Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Bacon

Cauliflower lovers unite! I’m always looking for ways to dress up my favorite white vegetable. Here’s a quickie, inspired by Southern Italian flavors. A little bacon (or pancetta), some roasted pine nuts, some garlic (of course), oregano, and red pepper flakes, and your cauliflower is ready for a debutante ball. Or a midweek meal. Enjoy.

Cauliflower with Pine Nuts and Bacon Recipe

  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6 as a side dish


  • 1 cauliflower head, cut into florets
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 pound bacon or pancetta, cut into batons
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste


1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the cauliflower for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2 While the water is heating, toast the pine nuts in a dry sauté pan until lightly browned. Keep an eye on them, as pine nuts go from toasted to burnt quickly. Set the pine nuts aside when they are toasted.

3 Add the bacon to the pan and fry gently over medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside with the pine nuts. Sauté the garlic for 1 minute on medium-high heat, then add the cauliflower, pine nuts, bacon, oregano and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine and sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. Do not let the garlic burn.

4 Turn off the heat and add salt and lemon juice to taste.

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Roasted Cauliflower Popcorn - from 101 Cookbooks
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Showing 4 of 18 Comments

  • Amanda

    Believe it or not, this tastes even better with raw cauliflower, and I hate the stuff. Raw cauliflower in small pieces with crispy bacon and some mayo all mixed together is delicious. I’ll definitely be adding the pine nuts and garlic as well!

  • Lisa

    That sure looks good! My mother makes fried cauliflower and it has always converted even the most stubborn anti-cauliflower eaters. Just boil the cauliflower florets for 5 minutes. After they’re cooled, dip them in egg, roll them in seasoned breadcrumbs and then fry them up until golden. Serve warm with a generous amount of parmesan sprinkled on top. Delicious!

  • Val from PA

    How nice – cauliflower has been featured on several of the blogs that I follow in the last couple of weeks!!

    A friend of mine recently turned me on to a sensational recipe for cauliflower that is steamed and then placed on a bed of tomatoes, onions, garlic and capers in a casserole dish. Then it’s topped with feta cheese before placing in under the broiler for about five minutes til the cauliflower starts getting brown… It really is delish!!

    Your recipe looks great as well – for some reason, though, I’m not too fond of pine nuts so I’m thinking toasted walnuts might be a good substitute here!

  • Liane

    This is a most embarrassing question – I love cauliflower but it really messes with the digestive system! Have you found ways to minimize that issue? It doesn’t matter how much I cook it or any way I prepare it, I am just in pain afterward from the “rootititoots”, as Julia Child called it.

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