Rigatoni, Sausage & Broccoli Pasta

Disclaimer: I received a coupon for a free box of Banza pasta in order to enter their #Resolvetoeatmorepasta January Instagram recipe challenge.

I’ve always been someone who loves pasta. When I tried being a vegetarian for a little while, it became more of a staple, weekly (okay maybe daily) meal item because many years ago I did not understand what it meant to be a vegetarian. It certainly does not mean just eat pasta all day! 😉

Fast forward to now and you’ll still find me enjoying pasta but I understand how to balance it into my diet now. One of my goals as a dietitian is to help people enjoy pasta the way I’m able to, instead of restricting themselves away from it and labeling pasta/bread as a bad, non-diet, weight-gain-causing food that they “shouldn’t” eat. I’m an advocate for working on all of these things because our diet culture has been a big factor when it comes to fearing certain foods, namely bread and grains (or the dreaded word…CARBOHYDRATE).

We’ve been taught that if we’re dieting then we shouldn’t have certain foods. That sentence is one of the main reasons why diets don’t work. If you’ve told yourself, “Wow I love pasta so much but I’m on a diet so I can’t have it.” Guess what? You’re more likely to binge on it later and to fear it when you do have than you are to learn to integrate the foods you love into your weekly/monthly meals and still achieve your goals.

Also, because we have moralized pasta/bread as a “bad” food, we tend to judge ourselves and set ourselves up for guilt by saying we “shouldn’t” have it. Not only do we judge ourselves but we may judge others (without even realizing it) by projecting these thoughts on food out there. You can read more about this in my food shaming post.

Now, I’m no fool. I understand that pasta and bread have become “bad” foods in many people’s minds. These are learned behaviors/habits, that’s all. I also understand that people do want to try new things and that they want their pasta in a new way. I’m all about it! If you find a variety of pasta like Banza, which is made from chickpeas, and it helps you to enjoy pasta in your life again…then that’s fantastic! In fact, this could be a way for someone to regain pasta-confidence. The confidence that allows you to eat foods you enjoy like pasta 😉

Banza is a pasta made from chickpeas with 25 grams of protein per serving and 13 grams of fiber. Insert surprised emoji face here! While I thought this was great, I knew that my body would say half a serving was filling enough (especially with what I made to go with it). Steve really liked the pasta (to my surprise) and asked if we could have it again. If you don’t know, Steve is 6’7″ and truly it has taken me some time to remember that his body needs more nutrients/calories than mine and I want to make sure he gets enough food. So for him to fill up on pasta that has more protein, fiber, and nutrients added on top too? Yep, that’s a win for us!

If you want to try a new pasta choice, Banza is a great option for all. You don’t have to be 6’7″, or vegetarian, vegan, paleo, or whatever just to enjoy this option. My only recommendation while cooking it is to make sure you stir it consistently throughout the cook time. Then rinse it after you drain it and don’t be afraid to add a little oil in to help the noodles stay separated. Enjoy the recipe below!

Rigatoni, Sausage, & Broccoli Pasta

Six ingredient recipe made with a plant based pasta to keep everyone full and satisfied. 

Course Main Course
Keyword chick peas, plant pasta
Author Jessi Holden


  • 1 box Banza Rigatoni noodles
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 9-10 ounces sausage We used four Johnsonville Smoked Turkey Sausage Links
  • 1 small onion, chopped/diced
  • 1 jalaepeno, keep the seeds and chop whole for spice or slice along the curves to avoid adding the seeds/flesh
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  1. Cook noodles according to box (note: I should have been stirring them a bit more frequently and when I drained/rinsed them I recommend adding a little oil in. This will help the noodles not stick together)

  2. Chop the broccoli, onions, and jalapeno and slice the sausage on a diagonal to make it look fancier. 

  3. Drizzle a little oil (about 1 tbsp) across your veggies and use a spoon to mix/coat them.

  4. In a large skillet over medium heat, add your veggies and sausage, saute for about 5-6 minutes.

  5. Add 1/4 cup of water to the skillet and place lid on. This will allow the broccoli to completely steam/cook. Leave lid on for about 3-4 minutes.

  6. Remove lid and allow water to evaporate. Takes about 5-6 minutes. When there is a little water left, start sprinkling in your parmesan cheese and turn the heat low. This will naturally start to warm up the cheese and provide enough moisture to make it into a melty delicious mixture.

  7. Serve veggie and sausage combo over your noodles and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Extra ingredients:

  • If you use Johnsonville sausages, we had two remaining. These were sliced and added to eggs during the week for breakfast. 
  • The steps of broccoli/veggie scraps can be placed in a gallon sized freezer bag. Once that bag is full of veggie scraps you can make your own veggie stock (hello, budgeting!)

Are you trying any of these new alternatives to traditional pasta? Let me know which ones or if you have any questions on them!


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