Creamy Caramelized Cauliflower Pasta with spinach, garlic, and creamy miso sauce will become a vegetarian family favorite. Kid-friendly and great for busy weeknights. Today, I’m sharing one of the most epic veggie-packed pastas I’ve made. This creamy cauliflower pasta is packed with caramelized cauliflower, sautéed spinach, shallots, and garlic, and tossed in a creamy miso dressing. It’s light, yet loaded with rich, savory flavor and hearty textures. Additionally, this pasta is kid-approved, weeknight-friendly, plus makes for some fab leftovers.
Serve it with a side salad or topped with your protein of choice, and this cauliflower pasta will certainly become a regular in your rotation.
How to Make Creamy Cauliflower Pasta:
To start, you need a small to medium head of cauliflower chopped into small florets. The key is to keep the florets small enough so that they become crisp and fork-tender in the sauté pan (for reference, refer to the skillet image below). Additionally, you’ll want to make sure the florets make contact with the pan to aid in caramelization. Next comes the wildcard ingredient, white miso paste, which lends supreme savory flavor.
What is Miso Paste?
In short, miso is a salty, umami-rich fermented soybean paste that works well in both sweet and savory applications (for example, risotto, dressings, and pasta). You can find miso paste in the refrigerated aisle of your local health foods store (near the tofu and kimchi), or alternatively, at your nearest Asian market.
Once the miso paste melds with the half-and-half, it creates an ultra-creamy sauce that works its way into every nook and cranny of the cauliflower.
What Goes Good with Cauliflower Pasta?
In addition to the aromatics in this creamy cauliflower pasta, I love slipping in a leafy green (for example, spinach, swiss chard, or lacinato kale) to add nutrients and a bright pop of color. If you’d also like to add a protein, sautéed shrimp or shredded rotisserie chicken are great options. Alternatively, you could serve your protein of choice on the side, along with a crisp green salad.
For garnish, I recommend a bright, lemon-y herb, such as fresh basil or parsley, plus a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Lastly, if you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your beautiful creations!
More Easy Pasta Recipes:
- 12 oz. dry rigatoni pasta
- 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 (small to medium head) cauliflower, finely chopped into small florets (about 5 cups total)
- ½ cup roughly chopped shallots
- 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 Tbsp. white miso paste
- ½ cup half-and-half
- 4 cups packed fresh baby spinach
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- Optional toppings: freshly grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil or parsley
- Cook pasta in a large pot of salted water until al-dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain remaining. Return cooked pasta to pot.
- While pasta cooks, heat oil in a large high-sided skillet over medium heat. Add cauliflower and shallots; cook until cauliflower is caramelized and fork-tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add butter and garlic; cook 1 minute, until garlic is aromatic. Stir in miso paste and half-and-half; reduce heat to medium-low. Continue cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring often, until miso melds into half-and-half and mixture reduces. Add spinach and black pepper; toss continuously until spinach wilts.
- Add cooked pasta to cauliflower mixture, along with ½ cup reserved pasta water. Toss continuously for 1 minute, until sauce begins to cling to pasta. Continue tossing while adding remaining pasta water in ¼-cup increments until desired consistency is achieved (cream sauces tighten up quickly as they cool, so it’s best to lean on the saucier side). Season to taste with salt.
- Divide pasta evenly into 6 bowls. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.