Rigatoni with Broccoli Kale Sauce


This recipe was inspired by a recipe in Six Seasons cookbook by Joshua McFadden. It’s high in protein, carbs, healthy fats, and lots of antioxidants, making it a perfect recovery meal.

Broccoli, kale, and garlic get cooked in the pasta water and later blended up with your reserved pasta water and hemp seeds into a creamy, luscious green sauce that gets tossed with your pasta. Be sure to save extra pasta water in case you need to thin out the sauce even more.

P.S. This pasta has about 20g of protein per serving!!

Ingredient highlight

Broccoli! This mighty cruciferous veggie is packed full of nutrients like vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, fiber, iron and calcium. It’s also loaded with antioxidant compounds like sulforaphane, kaempferol, and quercetin. Plus, it’s large tree-like flowery heads absorb sauces extremely well, making it one of my favorite veggies for things like stir-fry’s and anything with a sauce or dressing!

Servings 4 People
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes


  • 1 head broccoli, cut into large florets (about 8-10 oz)
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed (lacinato kale is best!)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 16 oz rigatoni (or other pasta shape)
  • ½ cup hemp seeds and/or pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan, divided
  • cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper


  • This pasta is 10x better eaten when freshly sauced, so if you plan to have leftovers, store the sauce and cooked pasta separately!


  • Fill a large pot with 4 quarts of water and about 2 tablespoons salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Once boiling, add in the broccoli, kale and garlic. Use tongs to submerge everything into the water. Boil for 4-5 minutes, or until broccoli is tender but not mushy. Use tongs to transfer the kale, broccoli and garlic to a high-speed blender.
  • Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to package instructions (to al dente). Use a measuring cup to remove at least 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta.
  • Add hemp and/or pumpkin seeds, olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, and ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water to the blender. Blend on high until smooth. You want it to be thick/pourable, but not super runny. Add a bit more pasta water if it’s too thick.
  • Add pasta back into the pot along with ¾ of the broccoli kale sauce (I like to save a little extra sauce for topping or you could just add it all in) and ½ cup parmesan cheese. Stir to coat. If it’s looking too dry or you want a looser sauce, just stir in a bit more pasta water until it looks right.
  • Serve topped with extra sauce (if you have it), remaining Parmesan, black pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil.

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Prep kale and broccoli for sauce


  • To make gluten-free: use a gluten-free pasta (Jovial Foods is my favorite)
  • To make vegan: skip the parmesan cheese
  • Add grilled or chopped chicken into the mix


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer:
    • Pasta: up to 4 days in the fridge

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • If you plan to have leftovers, only toss half (or however much you want to eat) of the pasta with half of the sauce. Save the naked pasta and sauce to have for leftovers. This pasta is 10x better when freshly sauced.
  • Warm up the pasta and sauce. Toss warm pasta with sauce. If too thick, thin it out with some pasta water (if you don’t have pasta water, just stir in some regular water).
  • This pasta goes really well tossed with leftover chicken cutlets and tomatoes!

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