Finely chopped cauliflower and swiss chard sauteed with olive oil and lots of garlic turn into a healthy sauce in this spaghetti with cauliflower and garlicky swiss chard gremolata.
spaghetti with cauliflower and garlicky swiss chard gremolata

Let’s just get this out in the open.

This… an “oops” pasta.

Created with little to no forethought and despite my best intentions for it to be something else entirely, it just kind of…happened?

And I am really not mad that it did.


Here’s how it went down:

After getting a bunch of swiss chard in our CSA last week I had the GENIUS idea to toss it with pasta in a cauliflower-based faux-cream sauce. I full-on patted myself on the back, rushed to the store, bought all the ingredients, got home, started chopping, and realized…I already did that.


So….now not only was I possibly contending with early-onset dementia BUT we also had nothing to eat for dinner. I mean, sure I could theoretically make the same thing twice…but it would be unprecedented. And it’s just not the food blogger way.


It felt like I was in quite the pickle until a little voice inside my head told me to engage in some reckless abandon! take the road less traveled! break out my food processor! and throw everything into it!

And then pulse, pulse, pulse, fry, fry, fry, and toss it all with some pasta, parmesan cheese, and a squirt of lemon juice.

To sum up this flavor explosion in one word: YES.

Basically, the cauliflower gets just a tad crispy from its jaunt in the oil while the greens soak up that garlic oil and offer the perfect amount of brightness. Add a pinch of pepper flakes for excitement and parmesan for happiness…..and you have got yourself a dang good meal.


“Oops” status, notwithstanding.

Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Garlicky Swiss Chard Gremolata
Finely chopped cauliflower and swiss chard sauteed with olive oil and lots of garlic turn into a healthy sauce in this spaghetti with cauliflower and garlicky swiss chard gremolata.
Yield: 4-6 servings
  • 1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ - 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • ½ cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup pasta water after cooking. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor until it is finely processed, about the size of grains of rice. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with the swiss chard.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic to the pot and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in the cauliflower and swiss chard. Saute for 5-6 minutes, or until cooked through. Stir in the lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.
  4. Toss the pasta with the cauliflower and swiss chard sauce, adding reserved pasta water as needed. Serve topped with parmigiano reggiano cheese and more freshly ground black pepper.
An Eats Well With Others Original
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ⅙th of recipe

Loving on leafy greens:

roasted red pepper pasta with kale and feta

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Kale and Feta

pappardelle with kale and creamy parmesan garlic sauce

Pappardelle with Kale and Creamy Parmesan Garlic Sauce

fettuccine with swiss chard pistachio pesto and butternut squash

Fettuccine with Swiss Chard Pistachio Pesto and Butternut Squash

From Around the Web:

Kale Caesar Pasta Salad from Foodiecrush

Spinach and Artichoke Linguine from How Sweet It Is

Super Cheesy Kale and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Bake from Baker By Nature

Fettuccine with Caramelized Onions and Swiss Chard from A Better Happier St. Sebastian

Kale and Sunflower Seed Pesto Pasta from Annie’s Eats


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42 Responses to Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Garlicky Swiss Chard Gremolata

  1. Take that plan B! 🙂
    This looks just right for a summer al fresco dinner.

  2. I once read that it’s ok to recycle recipes and topics and give them a new spin. In the article they showed how Oprah magazine had recycled the same topic over and over throughout the years. I get Oprah magazine and never remembered them recycling. Talk about an oops. Apparently I’m much less observant than I thought I was.
    I’m impressed you remembered the old post and created something totally new on the fly that also happened to come out spectacularly. Love the simple ingredient list and I could easily tweak this to make it plant-based by using nutritional yeast instead of parm. BAM. Dinner. Can’t wait till my CSA starts down here! Ours starts in November in this crazy, upside down place.


  3. A big YES to this. I love the fact that the cauliflower gets a little bit crispy. I have pinned it to try very, very soon.

  4. Luuuuuv this oops-turned-genius recipe. Pulse and fry? My new kitchen mantra.

  5. haha, I’ve done the exact same thing before!! It’s usually with smoothies or banana bread though, so at least I don’t have to figure out what to do with a ton of ingredients. Aren’t “throw together” meals the best?? This one sure looks fab!

  6. Mira says:

    I was just thinking to make pasta today and this one looks perfect! Love the crispy cauliflower! Awesome pictures, pinned!

  7. Julia says:

    Your oopses are pretty fabulous…I wish my oopses were this mouth-watering! Seriously, those noodles and that parm is really whetting my whistle and now I’m craving pasta for breakfast. Love this chard + cauli infusion you’ve got going on!

  8. That cauliflower and swiss chard sauce sounds heavenly, Joanne. This is a great pasta for everyday.

  9. “Kind of like what I imagine it must be like for teen moms when they wake up one morning and realize…OOPS.” Okay, I died laughing here. It’s toootally the same situation 🙂 Also love this recipe and the older one! Frying solves all problems 🙂

  10. This is the type of OOPS that I’m 100% on board with, lol! I love the flavor explosion going on here, especially all that garlic…I’m always the girl who throws an extra clove or two in. 🙂

  11. Yum! Sometimes “oops” meals can be the best. Looks great!

    Also, I feel you re: potential early-onset dementia… I’m having a lot of those moments lately.

  12. Monica says:

    This really caught my eye! It looks so amazing and all that garlic with the cauliflower, swiss chard, gremolata-style – boy, I really want that whole big plate! What a crazy good “oops” this is. I love the whole wheat pasta too. So good, Joanne!

  13. Pam says:

    Oops pasta is my favorite kind of pasta. I am loving this recipe!

  14. You got us when we read it’s cauliflower, Swiss Chard and garlic all in one dish? FYI… all favorites of ours, well then, it has to be Amazing! 🙂

  15. grace says:

    my main complaint with most pasta dishes is the lack of different textures, so i think this is an outstanding creations, oopsie-daisy or not!

  16. Kate says:

    I would totally have pestoed that chard. This is way fancier!

  17. im so against eating same thing twice as well..unless it is SUPER FABULOUS!

  18. Sometimes the BEST meals happen from “Oops, My Bad” moments! And obviously I am supa’ excited you had one of those moments, because this pasta looks delicious! Garlicky, green chardy, cheesy, cauli-flowery NOM NOM! Love this. Looks perfect and like it belongs all up in my belleh! Gimme gimme! Pinned! Cheers, girlie! <3

  19. Tina says:

    I wish my husband loved cauliflower…..maybe something is wrong with him ?? That’s always nice when you try something new and its a winner!

  20. cheri says:

    This is my favorite kind of meal, pasta and cauliflower, love it!!!!

  21. amanda says:

    This pasta looks so yummy!

  22. To quote Tina ‘I wish my husband…’ loved pasta – there is definitely something wrong with him:-)

  23. Susan says:

    You are quick on your feet! Love every last ingredient in this wonderful pasta~

  24. Sometime the oops turn out to be the best recipes. Wow! This looks really yummy! Looks like the pasta would have a ton of flavor.

  25. Wow! This looks incredible, Joanne. Cauliflower sounds incredible. In fact I loved all the ingredients you added here! This is such a fantastic looking droolicious, Pasta! YUM!

  26. An oops that turned out fantastic, those are the best! This spaghetti looks incredible!

  27. Kelly says:

    Oops meals are some of my very favorites. This looks mouthwatering! Love the cauliflower and swiss chard sauce!

  28. easypeasy says:

    This sounds like the perfect pasta dish!!! 🙂

  29. Beth says:

    This looks great, Joanne. What a brainwave!

  30. Eva R. says:

    I am finally catching up on your blog posts (boo surgery rotation hours), but I am SO glad I came across this oops. I have all of the ingredients minus the swiss chard on hand, so you can bet this pasta will be on our dinner table tonight! 🙂

  31. Johanna GGG says:

    I am sorry to be blunt but this pasta looks so much better than the creamy sauce pasta which I had to check out – so I am glad there is no repeats which is a little like backtracking – so many recipes to try – this is on my list

  32. […] and chill out at home.  (Which is also all I want to do most night, but I digress.)  We made this Spaghetti with Cauliflower and Garlicky Swiss Chard Gremolata and immediately decided it was a new staple in our dinner rotation.  Quick, easy, flavorful and […]

  33. Carrie says:

    I made this last night. I have to be honest, I had no clue what to expect and the first couple of bites were surprising, I didn’t know what to think and honestly didn’t love my first couple of bits. BUT I kept eating and seriously fell in love with this dish more and more with each bit. I just had some leftovers for lunch, this seriously has to be one of my favorite new dishes. Thanks for sharing your oops! 🙂

  34. Rebecca says:

    Made this last night, I normally eat pasta with tomato based sauce and this was a nice refreshing change! I used penne, and had some carrots to use up so I cooked those amongst the cauliflower and chard. No food processor so I just chopped everything up somewhat small, added in a bit of shredded hot pepper in place of the red pepper flakes. Could not stop “taste testing” this even though I had already eaten dinner and was just preparing for the week ahead :p Will definitely make this again.

  35. Sarina says:

    Thanks for sharing! This recipe calls for EVERYTHING I have in the fridge an need to use before they turn bad. This will be tomorrow’s lunch and dinner! 🙂

  36. Beverly says:

    Oh thank you for an easy and fun way to use up my abundance of swiss chard from the garden! It is never ending!! 🙂 Thanks!

  37. Everth says:

    It was so good I loved it!!

  38. Amy says:

    Ooh, thank you so much for this recipe! The whole family (including the 4-year-old) LOVED it. Such great texture. I added lemon zest when I added the pasta, and I highly recommend it. I’m about to go bookmark a bunch more of your recipes!

  39. Barb says:

    Made this as recipe is written. Absolutely delicious. Even the carnivore loved it!!! I had a second helping it was so good. Thought about adding a few sun dried tomatoes next time. Will def make again!!

  40. Don’t you just love when an “oops” recipe comes together so nicely?! 🙂 This pasta looks delish, and what a great way to use Swiss chard! I’m saving to try soon.

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