I have been eyeing the recipe for linguine with cauliflower pesto in the Smitten Kitchen cookbook since Christmas. For some reason, this recipe popped out from the pages of other beautiful pictures and fresh, doable recipes. At first, I couldn’t understand it. Cauliflower? I don’t love this vegetable at all. I find it borderline repulsive to the eyes and the nose. But I couldn’t get this recipe—a coarse mixture of raw cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, capers and toasted almonds—out of my mind.
After many weeks of discussing this recipe (I cannot find it on the blog, so here’s a similar version) with one of my clients, I agreed to test it out for her. The questions we muddled over beforehand included:
- Can the capers be omitted?
- Will the sun-dried tomatoes overpower?
- Can this be made into a vegan pesto?
In my first go-around, I stuck pretty true to the recipe, electing to use toasted almonds over pine nuts, two generous pinches of red pepper flakes, and red wine vinegar because I didn’t have sherry vinegar in the pantry. I paired the pesto with egg linguine, which could be substituted for a vegan diet.
The end result: I loved this pasta. It’s extremely flavorful, healthy, and not at all oily, as some basil pestos are. The capers don’t overpower (for those of you who despise capers), nor do the tomatoes, and the cauliflower is pulsed in a food processor until it resembles couscous. This is a much prettier face for cauliflower in my opinion. The moral of the story: dare to try ingredients that you don’t usually care for in a different way. Enjoy.