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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?

A dutch oven on a table with homemade roasted cauliflower carbonara with bacon in it.

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.

Close up view of pasta with cauliflower carbonara sauce.

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.
Overhead view of a dutch oven on a table with homemade roasted cauliflower carbonara with bacon in it.

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.

Ingredients to make cauliflower carbonara pasta sauce with bacon on a table.

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.

Close up view of pasta with cauliflower carbonara sauce.

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.

A bowl full of rigatoni pasta and cauliflower sauce on top.

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.

Close up of a dutch oven on a table with homemade roasted cauliflower carbonara with bacon in it.

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.

A dutch oven on a table with homemade roasted cauliflower carbonara with bacon in it.

If you’re not making pasta but want some carb content, this sweet potato salad with kale would be tasty alongside. Pasta with cauliflower and bacon really would go with any side dish!

Overhead view of a dutch oven on a table with roasted cauliflower carbonara and rigatoni.

Storage Instructions

  • Store:  Keep leftover cauliflower carbonara sauce 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.
A dutch oven with the cauliflower and bacon combined to make the cauliflower sauce.

Cauliflower Carbonara FAQs

Doesn’t carbonara have heavy cream in it?

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.

How do you stop the eggs from scrambling?

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.

Close up view of pasta with cauliflower carbonara sauce.

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara Recipe

5 from 56 votes

Roasted Cauliflower Carbonara

By: Bella Bucchiotti
Upgrade your weeknight dinner with roasted cauliflower carbonara with crispy bacon! A delicious twist on a classic carbonara recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 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

Garnish

  • 4 Tablespoon parsley, fresh, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup parmesan cheese, shaved

Pasta

  • 1 Pound rigatoni, gluten free or regular

Instructions 

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 1263kcal | Carbohydrates: 95g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 84g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 44g | Cholesterol: 256mg | Sodium: 1208mg | Potassium: 773mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 846IU | Vitamin C: 75mg | Calcium: 462mg | Iron: 3mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Roasted cauliflower carbonara is made with tasty roasted cauliflower, cheese, bacon, and garlic. The roasted cauliflower adds another dimension to this classic Italian recipe. The whole family will love this cauliflower pasta dish!

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Bella Bucchiotti

Bella Bucchiotti is a Canadian-based syndicated food, travel, and lifestyle writer, photographer, and creator at xoxoBella. She founded xoxoBella in 2015, where she shares her love for food, dogs, sustainability, fitness, crafts, outdoor adventures, travel, and philanthropy to encourage others to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places, and stand for a cause. Bella creates stress-free and family-friendly recipes for weeknight dinners and festive feasts.

 

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Recipe Rating




16 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I added an extra garlic clove and two teaspoons of basil. Even my steak-loving husband had second helpings!

  2. 5 stars
    The biggest mistake I made with this carbonara was underestimating how much people would want to eat. It was gone before I could even get a look at seconds!

  3. 5 stars
    This cauliflower recipe was sooo gooood! As a cheese lover, I added extra cheese to it! Another addition to my go-to recipes.