This is what pasta night looks like when I swap out my ho-hum gluten-free for Banza’s Cauliflower Penne and toss it with my Spinach + Walnut Pesto, crumble some Spicy Italian Sausage (meatless or real deal ~ you decide) and Charred Artichoke Hearts.

I’ve not only included the Spinach-Walnut Pesto recipe, but the whole pasta dish (just in case!).

Makes 4 servings


1 box Banza Cauliflower Penne

1 can artichokes hearts, drained and sliced in half

2 links Hot Italian Sausage (Beyond Meat is both vegan + gluten-free)

Extra virgin olive oil

Optional: Parmesan or Walnut ‘Parmesan’


2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 cup fresh cilantro 

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 clove garlic (optional)

⅛ teaspoon salt, or more to taste

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil



1. Pasta: Make the pasta according to the package directions.

2. Artichokes: Thoroughly dry the artichokes, and slice each one in half. Heat a teaspoon or two of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the artichokes and brown on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes each side.

3. Pesto: Place spinach, cilantro, walnuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor; pulse until combined. Pour in oil slowly, until mixture forms a smooth paste.

4. Sausage: Brown the links in a skillet over medium-high heat until thoroughly cooked.  I like to crumble the links, but you can brown the sausage in 1/2 inch coins, too.

5. To Serve: Gently toss about a 1/3 cup of pesto with the pasta. Divide among bowls and top with sausage and artichokes. Optional garnish is parmesan or ‘Walnut Parmesan.‘

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