Made with roasted cauliflower, chickpea and arugula, this vegetable-packed vegan pasta recipe is a healthy weeknight meal ready in minutes.
This post is sponsored by Barilla US.
This veggie-packed pasta recipe is the perfect weeknight dinner with planned leftovers for lunch! Dig in to also discover why you want to add pasta under all of those veggies!
Ingredients for this recipe
Your favorite pasta ( I used Barilla Casarecce)
Canned (or cooked) chickpeas
Extra virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper
Before we make this recipe, let’s talk a bit about pasta and why it’s always in my pantry.
Pasta is a staple
Much like the white rice I grew up on in the rural south here in the United States, pasta is a staple in many parts of the world.
Pasta is a simple food, made with just two ingredients: enriched durum wheat semolina + water.
And yes. It is a refined grain.
But not all refined grains are created equal. There is a difference between “staple” refined grains, like pasta, which are enriched with iron and B vitamins and contain no added sugar, fat or sodium versus “indulgent” refined grains like cakes, cookies, and donuts, which have excess added sugar, saturated fat and sodium.
As you know, I am a fan of including both whole and refined grains at the table. From my Slow Roasted Tomato Linguine to popular whole grain recipes like my Apple Pecan Farro Salad or Orange Cashew Black Rice Salad, there really is room for it all.
And there’s research
It might be associated with better diet quality.
It’s true. Research suggests that dietary patterns that include pasta such as the Mediterranean diet might have overall improved diet quality.
- A recent study, published in Frontiers in Nutrition (2020) with funding provided by the National Pasta Association found that eating pasta was associated with a better diet quality and lower intakes of saturated fat and added sugar.
- Another study funded by the Grain Foods Foundation found that of 1 in 5 Americans who ate pasta as part of a Mediterranean diet, had over 20% better overall diet quality (increased fiber, magnesium, and vitamin D intake), as well as, lower body weight and waist circumference compared to those who ate no pasta at all.
If you needed convincing, that might just be it. But women of childbearing age have another reason.
Pasta is a source of some key nutrients for pregnant women.
Pasta is an excellent source of folate (50% Daily Value (DV)) and a good source of iron (10% DV). These are important since both folate and iron needs increase during pregnancy and are especially important for healthy pregnancies and fetal development.
It’s the perfect base for easy veggie-packed meals.
Now, while all of those reasons are all well and good, I keep it on hand because it’s the perfect vehicle for quick and easy, vegetable and plant-protein packed meals.
I regularly make up my own dishes with whatever I have in the pantry, freezer and fridge. Similar to this one, my Roasted Broccoli and Walnut Pasta is one of my favorite mixed pasta dishes.
If you ever get stumped and need a little creativity boost, check out Barilla’s Pasta Builders for infinite inspiration. There you’ll find ideas to incorporate plenty of vegetables, legumes, lean protein, and healthy oils too.
But before you head off to check out the builder…
Let’s dig into this Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpea and Greens Pasta recipe. It’s made in just 3 steps!
Step 1: Boil the pasta and roast the vegetables. (I’m calling this one step since they happen at the same time. You can also roast your veggies ahead of time. But roasted cauliflower doesn’t last forever so I recommend no more than 1 day ahead on that.)
Step 2: Start the pasta “sauce” in a skillet by sauteing garlic and red pepper flakes in extra virgin olive oil.
Step 3: Now, add the cooked pasta, roasted vegetables and arugula with a squeeze of lemon and enough reserved pasta water to make it all saucy. Toss to combine and enjoy this pasta warm – or room temperature if that’s your thing. It works either way.
Roasted Cauliflower Chickpea Arugula Pasta
- 3 cups bite-size cauliflower florets (about half a medium head)
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 2 cups dry pasta (I used casarecce)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Juice of a small lemon (about 3 tbsp)
- 4 cups arugula
- ¼-½ cup Reserved pasta water
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spread the cauliflower florets and chickpeas in an even layer on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Toss to coat. Roast about 15 minutes until the cauliflower starts to caramelize, turning once.
- Prepare pasta according to package directions for cooking to al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta water. Drain.
- Heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low. Add the hot drained pasta, roasted cauliflower and chickpeas, arugula and lemon juice. Add reserved pasta water starting with ¼ cup until desired sauciness is achieved. Toss to coat. Taste and add additional lemon, salt and pepper if desired. Serve.