In this braised cauliflower and squash penne pasta recipe, we cook the pasta and vegetables in broth rather than water to make this warming vegetarian pasta extra flavorful. The starch from the pasta and vegetables combines with the broth as it simmers and creates a silky sauce. And you can make the whole dish in just one pot, so cleanup is a breeze.

Carolyn Casner
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2013


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, thyme and crushed red pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth, penne, cauliflower and squash. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a lively simmer and cook, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the liquid is thickened and greatly reduced, 14 to 16 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in pepper and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve topped with cheese.



In this vegetarian pasta, we like to use “no-chicken” broth (made from a vegetable base) for its rich flavor and pale golden color instead of darker vegetable broth.

For convenience, try using butternut squash that is already peeled and cubed. Look for it near other prepared fresh vegetables in the produce department of most supermarkets.

Nutrition Facts

322.3 calories; protein 10.4g 21% DV; carbohydrates 53.3g 17% DV; exchange other carbs 3.5; dietary fiber 8.1g 33% DV; sugars 5.2g; fat 7.1g 11% DV; saturated fat 1.9g 9% DV; cholesterol 4.4mg 2% DV; vitamin a iu 6787.5IU 136% DV; vitamin c 31.4mg 52% DV; folate 33.5mcg 8% DV; calcium 148.9mg 15% DV; iron 2.7mg 15% DV; magnesium 23mg 8% DV; potassium 472.1mg 13% DV; sodium 654mg 26% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 7% DV.

Reviews (15)

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15 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 1
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 2 stars
This was pretty meh. Even though I roasted the cauliflower and squash first (per other reviewers) and used less broth than called for it was still a soupy mushy bland mess. Both the kids picked at it but we all voted that while edible we wouldn't make this/want to eat it again. Because I hate to waste food I had the leftovers for lunch and though I added more cheese and salt it was still a disappointment. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Good but missing something. I've been trying to find healthy recipes to incorporate into my diet. I'm a pasta lover but this dish is missing something. I took the advice of others and baked the cauliflower and squash(cut up) in olive oil garlic salt and pepper for 15 minutes @ 390 degrees first. Otherwise I followed the recipe. I feel like it should have a creamy sauce with sliced kielbasa sausage. Perhaps it should be more of a side than a main dish. Pros: Filling Wholesome Healthy Cons: Bland Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Nice meat free pasta dish w/ butternut squash We rated this an A-. There was a little too much pasta for the amount of cauliflower and squash. I was a little worried after reading some of the reviews so I roasted the squash and cauliflower 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes. I got the pasta pot out and cooked up the garlic & spices added the broth brought it to a boil and added the penne. Cooked according to pasta instructions then added the roasted vegetables. I'll try it the original way next time to see what a difference it makes. Pros: easy to make Cons: too much pasta Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Yum This was a simple & easy recipe for the summer. Didn't have any squash but added spinach at the end and also some kalamata olives. Didn't have Parmesan so used feta. Pros: easy quick Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Just one change... This was a good recipe but braising the 1 inch chunks of cauliflower and butternut squash takes about 25 minutes not 15. That being said I would not add the penne until the last ten minutes or so in the process if you want your pasta to be al dente and not mushy. Pros: Flavorful Filling Easy Cons: Brasing takes longer than the recipe states and penne comes out mushy Read More
Rating: 1 stars
Could be salvaged by roasting the squash and cauliflower I am a huge fan of Eating Well recipes and this was my first disappointment. I just think braising was the wrong technique here. What's better than roasted cauliflower and roasted butternut squash? Next time I would toss the veggies with a little olive oil and roast them in a 375 oven for about 45 minutes. Then I would add them to a pan where I had sauteed the garlic thyme and red pepper flakes. Finally I would stir in the almost-cooked pasta and about half a cup of salty cooked pasta water. Let that cook about two minutes toss with cheese top with some chopped parsley and you're done. Pros: Good ingredients Cons: Bland result Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Kids and Farm Dad Approved I can't believe how incredibly easy this was to make! It was so fast and the flavors burst. All 3 of my children loved it and my husband (a cattle rancher - for Pete's sake!) raved about how good it was. We made it exactly to recipe. I'm making it again tonight but will add some more veggies (carrots and spinach). This is going to be a staple in our house. Pros: quick easy delish versatile Cons: none! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Wonderful fall dish I thought this recipe made for a delicious week night meal. My only difficulty was with the pasta. It was hard to keep the pasta under the liquid so that it would cook. I ended up stirring quite a lot which in the end broke pene. So maybe next time I will make the pasta in a separate pot and add it to the sauce... The squash and cauliflower were an excellent combination. I toasted the squash seeds and sprinkled them on top. Yum!!! Pros: healthy easy Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Incredibly good AND easy So delicious! Added spinach at the end and wow-the colors! We did use chicken broth and added alittle extra of the seasoning. Flavors were amazing. This dish is so quick easy and tasty it is definitely going in the recipe book! Thank you Eating Well! Pros: Easy flavorful fast. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Great Fall Flavored Dish This was a great pasta dish that even my meat and potatoes father loved. Because it had all the tastes of fall I paired it with some warm apple cider. The flavor combination was to die for. I will definitely be making this again especially since it was so simple to prepare. I would maybe play around with the recipe and add some different spices next time. I'm not a huge garlic fan but this dish definitely was great as is. Pros: Easy Packed with flavor Good for the whole family Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Braised Cauiflower & Sqash Penne Pasta The best Cauliflower Soup I ever had. Excellent flavor and quick to make. Pros: The spices really enhance the soup Cons: none Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious! I ladled this over baby spinach to add some greens. Absolutely yummy! Pros: Easy fairly quick inexpensive. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Simple and Delicious Super delicious! I added in some Swiss chard right at the end for an extra dose of veggies. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Pros: Easy quick healthy delicious Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Superb Followed the recipe but added about 1 cup shredded chicken. I will definitely be making this again. Pros: Absolutely delicious and easy! Cons: No meat Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Simple and delicious This is a great simple recipe. Only addition was about 1/2. Chopped onion. It was amazingly good Pros: Easy Cons: None Read More