Skinnytaste > Italian Inspired Recipes > Pasta with Cauliflower

Pasta with Cauliflower

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Pasta with cauliflower, toasted bread crumbs, cheese and a mysterious ingredient… anchovies.

You don’t think you like anchovies? Don’t leave them out! They really give this simple dish a wonderful savoriness, not fishy at all. You’d be surprised how many of your favorite Italian dishes have anchovies in them.

This recipe was adapted from my Sicilian friend Julia, from Julia’s Healthy Italian Cooking. She has a gift of whipping up delicious Italian meals in minutes!

For a gluten-free option, use brown rice pasta for 8 points plus.

Pasta with Cauliflower

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Yield: 6 servings
Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups


  • 12 oz spaghetti Ronzoni Smart Taste or whole wheat
  • 1 large head cauliflower roughly chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 3 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs I used whole wheat
  • 5 anchovies
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 6 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley


  • Boil pasta in salted water according to directions for al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup water.
  • Meanwhile, steam cauliflower (or boil) until tender. Set aside.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of oil to a small frying pan and toast breadcrumbs, careful not to burn. Set aside.
  • In a large frying pan sauté anchovies in remaining tablespoon of olive oil until they begin to dissolve.
  • Add onions and cook on medium heat until golden.
  • Add steamed cauliflower and mix well.
  • Toss pasta with parsley, cheese, cauliflower, 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water, (more if needed) and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide evenly between 6 plates.
  • Top with toasted bread crumbs and serve.
  • Enjoy!!

Last Step:

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Serving: 1 1/2 cups, Calories: 274.4 kcal, Carbohydrates: 51 g, Protein: 11.2 g, Fat: 6.1 g, Fiber: 8.7 g


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61 comments on “Pasta with Cauliflower”

  1. Just made this and I think it was pretty good. I used roasted cauliflower instead of steaming it, and I thought the cauliflower was more flavorful this way. I felt the pasta was a little dry even after doubling the pasta water. I would definitely try this again with the suggestions of adding garlic and red pepper flakes.

  2. Gina, couldn't wait for the reply so I made this dish last night..It was very delicious..wasn't fishy at all, you could barely feel the taste of the anchovies..Couldn't find the Pecorino Romano so used Parmesan cheese instead. I have also reduced the quantity of the pasta a bit. It was really great..Definitely a Keeper! This is officially my favorite healthy food blog..Keep up the great work..

  3. I just made that and it is sooo good !!!! I left the anchovies out because I just don't eat fish but it is still delicious !!! Thank You Gina I visit your site often and my friends and I are losing weight with your help =0)

  4. I made this tonight for my family. I was skeptical about the anchovies but it was delicious and my 10 month old gobbled it up! I found the anchovies did leave a little fishy taste but it wasn't strong. I love the idea of using garlic instead and maybe just a dash of anchovy paste! Thanks again Gina, you are helping me make a little foodie of my baby girl!

  5. Oh wow, my Sicilian grandpa used to make a similar dish, just used broccoli instead of cauliflower, it's soooo yumm. I never thought that I would find a similar recipe on such a traditional (and rural) Sicilian dish.
    For those who don't like anchovies, you can use garlic instead. it gives the pasta a really nice flavour. When you toast the breadcrumbs in a skillet, add finely chopped garlic and mix well. continue as shown in recipe.

  6. My mother in law makes this dish and she cooks the cauliflower first,sets it aside and uses that water to cook the pasta.

  7. Made this for the first time last night. I added 3 cloves of chopped garlic and a good dose of red crushed pepper flakes at the same time I put the onions in (and skipped adding any salt and pepper at the end). SO good.

  8. I made this yesterday and it has a really great taste to it!! sooooo good. I think next time I will be putting big chunks of garlic in it, I felt like that was the only thing really missing….but this is a goodie!!!

  9. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    Whole anchovies are so much better than the paste. I find the paste to be bland. Try it with whole next time, and use all 5.

  10. I made this dish yesterday. I found it to be a bit bland. I used anchovy paste…maybe not enough. I will try it again using the amount you suggested (2-3inches) above. FYI, for those that are afraid of anchovies, I don't like them on their own either, but they definitely add much taste to recipes.

  11. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    Comes in a small glass jar, check the supermarket. They also sell anchovy paste which comes in a tube you squeeze out. That would work too.

  12. I've never bought, eaten, or cooked with anchovies before. I'm up for trying this dish but I don't know where to purchase anchovies. Can I find them in a supermarket? Are they canned? I have no idea.

  13. Delicious. I roasted my cauliflower and added some red pepper flakes just to spice it up. A definite repeater in our house!

  14. Avatar photo
    Gina @ Skinnytaste

    I think gluten-free pasta is more points, but I don't think it's any healthier than wheat pasta, just better for those who can't eat gluten.

  15. Just out of curiousity, why would gluten-free be more WW PointsPlus? Aren't gluten-free products less processed and healthier for you?