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    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Mushroom Sauce

I have been staring at this head of cauliflower all week long, not quite sure what I wanted to do with it.  I kept wanting to make a casserole, but couldn’t decide what direction to go in.  I ended finding inspiration in one of my own recipes – Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Mushroom Cream Sauce.

This pasta bake isn’t heavy or drenched in sauce, but is a great way to make an easy dinner that is both healthy and filling. 

Cauliflower Pasta Bake with Mushroom Sauce

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Print this recipe!

Ingredients: (serves 6 to 8)

  • 1 package pasta (I used small shells)
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 pint sliced mushrooms
  • 3 cups unsweetened original almond milk (or other milk)
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt (or more to taste)
  • 3 slices sourdough or other crusty bread
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Earth Balance or butter
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Instructions:  The only bad thing about making this is that you are going to get your kitchen dirty.  Definitely not a one pot meal!  Start by boiling a large pot of water to cook your pasta and cauliflower.  I used these pretty colorful shells that I found in the bulk bins at my grocery store, but you can use whatever type you have on hand. 

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Once the water boils, add your pasta and cook for 5 minutes or so.  With 2-3 minutes left in your cooking time, add the cauliflower to the pot as well.

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Once pasta is al dente and cauliflower is beginning to soften, drain both in to a colander in the sink, and set aside to cool.

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In the meantime, you can make your sauce.  Start by adding sliced mushrooms to a pan over medium high heat, and sautéing in a bit of olive oil.  Cook for about ten minutes until soft and brown.  (Note:  I didn’t have sliced mushrooms, so I chopped up 4 big portabellas!)

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Once mushrooms are cooked, add 1 cup of almond milk and allow to simmer for a few minutes in order to condense and create a rich base for the sauce.  Next add the nutritional yeast and the rest of the almond milk.  Bring the sauce up to a simmer and allow it to cook and condense for about 10 minutes.  The sauce will still be very thin and runny.

In a small separate container, combine 1 tbsp cornstarch with 1 tbsp water to make a slurry.  Do not add the cornstarch directly to the sauce!  Add the slurry mixture to the sauce and continue to stir – sauce should start to thicken immediately!  Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

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Last but not least, prepare the breadcrumbs!  Take 3 slices of crusty bread (I used cracked sourdough – yum!) and tear into pieces.  Add to a food processor along with garlic, Earth Balance, a pinch of red pepper flakes. 

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Pulse until bread becomes breadcrumbs!

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In a 9×13 baking dish, combine pasta and cauliflower with the mushroom sauce and spread evenly.  Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.

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Top baking dish with breadcrumbs, and bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees F. 

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The finished product is more of a tossed pasta dish than a casserole, and is perfect for a hearty meal that is still full of vegetables.

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The sauce is light and creamy, and it’s hard to believe it’s vegan. 

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Red pepper flakes in the breadcrumb topping pack just the slightest kick, which I love.  This meal is great for making ahead and baking on a busy night, or eating straight out of the oven. 

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Whenever you choose to make it – enjoy!

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34 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Alayna @ Thyme Bombe     at 3:44 pm

Mmm, anything with a creamy mushroom sauce sounds fantastic to me. I love that you made your own breadcrumbs too.


Shaya (Eye Girl Eats)     at 4:05 pm

yum! looks delicious :)


Mari     at 4:06 pm

WOW – that looks incredible! I was the one who made your Goat Cheese Potato Salad for our “cook off” and it was delicious…so I really look forward to trying this out. And I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your pregnancy updates etc. As a mom of a 14 year old I think it’s so cool that you have done so much blogging and picture taking!


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga     at 4:07 pm

That looks great! I have quite a few veggie bakes that I make. Sometimes I put pasta in them, sometimes rice, lentils, potatoes…just depends. Always add nooch to them though!


Kathryn @ Flopoodle     at 4:19 pm

Sounds really tasty! I still haven’t tried vegann sauces yet with nutritional yeast but it’s on my culinary to-do list. Love the tri-colored shells, too!


Ami@dashofcurry.com     at 5:22 pm

Not only does it seem tasty, but it looks beautiful! I love the colors!


Jen R. (emeraldsunshine.org)     at 5:28 pm

This looks absolutely beautiful. I’m always a sucker for things that LOOK appealing.


Melissa     at 7:12 pm

Looks great and I love the vibrant colors!


Army Amy*     at 8:00 pm

That looks yummy!*


Jenn     at 8:50 pm

This looks fab–to bad I just bought another set of ingredients for my giant cauliflower in the fridge. It’s bookmarked for next time!


Lee     at 3:44 am

I like how you always bulk up your pasta recipes with veggies. Looks delicious.


Danielle @weightsandmeasures     at 8:32 am

This looks like a delicious transition meal from summer to fall.


Leanne (Bride to Mrs.)     at 8:38 am

You’re such an awesome cook!


Aimee-las vegas     at 9:00 am

Hmmmm, mushrooms. Thanks for the dinner recipe. I’m excited to use some of my GF bread that became too dry. Happy weekend.


Aimee-las vegas Reply:

Ok, we made it! YUMMM. It’s been rainy and chilly in Vegas so this was the perfect meal for tonight. We made it GF and used 2 tbl of slurry. Thanks again!! Kids are working on their second serving of ‘yummy sauce and vege’


Emily Malone Reply:

So glad you liked it! :)


carrie @plums in the icebox     at 11:08 am

looks delicious, and i HATE cauliflower. you may have just converted me….


Shannon @ My Place In The Race     at 7:41 am

Oh this sounds amazing!!!!


fittingbackin     at 9:54 am

This looks and sounds wonderful!!


crunchy oklahoma     at 11:39 am

looks soooo good! I found your blog recently and have really been enjoying it!


Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie     at 1:26 pm

I was never a big mushroom fan until I gave up meat. Now I’m starting to love them! This looks amazing, and my boyfriend just made a comment about how much he loves cauliflower. Perfect timing much? :D


kelli     at 2:02 pm

I can imagine this being even better if the cauliflower was roasted first! I love roasted cauliflower <3


STUFT Mama     at 3:01 pm

That looks amazing and i just happen to buy a head of cauliflower the other day. Yay! :) Love that this has red pepper flakes and mushrooms too. Num num (that’s how one of my boy’s would say it). :)


Lauren @ Fun, Fit and Fabulous!     at 7:11 pm

That looks absolutely delicious! That would be a great meal to make when your having friends over. I always settle with lasagna, so this would be a great alternative!


lindsay     at 9:25 pm

wow i love this recipe emily, thanks so much for sharing! I always have the hardest time with cornstarch, and that is a fabulous trick! I love when you throw in culinary tricks of the trade into your posts! :)


Lindsay @ Schnoodle Soup     at 5:16 am

I love mushroom cream sauces. Looks delish!


holly     at 5:46 am

hey! speaking of cauliflower, next time you are stuck with a head on your hands and not sure what to make, try this recipe http://reginarae.com/2010/03/08/aunt-kathis-cauliflower-sweet-potato-pie/

i made it the other week and it was amazing, definitely recommend it!


Jennifer (The Gourmetour)     at 9:13 am

Wow- what a great recipe. This will be a perfect comfort dish for the upcoming fall weather!!


Beth B.     at 12:30 pm

I need to make this…like right now!!!


Aimee-las vegas     at 6:33 pm

YUMM AGAIN! Vegas has rain and chilly, this was the perfect dinner. We made it GF and added a second dose of slurry to thicken it up. Kids asked for ‘seconds of the yummy vege and sauce’ Thanks!!


Heather @ Dietitian on the Run     at 4:26 pm

Just popped this into the oven! Can’t wait for it to be ready, the sauce looked sooo good!


Sarah     at 2:23 pm

I Just made this! It’s soooo good. I love the mushroom sauce! Thanks for the recipe.


Jenn     at 8:47 am

I made finally made this! One request–I’m terrible at adding salt-to-taste. Please give us more guidance!

Other than coming out really under-salted, it was tasty! I needed some protein and ended up adding buffalo-style seitan in–it felt like it needed something strong and spicy to working with the creamy sauce. Any other suggestions?


Katherina     at 5:20 am

My favorite part about your recipes is scrolling through the comments, because people actually make your dishes and I can read about possible subs or just reviews! Making this as a day-before-thanksgiving meal!


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