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!)

This easy, vegan Chickpea Walnut Pesto Pasta is packed with protein and fiber and happens to also be gluten free! Click To Tweet

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!

5 from 3 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
  • 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)
  1. Toast the walnuts and oats: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the oats and 1 cup 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



Vegan Chickpea Pesto Pasta | Vegan, Gluten-free pasta | #veganrecipes #ChickpeaPasta #glutenfreepasta #walnutpesto #spinachpesto #nutritionalyeast

9 Comments on Vegan Chickpea Pesto Pasta

  1. Suzy
    March 15, 2018 at 9:00 AM (6 days ago)
    Love this idea! Chickpeas are my favorite! Reply
  2. Tara
    March 15, 2018 at 10:01 AM (6 days ago)
    I love using spinach during the winter months. This pasta dish sounds incredible and it comes together so easily!
    • Marisa
      March 15, 2018 at 10:43 AM (6 days ago)
      Yes. The ease is the reason I love this recipe! Reply
  3. Julia
    March 15, 2018 at 10:17 AM (6 days 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!
    • Marisa
      March 15, 2018 at 10:42 AM (6 days 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 days 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 favorite things in a weeknight dinner. Pinning!
    • Marisa
      March 15, 2018 at 10:41 AM (6 days 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 days 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 days ago)
      I tried nutritional yeast for the first time a couple years ago. It hads a nice umami flavor to this dish. Reply

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