Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Cajun Cauliflower. Cauliflower is tossed in homemade Cajun spice blend and baked, then served over easy creamy Garlic sauce Penne Pasta. Vegan Garlic Pasta Recipe. Can be Nut-free gluten-free. Jump to Recipe
This Easy Pasta comes together quickly and makes an amazing meal. Toss the Cauliflower in Cajun spice blend and put it in the oven to bake. Boil the pasta, simmer the sauce to thicken and fold in the pasta. Put it all together, garnish with parsley or basil. Perfect!
This dish came about when I remembered some friends had recommended a dish with Cajun chikin over Creamy pasta (way back when). It was a popular dish at a neighboring restaurant. For a vegan version of that dish, I made this creamy garlicky pasta sauce with roasted and minced garlic, which makes a great pasta by itself or can be used as a garlic mac and cheese sauce. The Cajun spice blend is magic. Rub it all over the cauliflower, bake and try not to eat the entire helping.
The baked Cajun Cauliflower is amazing! Make just that and serve it with a cooling dip as a starter or appetizer. The garlic sauce is easy and cheesy. Add elbows to it and make into a mac bake, covered with breadcrumbs mixed with smoked paprika or some of the cajun blend. So much Flavor!
There is a good amount of Paprika in the spice blend. Paprika when the heat not labelled can be mild or hot, so use the spice accordingly. You can always add in more of the paprika or cayenne for heat later. This pasta is best served hot as the cauliflower is crisp right after baking but will soften once it cools completely. Add some breadcrumbs for crispier cauliflower.
If you use other veggies or double the recipe, also double the spice mix to adjust. Use cashew milk for creamiest result. To make nut-free, use soy-milk or use my potato carrot cheese sauce with the spices+herbs. To make this oil free, use aquafaba instead of oil to bake the cauliflower.
Don’t have roasted garlic, just use more garlic when saute-ing, atleast 6 total cloves.
More Pastas from the blog
- Cauliflower Parmesan Pasta Bake – sliced cauliflower, baked then dressed in vegan mozz and baked over pasta
- Pumpkin Sage Pasta with pumpkin cream sauce and crisp Sage
- Black pepper Mac and Cheese with Potato Carrot Cheese Sauce
- Chickpea Chorizo, Quinoa shells in tomato sauce. GF
- Zesty Pesto Pasta with chard and zucchini
Tips to make this Recipe work for you:
- Watch the heat. Smoked paprika can be really hot depending on brand, use less or use sweet paprika and reduce cayenne and pepper for heat in the Cajun Blend.
- The sauce is a mild flavored sauce to balance the cajun blend. For additional flavor in the sauce, add some cajun blend, add some more herbs, add a tsp of miso. The right amount of salt int he sauce will also be helpful to bring out the overall flavors. Adjust to preference.
- For creamier dish, reduce the pasta amount or double the sauce. You can also use vegan alfredo with the pasta
- Watch the salt. Premade cajun blend can already have salt. Adjust accordingly.
- 1 small head of cauliflower cut into florets 3 heaping cups
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 2 tsp paprika (I use 1 tsp sweet mild paprika and 1 tsp smoked hot paprika)
- 1/4 tsp or more cayenne
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or use more smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt ( 1/4 to 1/2 tsp to preference)
- 8 oz penne glutenfree if needed
- 2 tsp olive oil divided
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups unsweetened non dairy milk such as almond milk or soymilk or use cashew milk for creamier
- 1 tbsp flour or use rice flour to make gluten-free
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch or cornstarch
- 10 cloves of roasted garlic
- 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp or more dried thyme ,+ generous dashes of other herbs such as basil, sage, oregano
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 to 3/4 tsp or more salt
- chopped basil or parsley for garnish
- black pepper or cayenne and lemon juice for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Add the Cauliflower florets to a large bowl. Drizzle oil and mix using a spatula or rub it in using hands.
- In a small bowl, mix the ingredients under cajun spice blend. Add a bit more paprika if using mild. Sprinkle all over the cauliflower florets and toss to coat. (use 1.5 tbsp or more of premade cajun blend).
- Bake for 25 to 30 mins.
- Make the pasta according to instructions on the package, drain and set aside.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile blend the rest of the ingredients (except garnish) until smooth. Add to the pan. Increase heat to medium.
Bring the sauce to a boil stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust salt and flavor carefully. Simmer for another 2 minutes. You can add in some cajun blend to the sauce as well for additional flavor. Fold in the pasta. Take off heat, cover and let sit for 2 minutes.
- To serve, add warm baked Cajun Cauliflower on top. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil, some cayenne/pepper and lemon juice.
Variation: Mix 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs to the cajun spice blend for crispier baked cauliflower.
Use other hearty vegetables. Make a double or triple of the Cajun spice blend and use as much or as less depending on the amount of vegetables and your preference.
For Saucier pasta, double the sauce or make 1.5 times with 3 cups non dairy milk.
For more flavor in cream sauce: Add more herbs, Add 1 tsp miso. See tips above.
Oil-free: Water saute the garlic for the pasta sauce and continue.
Use aquafaba or flax egg for the cauliflower. Lightly dab aquafaba all over the florets, then toss florets in the spice blend.
Nutrition values are approximate for 1 Serving of 3.