Spaghetti with cauliflower pesto and sun-dried tomatoes

Spaghetti with cauliflower pesto and sun-dried tomatoes - an easy pasta dish you can make ahead.

Easy to make pasta with a lighter pesto that still has major flavor.




  1. Set a large pot of water to boil. In your food processor, pulse the cauliflower until it resembles crumbs (or couscous), transfer it to a medium bowl. Combine pine nuts, Parmesan and parsley in the food processor and pulse, until they look like breadcrumbs too. Add to your cauliflower.
  2. To the cauliflower mixture add the grated garlic, olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, a pinch of salt and lemon juice. Stir until combined, season to taste and set aside.
  3. Once the water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt and the pasta.
  4. Cook until al dente. (The time is usually specified on the package, the spaghetti I buy normally take between 8-10 minutes, but taste yours to be sure – they have to be cooked, but not mushy). Save a cup of pasta water, drain the rest.
  5. In a large skillet or serving plate combine the pesto and pasta. Slowly add the pasta water, tablespoon by tablespoon, until you get the desired consistency of the pesto and the pesto is creamy (and coats all the pasta), not lumpy and thick.
  6. Serve along with a chunk of Parmesan.


This recipe is adapted fromthe Smitten Kitchen cookbook.

Toast the pine nuts in a pan without any oil over high heat until they are aromatic and golden brown in color. Stir them while they toast, they should be done in a few minutes. Transfer to a small plate and they’ll be cool in no time.

If you have any pesto left or want to save some for later, you can do that. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, store in the fridge and use the next day.

About the Parmesan: Know that real Parmigiano-Reggiano isn’t really vegetarian. For a cheese to be sold under such name it has to be authentic, and it is only authentic if it uses calf rennet as an ingredient crucial for the production. Obviously that makes it non-vegetarian. Both Grana Padano and Pecorino Romano use rennet as well.
Luckily, you can find hard cheeses which are very good copies of the real deal both in taste and looks, which is what I normally use. Just check the label, look for rennet, if it’s not there take that parmesan right home with you! A lot of people also use the Swiss Sbrinz cheese instead.

Keywords: quick, vegetarian