Cauliflower al’arrabiata is health, hearty pasta dish that gets dinner on the table in less than an hour. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, it makes a great portable lunch.
Take the hearty up a notch
I’ve been making a basic arrabiata sauce for a long time, but I decided that I wanted something a bit more substantive. That’s a job for cauliflower and a food processor. I like to top cauliflower al’arrabiata with a few black olives, but baked hemp seed parmesan is also a winner here. No parmesan on hand? Toss some in the oven while the cauliflower bakes.
Angry = spicy
Arribiata means angry in Italian, but pasta loves this flavorful, hearty sauce. The anger in cauliflower al’arribiata is really spiciness in disguise. In this case, the spiciness comes from a blend of chili flakes, garlic, oregano, thyme and fresh basil.
Meanwhile, while it bakes…
The cauliflower is going to take about 40 minutes, so you have plenty of time to prep and cook the sauce and start the pasta. The al’arrabiata sauce is basic so you’re down to mincing some garlic, grabbing the spices, digging out the balsamic vinegar and opening some cans of tomatoes. Now that’s the way un huh, uh huh, I like it un huh, un huh.
I never feel angry after a nice dinner of cauliflower al’arrabiata, but sometimes I do feel a bit spicier 😊. I’m thinking that the next time I get a whiff of anger, I’ll spend 5 minutes thinking of nice spicy food like chili, burritos or tacos. I suspect the result will be an abatement of anger brought on by hunger. I hope there are leftovers in the fridge. Never mind, cooking always makes me feel better.Print
Make hearty, spicy cauliflower al’arrabiata tonight. It’s entirely plant-based, oil free and takes less than an hour from picking up your chef’s knife to plating it up.
- 1 head cauliflower
- ½ cup mushrooms
- 1 small onion diced
- ¼ cup raw walnuts
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. salt
For the sauce
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. crushed chili flakes
- 2 tsp. basil
- 2 tsp. thyme
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 3 -15 oz. cans cherry tomatoes (or canned tomatoes of your choice)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil (a handful)
- Pasta for 6 (about 10 oz./300 gms.)
- ½ cup sliced black olives (optional)
- Hemp seed parmesan (optional)
**Timing tip: start the cauliflower and make the sauce and pasta while it bakes (35-40 minutes).
- Preheat your oven to 3500 F (1800 C).
- Cut the cauliflower in to small florets, slice the mushrooms and dice the onion.
- Place the cauliflower, onion, mushrooms, walnuts, basil, thyme, oregano and salt into a food processor (or blender). Blend until the cauliflower is broken down.
- Place the cauliflower mixture on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat and bake it in the oven for 20 minutes, then toss the mixture and bake another 15-20 minutes until it is browned.
- While the cauliflower bakes, mince the garlic and gather the spices and balsamic vinegar. In a medium to large pan, sauté the garlic for about 30 seconds (add a tablespoon of water if it begins to stick). Add the spices and coat the garlic for another 30 seconds. Deglaze the pan by adding the balsamic.
- Add the tomatoes and use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes. Cover and let the sauce simmer.
- Check out the cauliflower and toss it so that it will brown evenly.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and add the pasta.
- When the cauliflower is done, add it to the sauce and mix well.
- Stir in half the fresh basil right at the end.
- rain the pasta, plate it and add the sauce. Top with a bit of fresh basil, if desired.
I often finish this dish off by putting the drained pasta back in the pan, mixing in the sauce directly and heating it just a touch. Definitely store any leftovers that way.
If you don’t have red pepper flakes on hand, you could substitute a chopped red chili. I’ve never tried using a jalapeno, but that might work as well.
If you’re looking for a lighter sauce, you could omit the cauliflower. That’s about a 20 minute meal.
I used penne pasta for this recipe, but anything goes.
If you are not keen for nuts, just omit the walnuts in the cauliflower filling. You’ll still get a great result.
Keywords: Cauliflower al’arrabiata