Posted by: Rabideye | August 25, 2010

Pasta e Ceci: Pasta with Chickpeas

(Click image above to check out a how-to video with a slightly different recipe)

Vegetarian, low calorie, low fat. Just add the carbohydrate of your choice (eg. pasta, rice or even stale bread at the bottom of the bowl), and you have a great meal for any season. Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) actually grow well here in Powell River! It just takes a lot of land to grow any appreciable quantity. That said, sublime tomatoes and fresh basil really take this dish over the top.

  • If you have enough tomatoes in your garden to spare, this is where to use them.
  • Otherwise, visit your nearby gardeners and barter away that mega-zuke (ha!) or…
  • Visit the  Hot Summer Night outdoor market at Willingdon Beach Thursdays 5:30-8:30 pm
  • Go to the Sat/Sun Open Air Market up in Paradise Valley Fairgrounds or
  • Drop by Bernie’s ‘Vitamin Express’ fruit truck behind and adjacent to the Community Resource Centre (4752 Joyce Ave) Mondays-Thursdays during business hours.

Summer Pasta or Rice with Tomatoes and Chickpeas

4 servings

In the summer, you can serve most of your pasta dishes with uncooked tomato sauces. I make a one-dish meal by adding fresh in-season 50-Mile vegetables or a can of chickpeas to the mix. The idea is to counteract the base flavours and rather mushy textures with the zing of tomatoes, new garlic, basil, and (if you can) spicy peppers.

* 1 pound ripe tomatoes, peeled if desired and finely chopped
* 1 garlic clove, freshly minced
* Salt and ground black pepper
* 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar (optional)
* 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
* 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained (see note at end of ingredients list)

* 3/4 pound fusilli or farfalle OR about 1.5 cups of brown rice (you can cook the rice the same as you would the pasta: add 8 cups of water, bring to roiling boil, add a tsp of salt, drop in rinsed rice, stir often and about 12 mins later, check to see if it’s cooked, and if so, drain the rice).

* 1/4 cup (1 ounce) crumbled feta cheese or grated Parmesan

NOTE: Rehydrating your own dried chickpeas really tastes best, and can be done way ahead of time: Take 1 cup of dried chickpeas, add 4 cups of water and soak overnight, then compost your soaking water, add 6 cups fresh water and bring to boil with some bay leaf and a clove of garlic and a small onion and some oregano (optional). The soaked chickpeas will take a good hour or more to cook; they are done when your tongue can easily squish one on your palate. You can use a pressure cooker to rehydrate and cook chickpeas faster! Cooking the soaked chickpeas in a pressure cooker takes: 13 to 18  minutes; cooking dry chickpeas takes  30 to 40 mins in a pressure cooker)

1. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt, black pepper, vinegar, basil, and oil in a wide bowl. Let sit for 15 to 30 minutes, or longer. Stir in the chickpeas. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt generously and add the pasta. Cook al dente, until the pasta is firm to the bite, following the directions on the package but checking 1 to 2 minutes before the suggested cooking time. Drain, toss with the tomatoes and chickpeas, sprinkle on the cheese, and serve.

Advance Preparation: You can make the sauce a few hours before you cook the pasta — it will only gain in flavour.


  • A can of white cannellini beans can stand in for the chickpeas.
  • You could toss a can of good oil-packed tuna (drained) into the sauce if you’d like.
  • Adding a chopped zucchini or two wouldn’t hurt, but make sure you salt them and put them in a colander to 30 mins. to remove some of their moisture first, or this may get soupy. Reduce some of the salt in the recipe if you do this.
  • You can use rosemary, parsley, thyme and oregano if you have it and like these flavours.
  • A little bit of lemony flavour from chopped sorrel goes well on top.
  • If you like fennel (seed and/or bulb), this can be used as well…
  • Hot peppers are a no-brainer for me with this dish– it (and I) can handle a lot.

Chickpea/Garbanzo plants growing in my garden

Chickpeas, mature seeds, cooked no salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 686 kJ (164 kcal)
Carbohydrates 27.42 g
Sugars 4.8 g
Dietary fiber 7.6 g
Fat 2.59 g
saturated 0.269 g
monounsaturated 0.583 g
polyunsaturated 1.156 g
Protein 8.86 g
Water 60.21 g
Vitamin A equiv. 1 μg (0%)
Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.116 mg (9%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.063 mg (4%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.526 mg (4%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.286 mg (6%)
Vitamin B6 0.139 mg (11%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 172 μg (43%)
Vitamin B12 0 μg (0%)
Vitamin C 1.3 mg (2%)
Vitamin E 0.35 mg (2%)
Vitamin K 4 μg (4%)
Calcium 49 mg (5%)
Iron 2.89 mg (23%)
Magnesium 48 mg (13%)
Phosphorus 168 mg (24%)
Potassium 291 mg (6%)
Sodium 7 mg (0%)
Zinc 1.53 mg (15%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database

This is a dried black chickpea pod, ready to be soaked and cooked.

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