Rigatoni with Vegan Sausage, White Beans, and Swiss Chard


Today was our first cold day in Chicago. The temperature were in the 40’s Fahrenheit and the first thing I did this morning was grab my robe and fuzzy slippers. This weather makes me want to hibernate! Of course, that’s not possible but a cozy pasta dish will have to do. I do a lot of cardio work outs so a reasonable amount of carbs are an important part of my diet. A hearty, nutrient dense meal is a great way to satisfy your hunger for a long time. I really crave comfort food in cold weather. I find it impossible to eat low calorie food for every meal because I end up wanting to eat larger portions and feel hungry all the time. This dish is balanced and has a LOT of protein – 33 grams per serving. I used Tofurkey brand Italian sausage which has 30 grams of protein per serving. I am not a fan of eating processed food for every meal but the sausage flavor goes really well with the beans and pasta in this recipe. This is a dish from the Tuscan region of Italy. I remember eating a similar dish when I visited Tuscany many years ago (before I was vegan). I’ve seen many different versions of it since – none of which are vegan. Some recipes add butter at the end, whereas others add tomatoes and basil. I wanted to vegan-ize the recipe but also keep it simple. This is an easy weeknight dish that will keep you from snacking and give you lots of energy for your next workout. The protein in the beans and vegan sausage goes a long way. Nutritional yeast is my favorite vegan substitute for parmesan cheese and adds B vitamins that are not available in other plant based foods. The lemon adds freshness and bright acidity. This is an easy and painless way to get your serving of green leafy vegetables in. If you are gluten free, you can use gluten free pasta such as quinoa pasta. If you’re not a fan of vegan sausage then I recommend leaving it out altogether and adding extra beans. Kale or spinach would also work really well instead of Swiss chard. You could use chickpeas as a substitute for Cannellini beans. I hope this hearty Tuscan pasta dish will keep you warm and energized this fall! Make sure you post a picture and tag @thefriendlyepicurean on Instagram or Facebook or Pin this recipe on Pinterest if you make it!

An easy and balanced weeknight meal!

Rigatoni with Vegan Sausage, White Beans, and Swiss Chard

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 cups uncooked rigatoni
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard
  • 2.5 cups Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (about 1 1/2,  15oz cans)
  • 2 Italian flavored Tofurkey sausages, crumbled
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish)


Heat a large pot of salted water until boiling. Add rigatoni and cook for about 7 minutes or until al dente. Save 1 cup of pasta water in a small bowl. Drain pasta and set aside. Heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan. Add garlic and cook for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add Tofurkey sausages and cook for about 4 minutes. Next, add white beans and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup pasta water and Swiss chard. Cook until Swiss chard is wilted and most of the water is absorbed. Add cooked rigatoni, oregano, crushed red pepper, salt, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. Stir until combined and pasta is warm throughout. Top with chopped parsley and serve immediately. May store in the fridge for up to 5 to 7 days.

Nutrition information:

  • Approximate calories per 1/4 of recipe:  556 cal
  • Approximate protein per 1/4 recipe: 33g



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