Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pasta with Chickpeas & Pesto

I admit there are times when even I'm rushed to put something on the table for lunch or dinner that's both delicious and nutritious.  By now you must know that in my household, getting convenience food from a chain is never an option.  That doesn't mean, however, that I always have the time to indulge in a long recipe.  Although I'm no longer a strict vegetarian like I was many years ago, I still like to have meatless meals whenever I can.  Pasta is always a sure answer to putting something together in a matter of minutes that is filling & satisfying.  On its own, pasta is fine, but I'm always mindful of including some protein in a meal.  For vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, chickpeas provide a protein along with much needed fiber.  When you combine them with pasta, a perfect meal is created.  

Pesto will forever be a favorite of mine, so what better sauce to add to chickpeas & pasta?  What's more, canned chickpeas are convenient and always delicious.  The entire meal, provided you have some homemade pesto already made (I always have some in the freezer portioned into ice cube trays), can be put together in less than 15 minutes.  This is probably one of the quickest things you can make for your family, so I hope you try it.  I never tire of this easy recipe.



Elbow macaroni with chickpeas & pesto.

The Ingredients
  • 8 oz. tubular pasta (I use elbow macaroni)
  • 3 tablespoons homemade pesto 
  • 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
  • salt & pepper
Yield: 4 servings

Bring a stockpot halfway filled with water to a boil and add 1 teaspoon salt to the rapidly boiling water.  Quickly add your pasta and cook according to package directions.  Meanwhile place the drained and rinsed chickpeas in a large serving bowl. 


Homemade pesto should be bright green, pungent and downright delicious.  When the pasta is al dente, drain it in a colander.  Quickly place it in your serving bowl along with the chickpeas and without a moment to lose, add the 3 tablespoons of pesto.  Toss to combine thoroughly and add salt & pepper to taste. 

Pasta waits for no one, so make sure your table is set, the wine is poured and everyone is seated. 


A closeup of a serving shows how wonderfully the pesto clings to the pasta and the chickpeas.  Don't forget to pass the freshly grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese at the table. 



Treat yourself to this delicious dish for lunch or dinner over the weekend or on a weeknight when you just don't have the time to work over the stove.  I love serving this with a nice salad of romaine & escarole, tossed with my favorite vinaigrette (I have yet to share my recipe for that!).  A primitivo or Chianti classico would pair quite nicely with this pasta, but if you're feeling a bit adventurous, try having it with a glass of Pecorino.  This white wine from Italy which comes from the Pecorino grape, is bright & crisp, and works really well with light dishes such as my pasta with chickpeas & pesto.  Whatever you choose, remember, Buon Mangiare!

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