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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.
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.
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.
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.
Dig in! If you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram or let me know below. Enjoy!
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Vegan Chickpea Walnut Pesto Pasta
- 1 cup toasted walnut halves and pieces, divided
- 8 ounces chickpea pasta
- 2 cups packed baby spinach or baby kale
- 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)
- 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.
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
- 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.
- 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.