This One Pot Cauliflower Piccata Pasta has all the flavors of your favorite piccata dish in a quick and easy meatless meal.
I have always loved the flavors of piccata with the lemon, butter, and salty capers but sometimes I just don't have it in me to pound out the chicken, bread everything, lightly fry it, and make the sauce. Even though it's a fairly quick meal, it's pretty labor-intensive.
Lately, I have been experimenting with bringing the flavors or piccata to a quick and easy pasta dish like this One Pot Cauliflower Piccata Pasta. Everything is cooked in one pot. The starch from the pasta creates a creamy sauce when combined with the Parmesan cheese. The capers and lemon bring the bright and salty flavors you expect out of a traditional piccata dish and the parsley brings some freshness.
Craving protein? You could also add chickpeas, chicken breast, or chicken thighs. For the chickpeas, just add them right into the pan as you cook the garlic and shallot. For chicken, brown chunks of chicken with garlic and shallot. Then let the chicken cook with the pasta. Easy and delicious.
Looking for another quick version of piccata? Try this delicious version with shrimp and zucchini noodles.
Ingredients and Pantry Swaps
- Cauliflower: The base of this recipe is cauliflower. Fresh cauliflower florets work best since they have the most crunch and texture. Frozen will work but it will be much softer in the final product.
- Pasta: This recipe works best with regular or whole wheat pasta. Substitute pasta made with chickpeas, rice, or lentils will not work in this recipe. It is best to prep those on the side and adds them to the sauce after.
- Garlic: Fresh garlic will give you the best flavor in the sauce. Minced garlic will also work. Garlic powder can work but the flavor won't be the same.
- Butter: Butter is a key flavor in the sauce so make sure to use the real thing!
- Capers: It isn't piccata without the capers. If you haven't cooked with capers before, they are salty and briny with a similar flavor profile to olives. In a pinch, you could swap in some olives to get a similar taste.
- Parsley: This dish needs to be finished with fresh herbs to balance the richness of the sauce. Parsley is traditional but you could also use basil.
- Lemon: Lemon is another essential component of piccata. Make sure to use fresh lemon juice.
- Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth gives extra flavor to the sauce and pasta. You can swap in water or chicken broth as well.
- Parmesan cheese: This adds creaminess to the sauce and some extra salt. Pecorino Romano works or nutritional yeast for a vegan cauliflower piccata.
What is Piccata sauce made of?
Piccata is an Italian dish where protein is served in a sauce made with butter, garlic, lemon, capers, and parsley. Typically piccata is made with breaded chicken cutlets or veal cutlets but it can also be made with fish, shellfish, and vegetables.
Some piccata sauce contains white wine as well to add some acidity to the sauce.
There are lots of creative ways to make this cauliflower piccata dish your own.
- Add protein: Boost this pasta dish with some extra protein. For a vegetarian option, add chickpeas, cannellini beans, or cooked tofu. For meat eaters, add cooked chicken, white fish, or shrimp.
- Add more veggies: Don't be scared to add move veggies to the recipe. Try it with some spinach, kale, zucchini, or cherry tomatoes. If you add a lot of extra veggies, you may need some extra sauce.
- Add extra red pepper flakes: For a little spice, add some red pepper flakes along with the garlic. This adds some nice spice to the dish.
- Flavor boosters: Add sliced olives, sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or artichoke hearts.
One Pot Cauliflower Piccata Pasta
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- 1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 8 oz. high fiber pasta
- 4 cups cauliflower florets
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1 lemon (zest and juice)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp. capers
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
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Add the pasta, cauliflower, vegetable broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the pot and bring it to a boil. Cook for 10-12 minutes until pasta is fully cooked, cauliflower is tender, and the remaining liqui becomes thick and saucy. If needed, add extra vegetable broth to thin out the sauce so the pasta doesn't stick.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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