Cauliflower carbonara

Cauliflower carbonara

I don’t miss pasta one bit, but I do miss some of the sauces. So there I was this evening, craving a vegetarian supper (because we’ve had a few heavy meals out lately) and wondering what to cook. The fridge contained a couple of small cauliflowers, a glut of eggs, some cheese and all the usual stuff. I was wondering how to combine them when I remembered my formerly much-loved spaghetti carbonara. The thing about carbonara sauce is that the eggs act as a thickener instead of flour, so you get that lovely richness of a creamy cheese sauce with none of the carbs or gluten. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before.


  • generous knob of butter
  • slosh of olive oil
  • I large onion, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 small or 1 large cauliflower broken into florets
  • and broccoli if you have some
  • 3 eggs
  • a glug of cream
  • 200g cheddar cheese (or 150g Parmesan)


  • Preheat the oven to 190’C.
  • Gently sauté the onion in the butter and olive oil with a little salt and pepper in a large, heavy bottomed dish that will fit in the oven.
  • Meanwhile steam the cauliflower (and broccoli) until just starting to soften – about 5 minutes.
  • While they’re steaming break 3 eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them. Grate half the cheese into the egg mixture and season with some herbs and black pepper. Add the cream
  • When the vegetables finish steaming, let them dry for a minute or so then turn them, still hot, into the mixing bowl. The egg mixture will start to cook and thicken in the heat, clinging to the florets. Mix it all thoroughly together and turn out into the dish with the onions in, tossing it all together.
  • Grate the rest of the cheese on top and place the whole lot into the oven for about 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.


There are all sorts of variations to this: some bacon or lardons would complete the classic carbonara feel. Or add walnuts or sun-dried tomatoes. It works as a stand alone supper or you could serve it as a side dish with fish or chicken; eat it cold for breakfast or pack it in your lunch box.

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