Sweet Potato Cauliflower Carbonara with Crispy Chickpeas

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Carbonara with Crispy Chickpeas

This is a big bowl of comfort. There is no other way to it, that is just what it feels like – one tasty, creamy hug.

Call me crazy, but I’d never been big on pasta before. My mother loves the stuff, and I do see the appeal of an easy dish, but it’s only now that I’m starting to appreciate the endless possibilities that it brings. On a day where you just want to curl up to something simple, quick, but that still packs good flavour, pasta is a saving grace.

This is a sweet potato cauliflower carbonara, which means the pasta itself is made from spiralized sweet potatoes. Mine were japanese sweet potatoes, which is why they’re lighter in colour and resemble actual pasta but the orange variety will do just fine.

Also, carbonara made from cauliflower? Yes, we’re doing this. We also have smoky & crispy chickpeas instead of bacon pieces, and not an ounce of cream or cheese in sight. Different? Yes. Worth it? Most definitely.

sweet-potato-pasta-carbonara-crunchy-chickpeas-1       Sweet Potato Cauliflower Carbonara with Crispy Chickpeas

This dish is surprisingly filling. Not in the food-coma-after-eating-all-the-pasta-way, just in a way that keeps you satisfied for ages without ever actually weighing you down.

I’ve called this carbonara, but for the purists out there please keep an open mind. There is no bacon, cheese, or eggs, though we do have the black pepper and a decadent sauce. This is a delicious, creamy version that tastes delicious in its own right.

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Carbonara with Crispy Chickpeas      Sweet Potato Cauliflower Carbonara with Crispy Chickpeas

Sweet Potato Cauliflower Carbonara with Crispy Chickpeas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2
Crispy Chickpeas
  • 400g or 1 can cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked papria
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Drizzle of coconut oil, for baking
Cauliflower Sauce
  • 1 large cauliflower (about 4 cups of chopped florets)
  • 2 tablespoons butter OR 2 tablespoons tahini plus 1 heaped tablespoon nutritional yeast (for vegan option)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup broth or unsweetened almond milk
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
Sweet Potato Noodles
  • 2 large sweet potatoes, spiralized
  • Fresh parsley, to serve
  • Coconut oil, for cooking
For the Chickpeas
  1. Preheat your oven to 175ºC/350ºF. Toss your chickpeas with the spices, italian herbs, salt & pepper in a baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, shaking once halfway through. They should be crispy but not overly dry.
For the Cauliflower Sauce
  1. Wash and chop your cauliflower into florets. Steam the florets for 10 minutes, until soft and tender, then transfer to a blender and add remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy, adding more liquid if necessary.
To Assemble
  1. In a large skillet heat up your coconut oil over low-medium heat. Cook your sweet potato noodles, tossing often, for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower sauce, toss together, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 5-10 minutes, tossing regularly. Serve hot with the crispy chickpeas, some fresh parsley, pomegranate seeds, and some freshly ground black pepper.
VEGAN - use the tahini instead of the butter