This simple and comforting vegan pasta dish features penne wrapped in a creamy sauce made with lemon, white beans, and kalamata olives. Served with oil-free roasted cauliflower and topped with fresh basil, this whole-food, plant-based (WFPB) pasta recipe comes together in just 35 minutes! Also nut- and soy-free.
Raise your hand if you're an olive fan..... ME, TOO! In fact, whenever the subject comes up, my go-to statement to describe exactly how much I love them is usually "I could eat my weight in olives!"
After enjoying olives so much on the Caramelized Fennel Pizza recipe I shared earlier this week, I decided to follow it up with another comfort food dish, albeit a healthier, oil-free version. And this time the olives are taking center stage!
Easy WFPB Pasta Recipe Perfect for Weeknights
This recipe is a breeze to make and comes together in just over 30 minutes. Here's a quick run down of the prep process:
Roast the cauliflower:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and cut a large head of cauliflower into florets (you might even want two heads if they're on the smaller side).
- Roast the cauliflower until browned and barely fork tender, about 30 minutes, flipping at the halfway point.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook your pasta of choice according to package directions.
Blend and heat the olive sauce:
- Combine the lemon juice, hemp seeds, garlic, half of the cannellini beans, and salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add olives and blend again. Taste and adjust salt/liquid or add a few more olives if desired.
- While the pasta drains, pour the kalamata sauce into the pot and warm it through.
- Add the pasta, cauliflower, and remaining white beans to the pot and stir to coat. Top with a few more sliced olives and some fresh basil for garnish.
Serve and enjoy!
Options and Substitutions
See how simple that is? I love versatile pasta dishes like this that can be thrown together with any vegetables and proteins you have on hand.
You could also try this creamy olive pasta with:
- roasted broccoli or Brussels sprouts; sautéed onion, mushrooms, spinach or kale
- baked tofu or tempeh
- other beans like chickpeas or red kidney
- or vegan sausage (if you don't follow a whole-food, plant-based diet)
The hemp seeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, but if you don't have any feel free to substitute another neutral-tasting seed, nut, or nut/seed butter.
And to make this dish gluten-free, simply substitute your favorite gluten-free pasta!
I hope you enjoy this Kalamata Olive Pasta with Cauliflower. If you try it I would love to hear from you!
More vegan pasta recipes:
Creamy Olive Pasta With Cauliflower
- 16 ounces dried whole-wheat penne or your pasta of choice
- 1 extra large head cauliflower, cut into florets (For a more vegetable-rich dish, go for two heads!)
- 3 cups cooked cannelini beans, divided
- ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp hemp hearts or other raw seed such as sunflower
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, divided - Check ingredients; jarred varieties are usually oil-free.
- sea salt
- handful fresh basil or parsley
- Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle (Parm), optional garnish
- Place a baking sheet in the oven, and preheat to 400 degrees F. Once hot, removed baking sheet, and arrange florets in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt. Roast until barely fork tender, about 30 minutes, flipping at the halfway point.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions, and drain in a colander.
- Combine the lemon juice, hemp seeds, garlic, half of the cannellini beans, and ½ tsp salt in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add about half of the olives (12 to 15 olives), and blend again. Taste and adjust salt/liquid and add a few more olives if desired. Add a splash of water if you need to thin the sauce.
- While the pasta drains, pour the kalamata sauce into the pot to warm it through. Add the pasta, cauliflower, and remaining white beans to the pot and stir to coat. Slice the remaining olives, and sprinkle on top along with the basil or parsley.
- Serve with Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle if desired.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.