Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Salad with Buffalo Chickpeas

by Kaitlynn Fenley
a white plate with a serving of kale and broccoli pasta salad.

I adore pasta salad. It’s a quick, easy and nutritious meal that’s perfect for meal preps, lunch or dinner. You can make any recipe on our website knowing that it’s good for gut health, and that includes this vegan cheesy broccoli pasta salad with buffalo chickpeas. It’s loaded with vitamins, healthy fats, prebiotic fiber, and good flavors.

Pasta salad

I love pasta salad, and we have more than one recipe for pasta salad on our blog! Good pasta salad has four main components:

The Pasta: I always use rice pasta. I like the texture better than wheat noodles. The shape doesn’t matter too much, but I love bow-tie and penne.

A Crunchy Cruciferous: I think salads are the best when there’s a cruciferous vegetable in the mix. Cruciferous vegetables add texture and lots of healthy fiber. My favorites are finely chopped cabbage, shaved brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli. For this recipe, I use sauteed broccoli that I cooked in my wok.

Leafy Greens: A salad isn’t a salad without leafy greens. My go-to leafy greens in pasta salads include spinach, arugula, and romaine lettuce. For this pasta salad, all we had was some romaine, so that’s what I used.

The dressing: It’s ALL about the sauce. The dressing is what completes this recipe and makes it fun to eat! This sauce is pretty simple. You just need tahini, apple cider vinegar, fermented vegetable brine, and nutritional yeast.

pasta salad containing broccoli, rice pasta, red onions and ground pepper on a white plate

Cheesy Broccoli

When I make this recipe I like to cook my broccoli in my wok. I just chop the broccoli into small pieces, rinse it with warm water, toss it in a little olive oil and salt, then add it to my hot wok. I throw in some thinly sliced red onions and sauté until the broccoli is slightly softer but still crunchy. The dressing is what adds all the cheesy flavor to the broccoli.

pasta salad containing broccoli, rice pasta, red onions and ground pepper on a white plate

Making the Pasta Salad Dressing

When I first thought about making my own salad dressings three years ago, it seemed like a hassle. Now, I exclusively DIY all of my salad dressings. Just throw some tahini, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar and fermented vegetable brine in a blender and viola! Nutritious salad dressing without all the fillers and unnecessary ingredients.

Plating and Serving

I ALWAYS spice things up after plating salads. Try adding some hot sauce, kimchi or a little freshly ground black pepper. Personally, I add all three as toppings to my plate.

pasta salad containing broccoli, rice pasta, red onions and ground pepper on a white plate
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Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Salad with Buffalo Chickpeas

I adore pasta salad. It’s a quick, easy and nutritious meal that’s perfect for meal preps, lunch or dinner. You can make any recipe on our website knowing that it’s good for gut health, and that includes this vegan cheesy broccoli pasta salad with buffalo chickpeas. It’s loaded with vitamins, healthy fats, prebiotic fiber, and good flavors.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

Scale
  • 16 oz Penne Rice Pasta
  • 1 Romaine Heart, Chopped
  • 1/2 Red Onion, Finely Sliced
  • 3 Cups Broccoli, Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Can Chickpeas, Drained and Rinsed
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegan Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

The Dressing

  • 3 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Fermented Vegetable Brine
  • 2 Tablespoons Nutritonal Yeast

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice pasta according to the directions on the package. Drain, and rinse with cool water. Add the pasta to a large salad bowl.
  2. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet or wok on medium. Add in the broccoli and the onions.
  3. Cook until the broccoli is slightly soft, yet still crunchy. Remove from heat and add the broccoli to the large salad bowl with the pasta.
  4. Return your pan to the medium heat and add another 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  5. Add in the chickpeas and cook until they’re slightly browned. Add the vegan butter and the hot sauce to the chickpeas. Stir until all the chickpeas are coated in the butter and hot sauce. Remove from heat.
  6. Add the chickpeas to the bowl with the pasta and broccoli.
  7. Add the chopped lettuce to the bowl.
  8. In a blender combine the tahini, apple cider vinegar, fermented vegetable brine (I used Cultured Guru Kimchi brine) and nutritional yeast.
  9. Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and toss to combine.
  10. Plate and serve the pasta salad, and top with some freshly ground black pepper.

Notes

* For fermented vegetable brine you can use our Cultured Guru Sauerkraut brine, Kimchi brine, or Fermented Jalapeño brine.

*If your dressing is too thick, as some tahini is thicker than others, you can add in two tablespoons of plant-based milk to thin it out. 

Keywords: cheesy,broccoli,pasta,salad,buffalo,chickpeas

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