This pasta is an example of how keeping it simple feels great on both my mind and my body. I’m currently very into designated day ‘pasta night’ each week, usually on Wednesday or Thursday, and assembling a veggie-heavy pasta dish with whatever we have around — usually roasted vegetables, greens of some sort, olive oil, chili, and maybe a little cheese of some sort. I’ve been stirring this combo into cooked chickpea pasta (I like Banza brand) which has more protein and fiber than a typical pasta, has a pleasant whole wheat vibe in texture and flavor, and is naturally gluten-free.
I’m actually obsessed with chickpea (or garbanzo) flour, in general, and have used it in flatbreads, pancakes, cookies, and cakes. Chickpeas are reliably filling and provide a bunch of plant-based protein, so adding them to baked goods feels wholesome but doesn’t mess with a chocolate chip cookie too much.
This pasta is the result of one of these combos that I loved. Roasting cauliflower is definitely the move — when it gets that golden-brown sear, it also gets a pleasant nutty flavor that goes so well with the pasta and is offset by the olive oil and garlic. Broccoli would be nice here, too, but let this be your template for your own weeknight pasta adventures with whatever vegetables you’ve got.
These pasta nights have made me realize that the simplicity of having a designated themed food night (i.e. pasta night or taco night) makes dinner decision-making that much easier, and keeping the pasta add-ins to five or less helps relax our brains and bods and enjoy a few well-prepared ingredients.
Roasted Cauliflower Pasta
- 1 small-ish head of cauliflower cut into small, bite-sized florets
- Olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 medium bunch kale cleaned, de-stemmed, and sliced into ribbons
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3-4 cups dry chickpea pasta (or your favorite type of pasta) (1 cup per person)
- Generous pinch of red chili flakes
- Parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400°F and coat a baking tray with a thin layer of olive oil. Spread out cauliflower florets onto the tray (you might need two trays to give them enough room to crisp up). Place in the oven and good for 20-25 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile, put pasta water onto boil. Once boiling, add a palmful of salt to boiling water. Then add your pasta. Cook for 1-2 minutes less than the package instructions. When al dente drain, saving some of the pasta water.
In a large pan with high sides, heat a good glug of olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add garlic and let sizzle for 30 seconds. Add chopped kale and stir to coat in the olive oil. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook until just wilted. Turn the heat down to low.
Add cooked pasta, a pinch of chili flakes, the roasted cauliflower, a splash of the pasta water and another drizzle of olive oil and toss everything to combine.
Add Parmesan and pepper if using and toss to combine. Serve immediately.