Vegan Chickpea Pesto Pasta

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This chickpea pasta is tossed with a creamy, vegan walnut pesto. Packed with protein and fiber, this easy recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes.

Chickpea Walnut Pesto Pasta Overhead

Hey! I’m back with a recipe for meatless Monday. I shared this easy vegan pesto pasta recipe during a live demo last month but hadn’t had a chance to post it here yet. (Note: While California Walnuts is a client, this post is not sponsored in any way. I just didn’t want to wait to share it with you!)

[clickToTweet tweet=”This easy, vegan Chickpea Pesto Pasta is packed with protein and fiber and happens to also be gluten free! #MeatlessMonday #veganrecipes” quote=”This easy, vegan Chickpea Walnut Pesto Pasta is packed with protein and fiber and happens to also be gluten free! “]

This pesto is not “quite” traditional. Instead of basil, I used spinach. Instead of pricey pine nuts, I used walnuts. And biggest change? I swapped in nutritional yeast for the Parmesan cheese. And it’s not at all to say I don’t love Parmesan. I do. But I created this recipe for a demo highlighting different ways to do heart health last month and wanted to keep it vegan for attendees. If you don’t have or can’t find nutritional yeast, sub in 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan and this recipe will still be fantastic. Need help? Hop over and use my easy kale pesto recipe.

Close up of walnut pesto on a spatula and blender

Once the pesto is ready, you simply toss it with warm chickpea pasta. I love bean based pastas because they are a good source of protein and fiber. Chickpea pasta in particular, has a neutral flavor and pleasant bite that mimics regular pasta better than most of the other pasta alternatives I’ve tried. Use any brand you like and can find.  I’ve had a good experience with the Banza brand but still can’t find all of the shapes in my supermarket. That’s how I ended up using shells versus penne or spaghetti which I prefer. That’s a #FirstWorldProblem if ever there was one – I know.

Anyway… once the pesto is done, the pasta boiled and the nuts toasted, you stir it all together.

Mixing Chickpea Pasta with Walnut Pesto

Serve it up as is, or add cooked chickpeas to the top for a hearty meal. Because the pasta already has chickpeas, adding them is optional. But they add a nice bite and help make the meal feel more complete.

Chickpea Walnut Pesto Pasta Side view

Dig in! If you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram or let me know below. Enjoy!

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4.6 from 10 votes
Chickpea Walnut Pesto Pasta Overhead
Vegan Chickpea Walnut Pesto Pasta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

This chickpea pasta is tossed with a creamy, vegan walnut pesto. Packed with protein and fiber, this easy recipe comes together in less than 15 minutes. 

Course: Entree, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 357 kcal
Author: Marisa Moore Nutrition
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces chickpea pasta
  • 2 cups packed baby spinach or baby kale
  • 1 cup toasted walnut halves and pieces, divided
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Instructions
  1. Toast the walnuts: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the walnuts in a single layer on a sheet pan. Bake at 8-10 minutes, turning once to prevent browning. Remove from the oven and let cool.

  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.

  3. While the pasta cooks and the walnuts toast, add the greens, ½ cup toasted walnuts, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, and salt to a blender or food processor. Pulse until chopped. Set to puree and stream olive oil into the mixture. Puree until thoroughly blended.

  4. Toss warm pasta with the pesto. Top with the remaining half cup toasted walnuts and red pepper flakes if desired. Serve as a room temperature or warm side dish or add cooked chickpeas for a hearty entrée. 

 

Chickpea Walnut Pesto Pasta

 

 

24 Comments on Vegan Chickpea Pesto Pasta

  1. Suzy
    March 15, 2018 at 9:00 AM (6 months ago)
    Love this idea! Chickpeas are my favorite! Reply
  2. Tara
    March 15, 2018 at 10:01 AM (6 months ago)
    I love using spinach during the winter months. This pasta dish sounds incredible and it comes together so easily!
    Reply
    • Marisa
      March 15, 2018 at 10:43 AM (6 months ago)
      Yes. The ease is the reason I love this recipe! Reply
  3. Julia
    March 15, 2018 at 10:17 AM (6 months ago)
    Mmm, homemade spinach pesto is my favorite! I like the addition of chickpea - haven't had this flavor combo yet so thanks for the inspiration!
    Reply
    • Marisa
      March 15, 2018 at 10:42 AM (6 months ago)
      You can do so much with whatever greens you have on hand. The spinach works great hear because it's so mild! Reply
  4. Traci
    March 15, 2018 at 10:36 AM (6 months ago)
    Yummmm! I've been wanting to make something very similar to this, so now you've got me all inspired. Yours looks so simple and elegant...my favorite things in a weeknight dinner. Pinning!
    Reply
    • Marisa
      March 15, 2018 at 10:41 AM (6 months ago)
      Thanks, Traci! It's one of the best quick and easy recipes! ANd so filling! Reply
  5. Lynn | The Road to Honey
    March 15, 2018 at 10:38 AM (6 months ago)
    It's pretty amazing how creative you can get with of pesto. Loving that you used spinach instead of basil and that nutritional yeast sounds interesting. I've never actually worked with it but definitely interested in learning more about it. Reply
    • Marisa
      March 15, 2018 at 10:42 AM (6 months ago)
      I tried nutritional yeast for the first time a couple years ago. It hads a nice umami flavor to this dish. Reply
  6. Barbara Miller
    March 26, 2018 at 1:58 PM (6 months ago)
    This looks great; I notice mention of oats in the directions, to be roasted with the walnuts and ground in pesto. There are no oats on the ingredients list. How much and what type are needed? Reply
    • Marisa
      March 26, 2018 at 2:11 PM (6 months ago)
      Hi Barbara. That was an error. There are no oats in the pesto :) It was a cut and paste error from my Toasted Oat and Nut Bites. THanks for catching it and I hope you love this recipe! Reply
  7. Sandi Hemming, RDN LD
    April 27, 2018 at 4:27 PM (5 months ago)
    1/2 c of olive oil and a cup of walnuts - high fat recipe for special occasions!
    Reply
    • Erin
      April 27, 2018 at 5:06 PM (5 months ago)
      I actually think this is a great dish for everyday. It’s under 360 calories & a great mix of plant based good fats which have been shown to promote heart health & increase the absorption of fat soluble nutrients. I find many individuals take in too many refined grains and not enough healthy fats and this recipe is the perfect solution for that.
      Reply
      • Marisa
        April 28, 2018 at 5:00 PM (5 months ago)
        I couldn't have said it better myself, Erin! Thanks for the note! I eat olive oil and nuts every day and feel great about it considering all of the research to support the benefits of healthy fats. Reply
  8. Amy Gorin
    April 27, 2018 at 5:03 PM (5 months ago)
    This has all my fave ingredients in it. Looks great! Love the power of healthy fats. :)
    Reply
    • Marisa
      April 28, 2018 at 4:58 PM (5 months ago)
      Yes. I'm sure I eat olive oil and some kind of nut every single day. So this just makes it easier to do! Thanks, Amy! Reply
  9. Erin
    April 27, 2018 at 5:04 PM (5 months ago)
    Delicious!! I love this combo! What a great way to add more healthy fats into the diet :)
    Reply
    • Marisa
      April 28, 2018 at 4:55 PM (5 months ago)
      Thank you, Erin!! Reply
  10. Victoria Shanta Retelny
    April 27, 2018 at 5:31 PM (5 months ago)
    Pesto is truly one of my favorites! I love it with pasta and now I'll try adding chickpeas to it! This recipe looks delicious! You can't go wrong with healthy fats for flavor, satiety and overall health, too. ;)
    Reply
    • Marisa
      April 28, 2018 at 4:53 PM (5 months ago)
      Thank you, Victoria! So true. And I love how easy this recipe comes together for a filling meal! Reply
  11. Meme from Living Well Kitchen
    May 15, 2018 at 4:39 PM (4 months ago)
    Hello, delicious!! I love how easy this is! Pesto is one of my favorite condiments because it is filled with so many nutrients and tastes amaaaaazing! And since I don't always have fresh basil, using spinach is a great alternative!
    Reply
    • Marisa
      May 15, 2018 at 4:53 PM (4 months ago)
      Exactly! I always have spinach waiting to be used in the fridge so this is a great way to extend it in a delicious way. Thanks Meme! Reply
  12. Katie
    May 15, 2018 at 10:50 PM (4 months ago)
    Proof indeed that pasta can be good and so good for you! Looking forward to trying this.
    Reply
    • Marisa
      May 18, 2018 at 12:01 PM (4 months ago)
      Thank you, Katie! It makes for a delicious easy meal! Maybe I will add a little beet powder to the next batch. Reply

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