Joe Wicks' cauliflower pasta bake with crispy bacon recipe

(293 ratings)

Joe Wicks’ cauliflower pasta bake is topped with crispy bacon pieces and crunchy cheesy breadcrumbs.

Joe Wicks cauliflower pasta bake
(Image credit: Gousto)
  • healthy
Preparation Time10 mins
Cooking Time30 mins
Cost RangeCheap
Nutrition Per PortionRDA
Calories598 Kcal30%
Salt2.41 gRow 1 - Cell 2
Sugars10.9 g12%
Saturated Fat15.3 g77%
Protein28 g56%
Fat27.2 g39%
Carbohydrates59.7 g23%
Salt2.41 gRow 7 - Cell 2

This cauliflower pasta bake from Joe Wicks takes 30 minutes to cook and has a delicious homemade creamy sauce. 

If you like Joe Wicks’ chicken pie recipe, we think you’ll love this comforting pasta bake. Joe says: ‘Lower carb but full of indulgence, this creamy pasta bake is packed with cauliflower for a lighter twist! Make your creamy sauce from crème fraîche so it's nice and easy then top it all with crispy, cheesy breadcrumbs and a cheeky sprinkling of bacon lardons. I'm in!'


  • 200g conchiglie pasta
  • 450g cauliflower head
  • 80g cheddar cheese
  • 60g panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • 200g crème fraîche
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 200g bacon lardons
  • 10g chives




  • Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan, Gas 7). Boil a full kettle. Add the conchiglie to a pot of boiled water with a pinch of salt, bring to the boil over a high heat and cook for an initial 4 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, chop the cauliflower heads into small florets. After 4 minutes, add the cauliflower florets to the pasta and cook for a further 6-7 minutes or until everything is cooked with a slight bite. Once cooked, drain, reserving 350ml starchy cooking water from the pasta pot and leave to steam dry in the sieve. Reserve the pot.
  • While the pasta cooks, grate the cheddar cheese. Combine the grated cheese with the panko breadcrumbs – these are your cheesy breadcrumbs. Peel and finely chop (or grate) the garlic.
  • Return the reserved pot to a medium heat with 2 tsp butter. Once hot, add 2 tsp flour and the chopped garlic cook for 1 min or until a sandy paste forms. Add the starchy pasta water and whisk until smooth. Once smooth, remove the pot from the heat and add the crème fraîche, Dijon mustard and a grind of pepper – this is your sauce.
  • Add the drained pasta and cauliflower to the sauce and stir it all together – this is your creamy cauliflower pasta.
  • Transfer the creamy cauliflower pasta to an oven-proof dish. Top with the cheesy breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over the bacon lardons and put the dish in the oven for 15-20 min or until the bacon is cooked and the breadcrumbs are golden
  • While the creamy cauliflower pasta is baking, chop the chives finely. Use the rest of this time to clear up, set the table, have a cup of tea or simply chill!
  • Leave the cauliflower pasta bake to stand for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with the chopped chives. Enjoy!

Top tips for making Joe Wicks' cauliflower pasta bake

Joe has specified conchiglie pasta shells but you can use whatever you have in the cupboard. You could also use a combination of cauliflower and broccoli if you want a boost of colour in the recipe. Read below for more tips and useful tricks. 

Why does cauliflower cheese go watery in the oven?

Overcooking the cauliflower can result in a watery mess when you finish it in the oven. It’s very important to only cook in boiling water until just tender. Don’t skip the steam drying stage either. This is crucial for ensuring the final pasta bake is creamy and not watery. 

Can you make this cauliflower pasta bake the day before and reheat?

Yes, you could either cook the recipe from start to finish and then reheat leftovers. Or we recommend preparing the individual elements and assembling in your oven-proof dish. However, hold off adding the breadcrumbs and bacon until you’re ready to bake. 

What can I use instead of bacon?

Some shredded ham would be delicious or some diced chorizo. You could also swap the bacon for a little crumbled blue cheese for a umami hit. 

Read about how Gousto recipe boxes work in our helpful guide. They are one of the best recipe boxes 2023 and can make choosing dinner a breeze!  

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We named Gousto the best recipe box for beginner cooks but they are also great for anyone who wants to make choosing and cooking dinner, a quicker and easier task. Each week you can explore more than 60 recipes and meals start from as little as £2.49 a portion. 

Check out more of our Joe Wicks recipes here. You should try Joe Wicks satay chicken with Asian slaw next time you’re craving a takeaway or this healthy butter chicken is great too.

From recipe box company Gousto's Joe Wicks range. Gousto delivers precise ingredients and easy-to-follow recipe cards, with free delivery, 40 weekly recipes and prices from £2.98 per person. More information at 

Joe Wicks

Joe Wicks aka ‘The Body Coach’ rose to fame after his Instagram videos started to go viral. With 15-minute recipes and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts to do at home, Joe quickly became one of the most followed personal trainers in the country.

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