Serves 4


3tablespoons chopped walnuts
1 small or ½ large head cauliflower, broken into bite sized florets
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 – 14 1/2 ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes, in juice
½ teaspoon raw sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sea salt to taste
½ to 1 teaspoon dried oregano (to taste)
½ cup chickpeas (canned or freshly cooked)
½ cup of your favorite tomato or marinara sauce (optional)
¾ lb. quinoa spaghetti*(or any good quality whole grain pasta)
Crumbled feta or freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste and cauliflower. Boil 5 minutes, then using a wide slotted spoon or skimmer, transfer cauliflower to a bowl of cold water (do not drain the pot; you’ll use the water for the pasta. Drain the cauliflower and cut any pieces that are not medium-fine in size. Set aside.
  2. (You can do this step while waiting for the water to come to a boil for the cauliflower). Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat, in a large, heavy skillet or wide saucepan and add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and stir in tomatoes with their juice., sugar, cinnamon, salt and oregano. Turn up heat to medium-high and stir often as tomatoes come to a brisk boil. Turn heat down to medium and cook, stirring often, until tomatoes have cooked down and taste very fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add your favorite sauce, if you want more of a “saucy” consistency. Add pepper to taste.
  3. Add cauliflower and walnuts to the tomato sauce, along with ¼ water from the cauliflower, stir together and add the chickpeas.
  4. Bring water in the pot back to a boil and add pasta. Cook al dente, following timing instructions on the package but test for doneness 1 minute before indicated time. Set aside ½ cup cooking water from the pasta, in case you want to moisten the sauce more, drain pasta and toss with the tomato and cauliflower sauce and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add water from pasta ONLY if you think pasta is dry. Serve, passing crumbled cheese or grated parmesan at the table for sprinkling.

Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman, NYTimes Cooks


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