Quick and easy Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Pesto Pasta is perfect for a vegetarian weeknight dinner! Caramelized cauliflower and crispy chickpeas are tossed together with pesto and lemon juice. Top it with ricotta and Parmesan cheese for a simple and delicious dinner!
If one of your goals this year was to eat more plant based meals then you’re in luck! This Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Pesto Pasta fits the bill and it’s absolutely delicious! Roasting the cauliflower and chickpeas not only adds extra flavor, but great texture too. As for the pesto, it’s an easy way to add a ton of flavor to recipes. Hands down, this is one of my favorite pasta recipes on the blog.
Even with the absence of meat in the pasta there’s still plenty of protein thanks to the roasted chickpeas and dollops of ricotta. You can increase the amount even more by using a chickpea pasta such as Banza.
There’s also a good amount of fiber in this pasta dish, which we can all use more of. Both the chickpeas and roasted cauliflower up the fiber content and will help fill you up and keep you full longer.
Ingredients Needed to Make Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Pesto Pasta
- extra virgin olive oil
- cauliflower florets
- canned chickpeas
- Parmesan cheese
- ricotta cheese
- parsley for garnish (optional)
How to Make Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Pesto Pasta
This is a quick and easy pasta recipe that shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to make. Start by spreading out the cauliflower florets and chickpeas on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle on olive oil and season with plenty of salt and pepper. Toss everything together and roast for 20-25 minutes.
While the cauliflower and chickpeas roast cook the pasta. Reserve about a cup of the pasta water when you go to drain the pasta. This will be used to help create the sauce.
Put the pasta back into the pan you cooked it in along with the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas. Add in the pesto, lemon zest and juice, and Parmesan cheese. Stir everything together and add in pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce. Finish the pasta with dollops of ricotta cheese, chopped flat leaf parsley and extra shredded Parmesan cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Use Gluten Free Pasta?
Yes. I’ve used both gluten free and wheat pasta for this recipe and had good results. Be sure to use a good quality gluten free pasta that won’t fall apart and don’t over cook it. Remember the pasta will continue to cook while you’re mixing it with the sauce.
How Can I Make the Pasta Vegan?
To make this pasta recipe vegan, simply use a vegan pesto, and omit the parmesan cheese and ricotta. There are some vegan ricotta alternatives that you can buy. I haven’t personally tried them, but have heard that the Kite Hill almond milk ricotta is a good option.
What Shape and Size of Pasta Works Best?
You can use and size of shape pasta that you like, however I prefer to use one that’s shorter and will hold the sauce. Shells, rotini, macaroni, orechiette or cavatappi are all great options.
- 12 ounces pasta
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed, drained and patted dry
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 3 tablespoons pesto
- 1/2 of a lemon + zest
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
- Chopped parsley for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400° F and line a sheet pan with foil. Place the cauliflower and chickpeas on the sheet pan and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then toss everything together until coated. Spread the cauliflower and chickpeas out into a single layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and caramelized and the chickpeas are crispy. Toss everything around halfway through the cooking time.
- While the cauliflower and chickpeas roast, cook the pasta. Reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta water before draining it.
- Place the pasta back into the pot it was cooked in along with the roasted cauliflower and chickpeas. With the heat on low, add in the pesto, lemon zest and juice and Parmesan cheese. Stir everything together and add in some of the pasta water to thin the sauce. Taste for seasoning and heat until warm.
- Top the pasta with dollops of ricotta cheese, chopped parsley and extra Parmesan cheese.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 481Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 458mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 11gSugar: 8gProtein: 21g