Brown Rice Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes

This Brown Rice Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes is a breeze to put together. The dish is finished with toasted pine nuts and plenty of freshly grated Pecorino cheese.

Brown rice pasta with arugula and tomatoes on a white plate with black rim

Arugula, also known as rocket, rugula, rucola or roquette, is a green used in many Italian recipes. The peppery green often makes an appearance in salads, soups, on pizzas or in sautéed vegetable dishes. Arugula's tangy, mustardy flavor may be an acquired taste for some.  I love the taste and the fact they're a great source of iron, vitamins A and C.

What to Look For When Buying Arugula

Fresh arugula in light blue bowl sitting of write counter

Arugula is available year-round. Look for arugula with crisp, bright green leaves (no yellowing). I prefer baby arugula since it has a milder flavor. Arugula can spoil very quickly. You have about two days before it’s no longer edible. If it looks slimy and the leaves are limp let it go. Do a sniff test if you’re on the fence about its freshness. If it smells a little funky don’t eat it. Make sure to wash the leaves thoroughly with cold water before using. Store the washed and dried arugula in a reusable silicone storage bag or plastic bag.

Brown Rice Pasta

I can’t say enough good things about organic brown rice pasta. Its mild taste works well with just about any pasta sauce. It’s available in a variety of shapes, like penne, rotini and linguini.

I began substituting brown rice pasta for wheat pasta a few years ago. My daughter was having gastrointestinal issues and needed to adjust her diet. Gluten products were out, limited amounts of gluten-free products were in. We both agree that there's very little difference in taste between the two types of pasta.

Tips For Cooking Brown Rice Pasta

Brown rice pasta cooks a little differently than wheat pasta. Here are a few tips to make cooking it more successful:
  • Use a large pot and don’t overfill it. Only fill the pot 2/3 of the way to avoid the water boil over.
  • Use at least two tablespoons of coarse salt for every pound of pasta. Your pasta water should be salty like the sea.
  • Don’t worry about the foamy water. Brown rice pasta has a large amount of starch which causes the extra foam.

How to Make Brown Rice Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes

Ingrdients of arugula, chopped tomatoes, parsley, garlic slices, olive oil, salt on table

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Brown rice pasta (try using linguini or penne)
  • Salt (for pasta water and seasoning)
  • Garlic
  • Organic diced tomatoes (canned)
  • Fresh basil
  • Italian parsley
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Baby arugula
  • Pine nuts
  • Pecorino Romano cheese

The Steps – A Quick Look

1. Cook brown rice pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Pasta should be al dente.

Fresh baby arugula cooking in skillet with wooden spoon.
arugula tomatoes and pine nuts cooking in a skillet

2.  In a large skillet, saute garlic for a minute then add tomatoes, basil, salt, black pepper and red pepper if desired. Cook for a few minutes then add arugula and stir until greens are wilted. Add pine nuts then mix again.

3.  Serve pasta and top with sauce and grated cheese. Enjoy!

Brown rice pasta with arugula tomatoes sitting on a whit plate with black rim

Brown rice pasta with arugula tomatoes sitting on a whit plate with black rim

Brown Rice Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes

Course: Main Course
Keyword: arugula, brown rice pasta, tomatoes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Marie Todd

This Brown Rice Pasta with Arugula and Tomatoes is an easy dish to prepare and perfect for a weeknight dinner. It's topped with toasted pine nuts and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.




  • 1 pound brown rice pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes drained
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoon Italian parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
  • 6 cups baby arugula stems removed and chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
  • freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese


How To Cook Brown Rice Pasta

  1. In a large pot over high heat, bring 4 quarts of water to rolling boil.

  2. Add two tablespoons of Kosher salt to the water. You want your pasta water salty like sea water. 

  3. Add pasta to boiling water, and stir gently. Bring water back to a rolling boil and cook pasta for another 8 - 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Water will become foamy while boiling. 

  4. Test pasta for desired consistency (al dente recommended). Drain pasta and rinse with warm water. Toss with a little olive oil to avoid pasta from sticking. Cover until ready to use.

To Make Arugula Tomato Sauce

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat sauté garlic for 1 - 2 minutes.

  2. Add tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt, black pepper and red pepper (if desired). Cook for 5 minutes. 

  3. Add arugula and gently stir until the greens are wilted. Remove skillet from heat and stir in pine nuts. Place pasta on individual plates and top with tomato arugula sauce and freshly grated cheese.

Recipe Notes

Here are a few substitutions to switch things up a little:

1. You can add diced grilled or roasted chicken or grilled shrimp.
2. Substitute baby spinach for the arugula greens.
3. Top the dish off with Parmesan or Ricotta Salata cheese.
4. Try a different pasta shape like penne or spaghetti.

Let me know if you made this recipe or if you made any substitutions to put your spin on it. Snap a pic and post it to Instagram. Tag @lisamarietodd and hashtag #anappetizinglife. Enjoy!


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