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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   

Creamy Garlic Penne with Cajun Cauliflower in a shallow Bowl with Green Napkin

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!

Roasted Cajun Cauliflower Over Penne

Video:

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

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 Recipe. Can be Nut-free gluten-free | VeganRicha.com

If you make this recipe, do let me know in the comments and rate the recipe. Tag me on Instagram. For video recipes, head on over to my Youtube Channel.

Tips to make this Recipe work for you:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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. 
  3. For creamier dish, reduce the pasta amount or double the sauce. You can also use vegan alfredo with the pasta
  4. Watch the salt. Premade cajun blend can already have salt. Adjust accordingly. 

Creamy Garlic Sauce Penne pasta with Roasted Cauliflower in a Bowl

Vegan Garlic Pasta with Roasted Cajun Cauliflower

4.86 from 74 votes
By: Vegan Richa
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 3
Course: Main
Cuisine: Glutenfree, Vegan
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 Recipe. Can be Nut-free gluten-free.
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Ingredients 
 

Cajun cauliflower:

  • 1 small head of cauliflower cut into florets, 3 heaping cups
  • 2 teaspoons oil

Cajun Blend:

  • 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)

Garlic Sauce Pasta:

  • 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, (or saute another 3 cloves instead)
  • 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

Instructions 

Cajun Cauliflower:

  • 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.

Garlic Pasta:

  • 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.

Video

Notes

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. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 395kcal, Carbohydrates: 60g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 10g, Sodium: 580mg, Potassium: 306mg, Fiber: 9g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 1080IU, Vitamin C: 21.3mg, Calcium: 240mg, Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Did you make this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Cajun Cauliflower Over Penne in Shallow Bowl

About Richa

Hi, I'm Richa! I create flavorful plant based recipes that are inspired by my Indian upbringing, including many gluten-free, soy-free, and oil-free options.

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152 Comments

  1. Jojo's Vegan Kitchen says:

    5 stars
    Thank you Rocha this looks delicious I invited a friend for a dinner who loves spicy food I will try to do this hugs

    http://www.jojosvegankitchen.com

  2. Régine Bohar says:

    5 stars
    I loved the cajun mix, and the whole recipe. Next time, I’ll add some curry leaves in the sauce.

    1. Richa says:

      Great idea! Curry leaves would be an amazing flavor in the creamy sauce!

  3. Marcia says:

    May I ask what the nutritional yeast does? Thank you!!!!!!

    1. Richa says:

      it adds a cheesy flavor. You can omit it as there is plenty of overall flavor in the sauce and the cauliflower

      1. marcia says:

        Thank you! My mom tells me I broke out in hives when she added yeast tablets to our supplements 50 years ago and I’m assuming that was nutritional yeast, hence my question!

        1. Teresa says:

          50 years ago nutritional yeast wasn’t commercially available. I am sure that would have been brewer’s yeast, which is different. But as they say, when in doubt, leave it out!

  4. Kelly says:

    5 stars
    Oh, this is SO good. I haven’t been up for cooking much recently but this was worth it. Thank you.

    1. Richa says:

      Yay!! Thanks!

  5. Regine Bohar says:

    One more comment: all corn and soy products being made with GMOs in the US, unless otherwise stated, I would recommend you indicate “GMO free” or “organic” in brackets. GMOs really change the ecology of the digestive track.

    1. Richa says:

      I have to think about where to add that. Maybe in one page about the kind of ingredients used on the blog. Most of the health stores or local coops seem to have nongmo soy and corn. I have tried and not found a single gmo soy product so far in those stores. But i have seen some items that are gmo corn or soy in the big stores and esp in processed foods which I rarely use on the blog. I think most of the vegan products (by vegan companies) also generally state non gmo.

  6. Shirlene says:

    This looks yummy. I love your dishes but do not use oil. Could you possibly offer an oil free option?

    1. Richa says:

      Thank you Shirlene. I have a post that details how to cook Indian food without oil which has some tips that apply to many meals. https://www.veganricha.com/2016/01/how-to-cook-indian-food-without-oil-oil-free-dal-tadka-recipe.html . I’ll probably write another for how to adjust general meals on the blog as well. I do add oil-free options in the notes whenever possible (depends on the recipe). It might be difficult to add oil-free option to each recipe.

      Many recipes are fairly easy to adapt. In this recipe you can use aquafaba or flax egg to rub on the cauliflower and then toss in spices, so the spices stick, and bake. Saute the garlic in water or broth for the sauce.

  7. Régine Bohar says:

    Thanks Richa, it is really great that you are giving a recipe for Cajun seasoning, rather than recommending the packaged stuff, like in so many recipes. I just got your book on Indian cooking, and can’t wait to try all the recipes. When looking at a new recipe, I always try to gauge whether it is going to work or not, but I have never been disappointed with any of your recipes, so they encourage me to think outside the box. I’ll be sure not to pass this one up.

    1. Richa says:

      Thank you for the wonderful note Regine. Taste and flavor is pretty personal and usually i add notes to adjust the recipe after feedback from the readers who make them (and recipes testers for the book recipes). So between the original and the notes, it gets polished so it works for many. Thank you for trying out the recipes and for the feedback!

  8. Laina says:

    Hi Richa,

    Thanks for your new recipe!

    This recipe looks delicious. Is there not very much sauce? I don’t see it in the photo and I’m a sauce lover. Would doubling the sauce be too much?

    Also, I just visited your YouTube channel. It’s fun watching you make your meals and helps to see it’s not so difficult. 🙂

    1. Richa says:

      Its there, it gets absorbed by the pasta while cooling (during photographing). You can easily double the sauce for a super saucy pasta.

  9. Dawn says:

    Wow! Great looking dish!

    1. Richa says:

      Thanks!

  10. Jessi says:

    That dish looks amazing in those pictures!!! My son going to love it. Thanks for sharing:)

    1. Richa says:

      its really good. I was eating up the cauliflower right from the pan, and it works well with the mild creamy sauce as the cajun spice is hot, smoky and strong.