Roasted cauliflower carbonara is an easy recipe using a head of cauliflower. Just like with classic carbonara, this recipe has garlic, egg yolks and crispy bacon for a wonderful flavour. Why not try this easy weeknight dinner tonight?
Ideal for any pasta lover, this delicious Italian recipe combines roasted cauliflower florets with a creamy sauce that includes bacon or pancetta and parmesan cheese. It comes out of the oven perfectly golden brown and caramelized and is sure to impress.
Why You’ll Love This
- Authentic: You’re going to love the flavours in this perfectly roasted garlic cauliflower recipe. It’s based on the classic carbonara sauce made with eggs, bacon and parmesan cheese rather than the Americanized version with heavy cream.
- Simple: Although there are different steps in this recipe, you can roast the cauliflower, make the sauce and cook the pasta all at the same time, making this a straightforward recipe.
- Delicious: I love pretty much all Italian dishes and this pasta carbonara with cauliflower sauce is really good. It’s such a simple dish with not many ingredients but it’s beautifully balanced.
Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara Ingredients
The cauliflower and pasta are the main ingredients here, and you can choose from regular or gluten free pasta. Garlic, bacon, egg yolks, parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes also go into the dish. And then you will need chopped fresh parsley and some extra grated parmesan cheese for the garnish.
How to Make this Easy Weeknight Dinner
For more detailed instructions with weights and measurements, jump to the printable recipe card.
Roast the cauliflower: Toss the cauliflower florets with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, then roast in the oven until golden brown.
Cook the bacon: Fry the bacon and add the garlic and some red pepper flakes.
Cook the pasta: You can cook the pasta (al dente) at the same time in a large saucepan, following the package directions.
Make the sauce: Beat the egg yolks with olive oil, cheese, salt, and black pepper.
Finish the sauce: Toss the cauliflower with the fat drippings in the pan with the bacon, then mix with the egg yolk mixture.
Serve: Drain the cooked pasta, top with the cauliflower sauce, and garnish with parsley and parmesan. Serve immediately.
Substitutions and Variations
You can substitute pancetta for the bacon if you like, or add some green onions as well as the garlic. You could also add peas if you want a pop of green in there, or use another kind of cheese (maybe pecorino) with the parmesan or instead of it.
Freshly ground black pepper or even smoked paprika might be a nice addition. Lemon zest or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice will add some zing to the dish.
What to Serve with Cauliflower Carbonara
If you prefer not to serve the carbonara over hot pasta, you could have it over rice instead or just as it is for a lighter meal. If you do want pasta, then it’s up to you which pasta shape to use. I like to have rigatoni pasta with this.
If you’re not making pasta but want some carb content, this sweet potato salad with kale would be tasty alongside.
- Store: Keep leftover cauliflower carbonara refrigerated in an airtight container and eat within 3 days.
- Freeze: If kept in an airtight container or freezer bag, this recipe can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: Warm any leftovers back up in the microwave.
Cauliflower Carbonara FAQs
You can find cream-based carbonara sauce recipes or at the grocery store but the authentic Italian way of making carbonara relies on egg yolks and cheese for creaminess. Add a splash of cream if you want but this is a rich, creamy dish without it.
Take the pot off the heat before mixing in the eggs. There will be enough residual heat to cook the eggs sufficiently but too much heat will scramble them which might be good for egg fried rice but isn’t what you want from carbonara.
Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara Recipe
Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara
- 1 Head cauliflower
- ½ Cup extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 Teaspoon sea salt
- 2 Teaspoon black pepper coarse
- 2 Cloves garlic
- 6 Ounces bacon chopped
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 Cup parmesan cheese grated
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 4 Tablespoon parsley fresh, chopped
- 1/4 Cup parmesan cheese shaved
- 1 Pound rigatoni gluten free or regular
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Chop cauliflower into 1” florets. Toss with 2 tablepsoons of olive oil, sea salt, a pinch of black pepper, and garlic powder. Spread onto a foil-lined baking sheet and place into the oven on the top rack. roast for 40 minutes.
- When 15 minutes remain for the cauliflower, start preparing the sauce. Add bacon to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes and lower heat. Add the garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes and stir. *Do not drain the fat drippings.*
- If serving with pasta, start to cook 1 pound of your choice of pasta per package directions.(optional)
- In a small mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks. Whisk in remaining olive oil, parmesan, ground black pepper, and salt.
- Add cauliflower to the Dutch oven and toss to coat in the fat drippings.
- Next, pour the sauce over the cauliflower and stir. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
- If servicing with pasta, drain the pasta and place in serving bowls. Top with carbonara sauce.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
Roasted cauliflower carbonara is made with tasty roasted cauliflower, cheese, bacon, and garlic. The roasted cauliflower adds another dimension to this classic Italian recipe.
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Bella Bucchiotti of xoxoBella is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for recipes, dogs, sustainability, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Bella Bucchiotti is a freelance food, travel, and lifestyle writer for MSN and the Associated Press Wire.