy! (Serves 4-6)

I got this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman of the award winning blog, Smitten Kitchen ( There are lots of great recipes in this book with tantalizing photos. You should definitely check it out.


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