Roasted Cauliflower and Orzo

As much as I love playing around in the kitchen, dinner… well dinner can be a battle.

At the end of the day my brain and body are usually rooting for opposing teams. It can get messy…

My burnt out brain greedily cheers on Team “Take-Out-Then-Pass-Out”, while my goody two-shoes body lets out a hearty roar for Team “Feed-Your-Self-Some-Dang-Veggies-Girl. 

Why do I fight myself like this? Oh yeah, because I have zero control of the brain/body situation. ZERO control!

Such conflict! Such confusion! Such… Hunger!

Luckily quick and tasty pasta meals like this little roasted cauliflower and orzo gem keep me ahead in the dinner time battlefront.

(Go pasta, go pasta, go-go-go pasta.)

This whole meal comes together in about 30 minutes, and the leftovers, even cold, are just divine.

Think warm pasta dinner instantly transformed into awesome pasta salad lunch the next day.

Hello, leftover heaven!

While the cauliflower and orzo are certainly the stars of this meal, it’s the supporting ingredients that really make this dish shine.

And oh do they shine bright!

Anchovies, sun dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper, tons of garlic, fresh cilantro, capers, AND kalamata olives… I mean, come on – you know this is a ticket to flavor town, baby.

And while this hearty meal is perfectly fine without it, a generous sprinkle of fresh Parmesan is just the right thing to do.

Notes: If you want to make this dish vegan, simply omit the anchovies and cheese.

Roasted cauliflower and orzo – baker by nature

serves 4-6

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 500 degrees (F).

In a large mixing bowl toss cauliflower florets with olive oil, balsamic, garlic, salt and pepper. Spread cauliflower on a large baking sheet in an even layer and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring at the half way point. Remove from the oven and set aside until needed.

For the orzo:

12 ounces orzo pasta, cooked according to package instructions

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus one tablespoon for the skillet

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons capers

1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

4 small anchovy fillets, chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

Parmesan for serving

Once pasta is cooked and drained transfer it to a large bowl and stir in lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, set aside. In a large skillet heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, anchovies, and crushed red pepper. Saute for 2 or 3 minutes, then add cilantro and cook for another minute. Add the roasted cauliflower and cook for another few minutes before tossing in the cooked orzo. Mix everything together and let everything simmer together on medium heat for a few minutes – just so everything is nice and warm – before removing from heat. Sprinkle with cheese and serve immediately.

About bakerbynature

Hi, I'm Ashley! The baker, writer, and photographer behind this blog. Welcome.
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29 Responses to Roasted Cauliflower and Orzo

  1. katie says:

    This looks so good! Must make this soon.

  2. I love cauliflower! This is exactly the type of thing I would make myself when I know I need to feed myself some dang veggies :)

    I’m not sure if you eat meat, but I just saw a recipe for israeli couscous salad with lemon vinaigrette and canned tuna. (buy tuna packed in olive oil). So simple, so good for us!

  3. This is a beautiful dish. I’d have no trouble eating the whole pan of it. Love it!

  4. Helene says:

    You did an amazing meal.

  5. yumm! this looks great–what a fun combo. always looking for new ways to use cauliflower!

  6. I have to say, that is one beautiful looking meal. Roasted cauliflower is so under-rated, and when combined with all those other great ingredients, this recipe has got to be outstanding.

  7. Omg I want to eat this right this minute!! What a flavorful and stunning recipe!! Loving the lemon photo. :-)

  8. i totally get the battle. this sounds like a great strategy…who can go wrong with pasta & healthy add-ins? yum!

  9. Kathryn says:

    I have exactly that debate with myself every evening – I can completely relate. This is such a great meal to have in the bag!

  10. CCU says:

    This is the perfect compromise my friend :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  11. Haha, I totally know what you mean about that internal fight between body and brain. My brain usually cries out for chips, hummus, and a beer for dinner every night…..While my body usually wants a delicious roasted veggie dish like this one :) I LOVE the add-ins, especially the olives!

  12. Monet says:

    This is beautiful…and exactly what I plan on serving to a friend this Saturday night. She is a vegetarian, and I’m certain she’ll be over the moon. Thank you for another delicious post. And thank you for your sweet words on my blog! I hope you have a wonderful end to your week.

  13. Love all the different ingredients you used! Looks delicious!

  14. That is a great dish! I love the flavors and bet it’s fantastic with cauliflower.

  15. I have the same problem with dinners – some nights I’m just too pooped to come up with something super creative or labor-intensive. This type of healthy, quick meal is just up my alley. And I love that the leftovers can be eaten hot, room temp, or cold – those are my favorite types of leftovers! =)

  16. i’m glad you noted that the leftovers are divine b/c I love taking grains/veggies to work to eat throughout the week! I would love this cold! It looks sooo good. :)

  17. Orza is my favorite pasta of all time! I have always made it with a little pat of butter and nothing else. This recipe looks like it packs a ton more flavor though. I kinda want to eat it for every meal.

  18. simple and delicious. Love this meal!

  19. that not only looks very healthy it looks so delicious. YUM. xO!

  20. Roasting cauliflower makes it taste so much more delightful! And I’m an orzo lover, so this dish is right up my alley!

  21. Jenny @ BAKE says:

    I was in the middle of one such debate about dinner tonight! I’ve just put the ingredients into a shopping list, this recipe totally won!

  22. I love roasted veggies, especially cauliflower! This orzo looks delish!

  23. I love Orzo! It’s totally the new Couscous ;)

  24. This sounds super tasty, I love kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes– any reason to use those is a yummy one!

    I’m not sure if it’s because I’m back in the stone age with internet exlorer, but the picture after the chopped ingredients is very stretched out?

  25. We love cauliflower around here. It is one of the few veggies even my husband loves in his dinners. My favorite lunches are rice/veggies from the night before on a bed of lettuce. This would work so well!

  26. Ashley says:

    I love cauliflower and have been looking for some new ways to use it – this dish looks delicious! Would be great during the week for lunch too!

  27. Oh, I am the SAME way…I argue with myself like that at the end of a long day. I am loving this dish – those flavors are intense. LOOOOVE.

  28. I’d like to order up a take out and pass out for tonight! I know what you mean about being so burned out that cooking dinner becomes darn near impossible. When you’re in feed-me-now mode, a quick and delicious meal like this is just perfect! Can you believe I’ve never cooked with anchovies??? I love seafood and anything salty, so I’m excited to try this dish – you’ve inspired me to branch out! Have a great and relaxing weekend!

  29. This is amazing. I want to eat it right now. I love cauliflower to begin with, and all the ingredients you threw in, anchovies, sun dried tomatoes,garlic, cilantro, capers… DROOL. I love this flavor. I can’t wait to try this soon. I don’t even have orzo yet….looking forward to it!!

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