This weeknight-friendly chickpea tomato pasta is made with pantry staples in just 30 minutes.
I know what you’re thinking: there are millions of recipes online that claim to be the easiest, quickest, or most 10-minute-iest. And I agree that more often than not, these claims are just click bait. But this chickpea tomato pasta is truly the easiest. I literally “developed” it while camping: on a tiny propane stove, with no running water, electricity, or refrigeration.
Every year around July 4th, we head out on our annual camping trip on Cape Cod. This summer will be my 10th consecutive year and Rene’s 21st (!!!).
Not to toot my own horn, but after a decade of practice, I’ve gotten pretty good at campsite cooking, so you won’t find any canned soup or hot dogs in our gazebo. I cook pretty much the same things in the woods as I do at home, albeit as simplified as possible. This hearty pasta recipe was born on one of these trips.
What’s In This Chickpea Tomato Pasta
This recipe consists of pasta coated in a thick chickpea-tomato sauce with onion, garlic, spices, and lots of fresh basil. It’s a take on classic pasta e ceci, or you can think of it as vegan chickpea bolognese. It takes just about 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for weeknights.
How to Make This Recipe
Start the sauce by sautéing diced onions in olive oil until they’re softened. Then add some sliced garlic cloves, chili flakes, and dried oregano, and continue cooking for 30 seconds.
While the onions soften, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas. Mash half of the chickpeas and keep the other half whole. (The mashed chickpeas will lend a thick, creamy texture to this sauce.) Add all the chickpeas, along with a can of tomato sauce, to the skillet and simmer for 10 minutes.
Finally, toss hot cooked pasta in the chickpea-tomato sauce, along with some of the reserved pasta-cooking water and lots of basil.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chickpeas: Use canned chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans) or home-cooked.
- Dried Oregano: You can sub with dried parsley, Italian seasoning, or Herbes de Provence.
- Maple Syrup: I like to add a bit of sweetener to tomato sauces to balance out their acidity. This really helps round out the flavors, but you can leave it out.
- Pasta: Any short pasta will do, like penne, rigatoni, orecchiette, etc.
- Basil: If you can’t find fresh basil, you can sub with arugula.
More vegan pastas…
- Pasta with Fried Leeks, Peas and Lemon
- Cauliflower Pasta with Breadcrumbs
- Pasta with Beans and Greens
- Creamy Spinach Pesto Pasta
- One 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small red or yellow onion, diced
- Fine sea salt, to taste
- 3 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (see note below)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- One 15-ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup, honey, or granulated sugar (optional, see note below)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 pound penne (or another short pasta)
- 1 generous cup basil leaves, gently torn
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
- Place half of the chickpeas in a shallow bowl. Using a fork or potato masher, mash until they turn into a chunky paste. Combine with the remaining whole chickpeas and set aside.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the onion with a pinch of salt. Cook until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Then add 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and cook for 30 seconds more.
- To the skillet, add the tomato sauce, 1 teaspoon sweetener of your choice, a few grinds of black pepper, and all of the chickpeas. Stir to combine and cover tightly with a lid. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Generously salt the boiling water and cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Drain the pasta and return it back to the pot. Add the tomato-chickpea mixture, 1 cup torn basil leaves, a few more grinds of black pepper, and the reserved pasta water. Stir to combine, taste, and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve immediately.
- You can sub with dried parsley, Italian seasoning, or Herbes de Provence.
- I like to add a bit of sweetener to tomato sauces to balance out their acidity. This really helps round out the flavors, but you can leave it out.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe
- Calories: 430
Keywords: italian, pasta, chickpeas, vegan