July 09, 2013

Whole Wheat Pasta with Chickpea Sauce, Broccoli, & Tomato

Healthy vegetarian whole wheat pasta with broccoli, tomatoes, and chickpea sauce!

I got back from my little vacation up north almost a week ago now and somehow I still haven’t cooked a meal for myself yet.  Usually I’m dying to get back to cooking my own meals when I return from a trip, but this time I’ve been too busy to go grocery shopping or plan a meal and have therefore been eating a lot of peanut butter and jam sandwiches (thankfully I froze some fresh blueberry chia jam before I left) over the last week!  But seeing as I used up the last of my frozen bread today, I think tonight I’ll finally force myself to go shopping and make some food to get me through the rest of the week!

One of my go-to meals when I need an inexpensive and healthy meal that will give me leftovers for lunches through the week is this chickpea pasta.  A sauce that’s made out of chickpeas may sound a little weird, but it tastes so good!  I want to say it tastes like a white wine cream sauce but I’m sure someone who regularly eats cream sauces will disagree, so I’ll just say that it’s hard to guess it’s a chickpea sauce (unless you’re looking closely at the texture, which is of course a little chunkier than a cream sauce).  

Healthy vegetarian whole wheat pasta with broccoli, tomatoes, and chickpea sauce!

I’ve adapted this Cooking Light recipe over several meals to my own liking, so that in my version I eliminate the raw garlic as I don’t think it’s needed, add cooked onion to the sauce for more flavour, use vegetable broth instead of chicken (not just to make it vegetarian but because I think it tastes better in this dish), and I add broccoli and increase the amount of veggies.  I also like to use whole wheat pasta and have tried shells, rotini, and linguine – they all work.  Feel free to use whatever vegetables you want too – mushrooms, zucchini, peppers, leafy greens – they’d all be great if you want to boost the nutrients even more.  

With the protein in the chickpea sauce, this makes a great vegetarian meal that will fill you up to power you through the rest of the work day, which, along with coffee, I will definitely be needing this week!

Healthy vegetarian whole wheat pasta with broccoli, tomatoes, and chickpea sauce!

Whole Wheat Pasta with Broccoli, Tomato, & Chickpea Sauce

Adapted from Cooking Light

Serves 4-6


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 (540mL) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1-3/4 cups vegetable broth
375g (one box) uncooked whole wheat pasta (any type works)
1 head of broccoli, chopped into florets
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Grated parmesan cheese for topping
Salt and pepper for extra seasoning


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and stir for another minute. Add salt, red pepper flakes, chickpeas, and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in salted boiling water according to package directions. During the last few minutes of cooking, place broccoli in a steamer and set covered over the boiling water until bright green. Drain broccoli and pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

Place chickpea mixture in a food processor. Add lemon juice and reserved pasta water and blend until smooth. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.

Combine chickpea sauce, pasta, broccoli, and tomatoes in a saucepan or large bowl and toss to combine. Serve warm, topped with grated parmesan cheese.  Season again with salt and pepper if needed.

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