Vegan Orecchiette Recipe

Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Breadcrumbs and Sundried Tomatoes

I’ve never been a huge pasta fan, apart from spaghetti with meat sauce (which I just learned is possibly the least Italian dish ever, thanks to my fave Alton Brown) that I ate all the time growing up. But sometimes I just crave it! Plus, pasta is such an easy weeknight dinner that is ready in minutes. 

But I try to cut back on the amount of pasta I eat and replace it (or most of it) with some sort of veggie to fill me up. This orecchiette (one of my favorite types!) with cauliflower should really be called cauliflower with orecchiette because I used such a small amount of pasta, but please use as much as you like!


I picked up these ingredients at DeLallo earlier this week after work. I could go on and on about how much I love this store, but I’ll hold back. You can find their products in stores all over the country, but I’m so lucky to live near their headquarters and only store. If you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area, make the trip out to Jeannette. You will not be disappointed. Yes, Italian typically means lots of meat and cheese, but this market is really vegan-friendly. Their produce and bulk nut/bean section is what dreams are made of and there’s an olive bar that’s 2 miles long. Okay, maybe only one mile, but still.

The toasted breadcrumbs in this dish add some really nice crunch, nuttiness and greasy-ness that you miss without cheese. It’s gross but it’s true and don’t act like it’s not.

The recipe below serves one, because I live alone (but not for long!). Double, triple, whatever for however many hungry mouths you have to feed!

Also apologies for all the cauliflower recipes this week. What can we say? We just love it, and for good reason!

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Cook Time: 20-30 min.

You will need:

  • 1/3 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2-3 T olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup orecchiette
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used plain unseasoned)
  • handful of sundried tomatoes
  • balsamic vinegar and parsley, for serving

To make:

  • Boil water and cook pasta according to directions on package. When finished, reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water.
  • Soak the sundried tomatoes in a bowl of warm water.
  • In the meantime, heat 1 T olive oil over medium high heat. Once hot, add your cauliflower. Cook until it’s as brown as you like. I like mine super brown (almost burnt), so mine cooked for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • While the pasta and cauliflower are cooking, heat 1-2 T olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the breadcrumbs. You want them fairly saturated with oil, so add more if necessary. Cook, stirring regularly, until they are as brown as you like. You can add some garlic powder or other seasonings here, like red pepper flakes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • By now, your cauliflower should be finished. Lower the heat to medium and add the garlic and cook just until fragrant, about a minute. Be sure you don’t burn it!
  • Drain your pasta and tomatoes and toss all ingredients together. If you like a bit more liquid, add a splash of the pasta water and cook for a second over high heat. Top with balsamic and parsley, if desired.

7 thoughts on “Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Breadcrumbs and Sundried Tomatoes

  1. I can’t believe I’ve never been to the Delallo store! Well that’s definitely a must next time I’m visiting the ‘burgh! Looks so comforting, Sara :)

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