Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Poppy Seed Cream Sauce | Naturally Ella

Post sponsored by Frontier Co-op. See below for more details.

There are some items I don’t use terribly often in my kitchen. These are the items that make their way to the back of the cabinet, the items that when you need it you have to pull everything out and hope your memory isn’t faulty about the last time you purchased the ingredient. I don’t have many of these ingredients but Poppy Seeds are definitely one of the few. Sure, there are poppy seed muffins and one of my favorite scones, but I don’t bake as much as I had been. So, what’s a girl to do with a bottle of Frontier Co-op Poppy Seeds? Make a savory dish!

This poppy seed cream sauce is a slight riff on my favorite lemon-cream sauce. I was inspired to try poppy seeds after seeing this recipe. Just reading through the recipe, I knew I had to try a vegetarian version. The faint hint of nuttiness from the poppy seeds is wonderful with the lemon and cauliflower. The overall dish is a hearty fall/winter meal and a lovely way to use up that bottle of poppy seeds you probably have hiding in your spice cabinet.


Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Poppy Seed Cream Sauce

  • Author: Erin Alderson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2 large servings
  • Cuisine: dinner


A delicious and hearty pasta featuring roasted cauliflower and a rich poppy seed cream sauce. Perfect to please the vegetarians during this holiday season!



  • 1 small head of cauliflower
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 ounces whole wheat pasta

Poppy Seed Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon Frontier Co-op Organic Poppy Seeds
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • Pasta water, as needed
  • Red chile flakes, for serving


  • Heat oven to 425˚F. Chop the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Place on a sheet tray and toss with the minced garlic, olive oil, and salt. Roast until browning and tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • While the cauliflower is roasting, cook the pasta until just-tender. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water, and set aside.
  • Into a large skillet with high sides, measure in heavy cream and the 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. I eyed it, about 1/2 lemon. Bring the sauce to a simmer and let cook until it thickens slightly, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parmesan at the end.
  • Add the roasted cauliflower and pasta to the skillet, stirring the mixture together until the noodles are well coated. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash or two of pasta water to thin the sauce a bit.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of red chili flakes if desired.


Tips & Tricks: Roast the cauliflower ahead of time to make this dinner a bit quicker.

Stock up: get the pantry ingredients you will need: poppy seeds, heavy cream, cauliflower

Nutrition:  see the information.

Poppy Seed Cream Sauce


The lovely thing about pasta is that it can really transform into whatever you need. There are a few solid gluten-free pasta options now and also vegan pasta sauce recipes. With a few easy swaps, you can make anyone in your family happy!

Greens: This poppy seed cream sauce is amazing with greens. I like to add a bit of sauteed chard or kale to the pasta. It adds a nice flavor and bulks up the plants in this dish.

Pasta: Use your favorite pasta. I went homemade whole wheat pasta but you could easily use your favorite gluten-free pasta to make this entire recipe gluten-free friendly.

Vegan: This isn’t my first cauliflower pasta and probably won’t be my last. However, the other version I have on this site uses a delicious vegan almond sauce– perfect for making this dish vegan!

Cauliflower Pasta with Poppy Seed Cream Sauce | Naturally Ella

Disclosure: This recipe was created in partnership with Frontier Co-op. All thoughts and opinions are my own. It’s content like this that helps me keep this site running to provide the vegetarian recipes you see every week.