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Lemony pasta with cauliflower and fried breadcrumbs in white bowls next to minced parsley.

Cauliflower Pasta with Fried Breadcrumbs

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
  • Author: Alexandra Shytsman
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan


This lemony cauliflower pasta with fried breadcrumbs features white wine, capers, and nutritional yeast. Light and satisfying, packed with flavor, takes just 35 minutes.


  • ½ large head of cauliflower, cut into small pieces (about 4 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine, like sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio* (see note below)
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
  • 8 ounces (half a box) short-cut pasta like orecchiette or shells
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers (about half a standard jar)*
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
  2. Place the cauliflower in a large skillet over medium heat. Add about 2 tablespoons water and cook for a few minutes, until the water has evaporated. Then add a tablespoon of olive oil and cook until the cauliflower is golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 3 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few grinds of pepper, and cook for 30 seconds. Then add 1/3 cup wine and simmer for about a minute. Turn the heat off.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat. Add 1/3 cup Panko, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, and a pinch of salt. Cook until deeply golden, stirring frequently, about 3 minutes.
  5. Cook the pasta in generously salted water according to package directions until just shy of al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of the starchy pasta water, then drain.
  6. Immediately transfer the hot pasta to the skillet with the cauliflower over high heat. Add the reserved pasta water, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon oil, about 2 tablespoons each capers and minced parsley, zest of 1/2 lemon plus 1 tablespoon juice, and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine and allow to heat through for about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
  7. Divide among plates and top with the toasted Panko. Serve immediately.


  • Use a good-quality dry white wine that you’d enjoy drinking – never use “cooking wine.” Wine adds a distinctive, fermented-tasting funk to this pasta. If you don’t drink alcohol, skip this step and compensate with an extra squeeze of lemon juice if needed. (A teaspoon of Yondu would also do the trick!)
  • If you’re a caper-hater, use chopped olives instead.


  • Serving Size: 1/5 of the recipe
  • Calories: 380
  • Fat: 13.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 56.7 g
  • Fiber: 5.7 g
  • Protein: 7.1 g

Keywords: cauliflower, pasta, lemon, vegan, breadcrumbs

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