Pesto Cauliflower Pasta with Breaded Tofu

Delicious Vegan, Gluten Free Pasta

Delicious, Easy, Vegan and Gluten-Free Pesto Pasta

This recipe comes from my favorite vegan comfort-food cook book - Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It's creamy, vibrant and delicious!

Plus it's easy to whip up the kids dinner as well since the cauliflower is boiled in the pasta water. I just leave off the sauce and give them the noodles and cauliflower with breaded tofu.  The I would typically add a few carrot sticks and spinach leaves to their plate to complete the meal. But for me, the sauce is absolutely divine!


For the Tofu:

leaf43/4 cup dry bread crumbs (whole wheat if possible)

leaf41/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed between your fingers

leaf41/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed between your fingers

leaf41/2 teaspoon dried basil

leaf4 1 teaspoon garlic powder

leaf4 3 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

leaf4 14 ounces extra firm tofu, but into 1/2 inch cubes

leaf4 Olive oil, or coconut oil, for brushing


For the Pasta and Cauliflower:

leaf48 ounces linguine (for a healthier twist- try quinoa pasta or brown rice pasta)

leaf41 medium head cauliflower (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

leaf41 batch of Pesto


For the Pesto:

leaf42 cloves garlic

leaf41/3 cup pine nuts or cashews

leaf43 cups loosely packed fresh basil

leaf41/2 cup fresh cilantro

leaf43/4 teaspoon salt

leaf41/2 cup veggie broth

leaf41/4 cup nutritional yeast

leaf41 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

leaf4Freshly ground black pepper


For the pesto: Pulse the garlic and pine nuts into coarse crumbs in a food processor. Add the basic, cilantro, salt, broth, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice and puree until smooth.  Add water to thin as needed. Taste for salt and finish with black pepper. Place in sealed container until ready to use.

For the tofu: Preheat a large nonstick pan, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. On a dinner plate, use your fingertips to mix together the bread crumbs, thyme, rosemary, basil and garlic. Pour the tamari onto a separate plate.

Place a handful of tofu cubes in the soy sauce and toss to coat. Then dredge them in the bread crumbs, tossing to coat. (use your dry hand to handle the tofu in the bread crumbs, otherwise you'll get a crumb mitten on your hand) Put the coated tofu off to the side of the plate and combine until all the tofu is coated.

Apply a thin layer of olive oil in the pan, and then transfer the tofu cubes to the pan, being careful not to crowd them. Drizzle the tofu with a little oil, and let it cook for a few minutes, then flip, using a thin metal spatula so you don't scrape off the breading.  Cook for about 7 minutes total, adding extra oil as needed and flipping occasionally until browned on most sides.

For the Pasta and Cauliflower:  Bring a 4-quart pot of salted water to a boil. When water is boiling, add the pasta. After about 4 minutes, add the cauliflower too. Cook for about 8 minutes; the pasta should be done and the cauliflower tender. Drain into a large colander. Immediately add them back to the pout which you used to cook them and mix in the pesto.

Divide into bowls, top with breaded tofu, and serve.