This vegetarian tetrazzini is loaded with cauliflower and poblano peppers in place of the traditional chicken or turkey, and switches out the sour cream and heavy cream with yogurt.
Vegetable tetrazzini like this one is great with cauliflower, broccoli, or even butternut squash.
One of my grandchildren's favorite dinners is chicken tetrazzini. It's the tetrazzini their dad grew up with, and he now he makes it for them. And I agree, it's really good. But since I'm crazy for cauliflower (the one white food we should all be eating lots of), I wanted to make a vegetarian version. I hope you enjoy it.
It's a perfect comfort dinner to make ahead and warm up at the end of a busy day, or make it for Sunday suppers. It's guaranteed to please everyone at the table!
You don't need much more than a salad and crusty garlic bread to round out the meal, but I have more side dish suggestions below.
- ❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- 🧅 Ingredients + Notes
- 🔪 Recommended Equipment
- 📝 Instructions Overview
- ⏰ Tips to Simplify and Save Time
- 👩🍳 Preparation Tips
- 💡Ideas for Possible Variations
- 🥩 For the Meat Eaters at the Table
- 🍽 Side Dish Ideas
- 📇 More Casseroles You Might Like
- Cauliflower Tetrazzini with Poblano Peppers
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Pasta casseroles are crowd pleasers of any age.
- Great comfort food vegetarian main dish that can be served as a side dish for the meat eaters at the table.
- Make ahead and warm up when you're ready to serve it.
- Uses ingredients you probably have on hand.
- Very flexible to adjust for your own taste preferences.
- Great way to get kids to eat more veggies!
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📝 Instructions Overview
Detailed instructions for making this cauliflower tetrazzini casserole are in the recipe card below, but here's an overview!
Roast the veggies. Cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces, and roast. Roast the poblano peppers whole. When roasted, peel, stem and seed the peppers. Dice the peppers.
Sauté. Sauté the onions and garlic until the onions are softened.
Cook the pasta. Break the pasta noodles into thirds, and cook just until al dente.
Make a roux. In a heavy bottomed pot, large enough to accommodate the entire casserole, melt the butter and whisk in the flour until thickened. Whisk in the milk until you have a thick sauce. Whisk in the broth.
Add everything else. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt and sautéed onion and garlic. Stir in the cauliflower, peppers and pasta. Once the veggies and pasta are coated with the sauce, pile it all into a baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.
Bake. Bake until bubbly.
⏰ Tips to Simplify and Save Time
- Purchase cauliflower already cut up. If your market carries it, these bags will be in the produce department.
- Roast the cauliflower and poblano peppers ahead of time.
- Assemble the entire casserole ahead of time, except for the breadcrumb topping. Cover with plastic, and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Bring it back to room temperature before baking. Add the breadcrumbs and Parmesan just before baking.
- Cook the casserole ahead, cover and refrigerate for up to 3 - 4 days. Or store in an air-tight, freezer safe container and freeze for up to 6 months.
👩🍳 Preparation Tips
A roux is common in French cuisine as a thickening agent for sauces, and is often seen in Cajan recipes as well. At its most basic, a roux is equal parts of flour and fat (either butter or oil) cooked over low to medium heat until the flour is lightly browned. A liquid is then whisked in, over heat, until thickened.
The liquid can be milk, cream or broth, depending on how the roux will be used. For a gravy, drippings of meats are added.
Check out this recipe that uses a roux on how to get a silk roux sauce.
💡Ideas for Possible Variations
If you don't want a spicy tetrazzini, eliminate the poblano peppers. Cauliflower is a little bland, so I recommend adding a spice such as curry powder.
Broccoli works well in this recipe instead of cauliflower, and in the autumn, try it with butternut squash.
Any pasta works in this recipe, so feel free to use a different type of noodle. For example, this Cauliflower Curried Mac and Cheese uses penne.
🥩 For the Meat Eaters at the Table
Add 1 ½ cups of roast chicken to the casserole or serve it on the side. If you add the chicken to the casserole, increase the liquids by around 25 percent.
🍽 Side Dish Ideas
A big green salad with avocado.
Fresh corn on the cob.
If some people at the table like spicy, and other don't, and you omit the poblano peppers, you can serve these Charred Shishito Peppers on the side.
Freshly baked bread is always a hit. If you're interested in making a yeasted bread, these Parmesan and Garlic Rolls are irresistible, as is this Aglio e Olio Pizza Bread. Or stay with a Mexican theme with this sweet cornbread, known as tomalito.
Quick sautéed baby spinach.
📇 More Casseroles You Might Like
Want more vegetarian and vegan dish ideas? I can help you. I have three newsletters for different topics: 1) Vegetarian Recipes, 2) Vegetarian Meal Plans, and 3) Vegetarian Tips for helping you to move to a more vegetarian diet. Choose which newsletters are most relevant to your lifestyle and you'll also get my 5 SECRETS TO FUSS-FREE VEGETARIAN DINNERS.
Cauliflower Tetrazzini with Poblano Peppers
- 1 head cauliflower 4 cups cut up
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1 - 2 poblano peppers (depending on how much heat you prefer)
- ½ pound uncooked spaghetti noodles
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste or minced garlic
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup milk
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- ¾ cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Italian Herbs Paste or 4 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano, or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400˚F and butter a 9" X 13" baking dish. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the head of cauliflower into bite sized pieces (I separate out the florets and halve or quarter them depending on their size). Toss in 1 tablespoon olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Arrange on the baking sheet along with the poblano peppers, and roast until the cauliflower pieces are tender, and the peppers are blistered and charred, about 20 minutes.Turn the peppers after 10 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Break the spaghetti pasta into thirds (around 3” long) and cook according to the directions on the box.
- Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat until softened. Add the garlic.
- In a heavy bottomed large enough to hold the entire casserole, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. When the butter is melted and sizzling, whisk in the flour to form a loose paste. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes to cook the flour.Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, while continuing to whisk, until a sauce forms. Whisk in the broth while the sauce continues to thicken. Remove from the heat, and whisk in the yogurt, herbs, onion and garlic. Stir in the cauliflower, peppers and pasta, being sure to coat everything in the sauce.
- Pour into the prepared baking dish.
- Toss the breadcrumbs and cheese together and spread over the casserole. Dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350˚F, and bake for 25 minutes, or until bubbly.Serve warm.