This Easy Chickpea Pasta is ready in under 15 minutes and is a budget friendly, protein packed vegetarian meal that is easy to adapt. A delicious cupboard raid meal that makes use of chickpeas in a way you probably haven't used them before. A creamy pasta sauce loaded with chickpeas and spinach - healthy comfort food at its finest.
Chickpeas, also know as garbanzo beans, are a staple in Middle Eastern food because of how versatile they are. But there is so much more you can do with them than just hummus. They make a delicious addition to any kind of pasta for a vegetarian (and vegan) protein boost.
Mix up spaghetti with a creamy sauce that is super simple to make and some crispy chickpeas and wilted spinach. Hearty, comforting, but really nutritious. What more could you want from a pasta dish?
- Pasta - Spaghetti is always a good choice when it comes to any pasta and sauce, and most people usually have a good supply of it in their cupboard. You could swap spaghetti for linguine or tagliatelle too. I think these are the best to use, as the creamy sauce really clings to it. But, really, you could use any pasta. This is what makes this such a great budget friendly cupboard raid meal, as you can just use whatever you already have in.
- Oil - You can use olive oil or vegetable oil.
- Shallots - These add a nice sweetness to the pasta. You could use a small brown onion instead if you prefer.
- Garlic - Fresh garlic is always best, however you could use crushed garlic in a jar if you prefer. If you are crushing your own garlic, make sure you crush it finely, in to a paste, so that it is evenly distributed in the dish.
- Chickpeas - The star of the recipe. We used a can of chickpeas to make this quick and easy, however you could cook your own dried chickpeas to use. This is also a great way to use up our Roasted Chickpeas.
- Creme Fraiche - This adds a little creaminess to the pasta. You can use reduced fat creme friache to save some calories.
- Stock - This helps to loosen the sauce up a little. You can use vegetable stock, or chicken to add more flavour.
- Parmesan - This adds lots of creaminess, but it isn't vegetarian so use an alternative if needed.
- Spinach - An easy way to give the chickpea pasta a green vegetable boost. You could use kale instead.
- Lemon - This really lightens the dish up and adds some freshness. Add some lemon zest too if you want an extra burst of lemon flavour.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Add the spaghetti to a pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and simmer for 12 minutes.
Two: Heat a little oil in a frying pan and then add the shallots and garlic. Gently cook for 3 minutes, until softened.
Three: Add the chickpeas and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes, until the edges start to crisp up.
Four: Add the spinach, creme fraiche, stock, lemon juice and Parmesan and cook on a low heat for a 3-4 minutes until the spinach has wilted and the sauce has reduced.
Five: Drain the spaghetti and stir it in.
Why should you try it?
- Quick and easy - This chickpea pasta is ready in just 15 minutes.
- Budget friendly - Chickpeas are really cheap, and even cheaper if you buy them dried in bulk. They are a greta way to make budget friendly meals.
- An exciting way to use chickpeas - If you have only ever used chickpeas in hummus before, then this is a great way to use them differently.
- Easy to adapt - There are lots of different vegetables you can add to this and there are options below.
- Healthy comfort food - Healthy food can be comforting too and this chickpea pasta is nutrient dense and hearty and comforting.
Health benefits of chickpeas
We are huge fans of chickpeas and have recently been discovering just how versatile they are. Our go-to use for them is usually throwing them in to a curry or stew for a protein boost. But, when you roast them they take on a whole new flavour and texture.
Canned and dried chickpeas have a low glycemic index, which means your body absorbs and digests them slowly. This helps to keep your blood sugar and insulin from going up too fast. Chickpeas are high in dietary fibre, as well as being a good source of calcium, iron and folate.
We love any kind of dish that you can pack with almost any vegetable, and pasta dishes are perfect for that. We kept this simple with just shallots and spinach, but that just means there is plenty of opportunity to adapt.
When you are cooking the shallots and garlic, you could add finely chopped mushrooms, courgette and aubergine. This dish is super quick to make, so stick to soft, quick cooking veg rather than something like carrots.
To make your pasta extra creamy, add some starchy pasta water. Adding starchy pasta water (just 100ml is enough) to a fat like creme fraiche will create an emulsion and this gives a really silky smooth sauce and helps it cling to the pasta. Make sure you scoop out the water just before draining, as this ensures that it is nice and starchy.
What to serve with chickpea pasta
If you want to bulk this meal our a bit, then serve it with some garlic bread. Either buy some ready made, or make your own easy garlic bread by cutting up some French stick and spreading it with a mix of butter, crushed garlic and dried herbs. Then pop it in the oven for 10 minutes. Why not try our Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread?
You could also keep it simple with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette. You could also try our Grilled Little Gem Salad, or Cucumber and Radish Salad.
Store: This chickpea pasta is best eaten straight away, but leftovers can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for 2 days.
Freeze: If you make too much of this, then instead of wasting it you can freeze it. To be totally honest, it's not the best pasta dish to freeze, as it will be a little dry when reheating. But, you could add some extra creme fraiche to the pan when reheating.
Defrost: You can defrost it in the fridge overnight.
Reheat: Reheat it in a pan with a little bit of water to loosen it all up.
Frequently asked questions
Chickpeas are basically a vegans best friend. I know that is a bit of a cliché, but they are so nutritious and protein packed, and so much that you can do with them. This chickpea pasta is really easy to make vegan too.
Simply swap the creme fraiche for a vegan version like Oatly and use a vegan Italian hard cheese alternative. Also note that Parmesan isn't vegetarian, so if you want to make this dish vegetarian then use an alternative. Most supermarket own brand Italian hard cheese is not only cheaper, but also vegetarian which is a bonus.
Yes, due to their high fibre content, chickpeas can cause bloating and wind for some people.
As long as you use gluten free pasta and make sure that there is no cross contamination, then this can be gluten free.
You can easily double this recipe and it doesn't change the cooking time. Just make sure that you have a big enough frying pan to hold double the ingredients.
Yes, you can swap the creme fraiche and parmesan for a tomato based sauce. Why not try our Easy Pasta Sauce?
• Add a kick of spice to this dish by sprinkling it with red chilli flakes before serving.
• If you are going to reheat this, add some water and extra creme friache to the pan so it isn't too dry.
• Add extra vegetables with mushrooms, courgette and aubergine at the same time as the shallots.
• You can add any kind of cooked pasta to this creamy sauce.
• For extra fibre, use whole wheat spaghetti.
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Easy Chickpea Pasta
- 140 g spaghetti
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 shallots diced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 120 g chickpeas canned (drained weight)
- 150 ml reduced fat creme fraiche
- 100 ml vegetable stock
- 60 g Parmesan grated
- 30 g fresh spinach
- 0.25 lemon juice only
- Add the spaghetti to a pan of boiling water with a pinch of salt and simmer for 12 minutes.140 g spaghetti
- Heat a little oil in a frying pan and then add the shallots and garlic. Gently cook for 3 minutes, until softened.1 tablespoon olive oil, 4 shallots, 2 garlic cloves
- Add the chickpeas and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes, until the edges start to crisp up.120 g chickpeas
- Add the spinach, creme fraiche, stock, lemon juice and parmesan and cook on a low heat for a 3-4 minutes until the spinach has wilted and the sauce has reduced.150 ml reduced fat creme fraiche, 100 ml vegetable stock, 30 g fresh spinach, 0.25 lemon, 60 g Parmesan
- Drain the spaghetti and stir it in.
- Add a kick of spice to this dish by sprinkling it with red chilli flakes before serving.
- If you are going to reheat this, add some water and extra creme friache to the pan so it isn't too dry.
- Add extra vegetables with mushrooms, courgette and aubergine at the same time as the shallots.
- You can add any kind of cooked pasta to this creamy sauce.
- For extra fibre, use whole wheat spaghetti.
- This recipe is a good way to use leftover Roasted Chickpeas.