Cauliflower Pasta Bake Recipe

Cauliflower Pasta Bake Recipe

How To Make Cauliflower Pasta Bake

This Cauliflower Pasta Bake recipe makes an amazing mac and cheese-like dish, but it’s made with cauliflower, cheesy sauce, and a crispy cracker topping.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 20 minutes



For Pasta:

  • 1headcauliflower,large
  • 3tbspolive oil
  • 1medium yellow onion
  • ¾tspsalt
  • ¼tspground black pepper
  • ½lbpasta,such as shells, pipe rigate, or rigatoni
  • ½cupparmesan,(1½ oz) finely grated
  • 1cupmilk,whole, or 2%
  • 1tbsplemon zest,(from 1 lemon)
  • 2tbspthyme leaves,chopped
  • 3cupsgouda,(8 oz) grated

For Cracker Topping:

  • 14Ritz crackers,(1 small sleeve) or similar buttery crackers
  • 2tbspparmesan,finely grated
  • 2tbspbutter,melted
  • 2tbspfresh parsley,chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place 1 rack on the top third of the oven and 1 rack in the lower third.

  2. Trim away the outer leaves and cut the cauliflower into slices roughly ¼-inch thick. Some smaller florets will fall away. This is fine.

  3. Spread the cauliflower slices and any florets that have fallen off on a rimmed baking sheet.

  4. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of oil. Using the hands, rub the oil into the cauliflower, coating both sides.

  5. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper.

  6. Roughly chop the onion.

  7. On the 2nd baking sheet or in an ovenproof skillet, toss the onions with the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt.

  8. Place the cauliflower on the lower rack of the oven and the onions on the top rack.

  9. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until both are tender and golden.

  10. Flip the cauliflower once during roasting. Stir the onions occasionally.

  11. Remove the onions from the oven if they finish before the cauliflower or start to burn.

  12. Let the vegetables cool slightly in the pans. Break the cauliflower into smaller florets.


  14. Lower the oven temperature to 375 degrees F for baking the pasta.

  15. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

  16. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente (do not overcook or the pasta will become mushy after baking).

  17. Scoop out and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water.

  18. Drain the pasta in a colander.

  19. Return the drained pasta to the pot and immediately stir in ½ cup of parmesan while the pasta is still hot.

  20. Once the cheese has melted and absorbed into the pasta a little, stir in the milk.

  21. Add the roasted cauliflower and onion, lemon zest, thyme, and Gouda, and stir well.

  22. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.

  23. If the mixture seems dry, add a little pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

  24. Transfer to a 3- or 4-quart baking dish.

Cracker Topping:

  1. Place the crackers in a zip-top bag and crush with a rolling pin until coarsely crumbled.

  2. In a bowl, mix the crushed crackers with 2 tablespoons of parmesan, the melted butter, and parsley.

  3. Sprinkle this evenly over the pasta.

  4. Bake the pasta for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the pasta is hot and the top is golden.

  5. Cool briefly and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Roasting the cauliflower and onions on separate pans will give them more space and help them roast better.
  • Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and reheated in a microwave or a warm oven.


  • Calories: 435.91kcal
  • Fat: 25.04g
  • Saturated Fat: 12.62g
  • Trans Fat: 0.18g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 9.14g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.85g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.57g
  • Fiber: 2.83g
  • Sugar: 5.67g
  • Protein: 20.88g
  • Cholesterol: 64.75mg
  • Sodium: 579.16mg
  • Calcium: 494.28mg
  • Potassium: 403.09mg
  • Iron: 1.35mg
  • Vitamin A: 134.65µg
  • Vitamin C: 36.61mg
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