Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon

The Recipe: An easy pasta supper, this time lemony, garlicky, cheesy and broccoli good. And isn't it just too cute how the chickpeas tuck themselves into the rigatoni?

Broccoli Rigatoni with Chickpeas & Lemon | lemony, garlicky, cheesy, vegetarian, quick supper, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 8 | Kitchen Parade

I have a theory, one which makes me swear like a sea-salty sailor.

We Americans consume ten times the salt our bodies need. So when we’re told, “Cut back on salt,” we lightly salt – or worse, skip the salt entirely – when cooking eggs, meat and especially vegetables.

But saltless food tastes flat, leaving our taste buds unsatisfied and our inner chefs questioning our culinary skills. So we turn to prepared food products, which, you guessed it, are heavily salted for both flavor and preservation.

It’s a vicious circle, harder than laboring in the salt mines. The less we salt at home, the more salt we consume. Tastes do vary with heredity, health and age. Children are more sensitive to saltiness than older adults, for example. But if more salt means we eat more broccoli, more green beans, more leafy greens, more dried beans and legumes, more healthful food, well then, isn’t salt a modern-day miracle food?

ALANNA’s TIPS If you really love broccoli (I do!), double the broccoli. You might want slightly more lemon juice too but other than that, no adjustments are needed. Use the pasta shape of your choice but it’s amusing how buds of chickpea tuck themselves inside the rings of rigatoni. Does it take forever to bring pasta water to a boil? Use your tea kettle! At my house, I warm the pasta pot with two cups water, then add six cups of boiling water from the kettle – so much faster. Poor table salt, it’s been forsaken for more delicate sea and kosher salts. But most table salt is iodized to prevent thyroid issues. For flavoring pasta and vegetable water, choose iodized table salt, saving the others for foods where the salt itself is ingested. More about my favorite salts.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 40 minutes
Serves 4
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons table salt
  • 1 pound fresh broccoli, crowns cut into bite-size florets, stalks peeled & chopped
  • 8 ounces rigatoni
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed & drained
  • Zest & juice of 2 lemons (about 4 tablespoons)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Chopped broccoli stalks
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup (50g) grated parmesan
  • Shaved parmesan, to serve
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

COOK BROCCOLI FLORETS & PASTA In a large pot, bring water and salt to boil. Prep broccoli, keeping florets and chopped stalks separate. Drop broccoli florets into boiling water, cover, cook for 3 minutes, lift out with slotted spoon to drain in a colander. Add rigatoni, cook til done, drain.

MIX CHICKPEAS & LEMON In a small bowl, stir together chickpeas, lemon zest, juice and pepper.

SAUTÉ BROCCOLI STALKS Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium until shimmery. Add chopped broccoli stalks, cook til just beginning to soften. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often.

COMBINE Stir in broccoli florets and chickpea mixture, warm through. Gently turn in cooked rigatoni and parmesan. Transfer to serving plates, top with shaved parmesan and top with a lemon wedge.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving without/with chickpeas: 323/408 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 3g Sat Fat; 52/68g Carb; 8/11g Fiber; 238/451mg Sodium (NOT including salted water which I have no idea how to calculate in the nutrition software that I use); 11mg Cholesterol; 15/19g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 6/8 & WW PointsPlus 8/11

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna