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fork with a twirl of vegan garlic spaghetti resting on a plate

Spaghetti with 12 Cloves of Garlic

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Emily
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Love pantry meals? Try this Simple Garlic Spaghetti, made with 12 whole cloves! While this sounds like a lot, we cook them in stages to ensure a pleasant (not biting) flavor. It’s the perfect healthy weeknight dish!


  • 1 lb spaghetti, or other long thin pasta shape
  • Kosher salt, used throughout
  • Scant ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil + 2 TBS
  • 12 cloves of garlic, fresh and in their skins
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • Juice of ½ large lemon (a few TBS)
  • Cashew parm, to serve, optional
  • Roasted vegetables to serve, optional (see note)


  1. Cover a medium sized pot of water and bring to a boil on the stovetop, adding about 1 TBS salt to season the water.
  2. While pasta water is boiling, prepare garlic. Use the back of a large knife to smash down each clove, which will allow the skin to loosen. Slide the skin off and carefully mince each clove into fine pieces. If you have a garlic press, this is the perfect time to use it as it can really speed up the process! Once you have a large pile of all chopped cloves, add a pinch of salt and mash once more (salt will help further soften the garlic and create almost a “paste” prior to cooking). As best you can, divide the minced pile in thirds.
  3. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a cast iron skillet over low and add ⅔  of the garlic (reserve the rest for now). Cook on low for about 10 minutes, stirring at consistent intervals to ensure it does not burn. This slow cooking will mellow garlic’s sometimes harsh flavor.
  4. Meanwhile, add pasta to a boiling pot of water and cook according to package directions. Before draining, reserve  ½ cup of pasta cooking water. Pour pasta back into the pot.
  5. Once garlic is lightly browned and fragrant, remove cast iron skillet from heat and stir in the remaining 2 TBS olive oil, remaining raw garlic, red pepper flakes, parsley, and lemon juice. Pour this mixture on top of cooked pasta. Stir to coat and add reserved pasta water to create more of a “sauce” as needed. Serve while hot, sprinkling with cashew parmesan.


As you may see in these photos, I added some roasted vegetables to the top of the spaghetti just because I had a few to use up. Feel free to do the same once your pasta is made! To roast Delicata squash, slice in half and scrape out seeds and stringy flesh. Slice into thin half moon shapes and add to a lined baking sheet with a few TBS olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and a bit of pepper. Roast at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, until soft.

I also added roasted beets, micro greens, and pomegranate arils because apparently I put those on everything these days. 

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner


  • Serving Size: One fourth of recipe
  • Calories: 356.6 grams
  • Sugar: 1.1 grams
  • Sodium: 594.8 milligrams
  • Fat: 14.9 grams
  • Saturated Fat: 2.1 grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 12.8 grams
  • Trans Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 46.8 grams
  • Fiber: 2.9 grams
  • Protein: 8.8 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams