Super Easy One Pot Vegan Orecchiette Pasta Recipe

Orecchiette pasta is a type of small, ear-shaped pasta that is typically made from durum wheat semolina. It is a traditional pasta shape from the Puglia region of Italy and is commonly used in dishes such as orecchiette with broccoli rabe and orecchiette with sausage and rapini. The name “orecchiette” means “little ears” in Italian, referring to the shape of the pasta.

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    Super easy one pot pasta recipes, like this delicious One Pot Vegan Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli, are among my favorite busy weeknight meal solutions. Just cook up your pasta while you’re sautéing a delicious vegetable pasta sauce, then mix together the ingredients in one pot and plop your hearty dinner pot right on the table. These recipes are a balanced meal in one. Easy to make, and easy to clean up! What’s not to love? This orecchiette pasta recipe is so insanely delicious, that it will soon become a favorite in your household. The whole family will love it (including kids). With only 9 ingredients, you can whip up this whole meal in about 25 minutes!

    I bought this multi-colored orecchiette pasta in Puglia, Italy, where it originates.

    What is Orecchiette Pasta?

    This is a traditional pasta that hails from Puglia, Italy. Pronounced o-rek-kyet-teh, orecchiette is named for its shape, which resembles little ears. Made only from semolina (a type of wheat flour), water, and salt, the rough surface of this pasta helps it capture delicious sauces. For millennia, Puglian women have been making orecchiette on large wooden tables in the middle of the village streets. This traditional pasta is made by pressing the pasta dough into a thin rope, cutting it into small pieces, and pressing it against a surface with a thumb or the point of a knife to create the characteristic boat shaped pasta.

    I was fortunate enough to visit Puglia and see the traditional orecchiette pasta-making practice in the town of Bari, Italy. It’s commonly available in its fresh form, but I also brought packages of dried pasta home with me to cook in my own kitchen. While I was in Puglia, I feasted on plant-based dishes with orecchiette every day! A common classic dish included broccoli rabe, tomatoes, chili peppers, and sausage, which inspired my plant-based recipe for One Pot Vegan Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli that I created in my kitchen. I turned to plant-based beef crumbles for this recipe. You can also substitute that with cooked brown lentils.

    These are the ingredients of this orecchiette recipe.


    Get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes with this easy One Pot Vegan Orecchiette Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli. It’s easy to make, and easy to clean up – what’s not to love?


    • Water
    • 1 pound orecchiette pasta, dried (*reserve water from cooking)
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 small red onion, diced
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 pound plant-based ground beef alternative (i.e., Sweet Earth, Beyond Meat)
    • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (make your own seasoning blend here)
    • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chilis (available in jar; may substitute with 1 small diced chili pepper)
    • 12 ounces fresh broccoli or broccoli rabe spears
    • 1 cup vegetable broth
    • ¼ cup tomato paste
    • 1 cup *reserved pasta cooking water


    1. Fill a large pot about two-thirds full with water, cover, and bring to a boil. 
    2. Add pasta, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 10-12 minutes, until al dente stage. Drain water, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Set aside. 
    3. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven. 
    4. Add onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. 
    5. Add plant-based ground beef alternative, Italian seasoning, and Calabrian chilis and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. 
    6. Add broccoli, vegetable broth, and tomato paste and stir gently. Add enough pasta cooking water to make a moist sauce. Cover with a lid and cook for 5 minutes. 
    7. Add cooked, drained pasta and additional pasta cooking water as needed to make a moist pasta mixture. Heat for about 2 minutes. 
    8. Serve immediately.



    Try substituting 2 cups cooked brown lentils for the plant-based ground beef alternative, if desired.

    To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free pasta.

    • Prep Time: 10 minutes
    • Cook Time: 20 minutes
    • Category: Entree
    • Cuisine: Italian, American


    • Serving Size: 1 serving
    • Calories: 375
    • Sugar: 3 g
    • Sodium: 247 mg
    • Fat: 13 g
    • Saturated Fat: 4 g
    • Carbohydrates: 50 g
    • Fiber: 6 g
    • Protein: 20 g



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