Here are six quick and healthy vegan pasta recipes! These simple recipes with chickpea pasta are easy to make, protein-packed, and delicious. Each flavor is also unique, but absolutely delicious!
Usually when you think of eating a big bowl of pasta, “healthy” isn't' the first word that jumps into your mind, right? It's more like, “carb feast” or “carbo overload”.
But today I want to show you that eating a big bowl of pasta can also equal healthy!
In today's post, we're going to show you how to make six amazing vegan pasta recipes, all with a healthy twist. The beauty of these recipes is that you can mix and match them. You can make a big batch of plain pasta and then add your flavors. Each recipe you'll find here is gluten-free, vegan, protein-packed, easy to make, AND healthy. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it's not!
It's time to start associating pasta with the word “healthy”!
How to Make Pasta Healthier
Before we even get into our recipes, I have a few simple tricks you can make that will instantly make your pasta more nutritious.
- Use a legume-based pasta: I prefer to use pasta made from chickpeas rather than rice pasta since it's more nutritious
- Add veggies: no matter which “flavor” of sauce you're going with, you can always add veggies! You can even just drop them into the pot while the pasta is cooking as I did in my one-pot lemon broccoli pasta.
- Add greens: if veggies aren't really your scene, stir in some greens. Spinach is tasteless and wilts down to almost nothing, so you get a lot of bang for your buck!
Benefits of Chickpea Pasta
My personal favorite pasta made from chickpeas. I love the texture, I love that you can't tell you're eating chickpeas (!), and I LOVE that it's naturally gluten-free and high protein. If you haven't tried pasta made from chickpeas yet, Banza is the brand you need. They make pasta in all your favorite shapes including penne, bowties, elbows, rigatoni, cavatappi, spaghetti, and more!
I’m thrilled to have Banza our partner for today’s post!
Why banza pasta made from chickpeas is better:
- protein-packed: there are about 22g of protein per 3.5oz serving of Banza, compared to 4g in brown rice
- high fiber: there are 8g of fiber vs. 3g in brown rice
- fewer carbs: there are 25% fewer carbs in Banza pasta vs. brown rice
- more filling: because of the protein and fiber, you'll feel much more satisfied for longer
- heart-healthy: legumes have been shown in many studies to support a healthy heart
How to Cook Chickpea Pasta
Similar to traditional pasta, pasta made with chickpeas is a cinch to make!
- Bring at least 8 cups of water to boil
- Add Banza and stir immediately
- Cooked to desired firmness (I'm all about al dente pasta!)
- Strain and rinse your pasta (so it doesn't stick!)
- Top with your toppings/sauce
And if you want to prep these healthy chickpea pasta recipes ahead, make sure to store your cooked pasta and sauce separately.
How to Cook Chickpea Pasta
- 8 oz chickpea pasta
- Bring at least 8 cups of water to boil. Add Banza and stir immediately.
- Cooked to desired firmness (I'm all about al dente pasta!). Strain and rinse your pasta (so it doesn't stick!).
- Top with your toppings/sauce (see recieps below).
Recipes with Chickpea Pasta: 6 Ways
Pasta is on weekly rotation at our house and in the thousands of boxes we've made, we've come up with some favorite combinations. That's what I've included today. All the recipes down below, but here are the flavors we're working with today:
- Simple Tomato Basil
- Pesto + Toasted Pine Nut
- Vegan Garlic, Butter + Cheese
- Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato + Spinach
- Veggie Primavera
- Mushroom Miso
What I love about pasta is that it's basically a blank slate. You can mix and match all sorts of flavors, sauces, and veggies to create an irresistible and healthy dinner!
Ready to make some vegan pasta recipes? Let's do this!
1. Tomato Basil
We're kicking things off with a classic! Penne (made from chickpeas of course!), tossed with a quick homemade marinara sauce and fresh basil. Even though it's simple, I'm a firm believer that sometimes simple is best. This is the perfect recipe if you're just in the mood for traditional pasta with red sauce. It's so yum!
Ingredients for your Tomato Basil Chickpea Pasta
- 1 box (8oz) Banza chickpea penne
- 28oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
- 2 large garlic cloves, quartered
- Salt + pepper to taste
- ½ cup fresh basil leaves
Add the tomato sauce, seasoning, and garlic into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 8 cups of water to boil. Once boiling, cook the penne according to the box instructions. Drain and quickly rinse and transfer back to the pan.
Scoop the garlic out of the sauce and spoon it over the sauce. Add the basil and stir together. Serve immediately.
2. Vegan Pesto
Next on our list of classics is pesto! Vegan pesto is definitely in my top two or three favorite types of pasta! And this one is super easy to make and flavorful thanks for the toasted pine nuts.
Ingredients for your Vegan Pesto Chickpea Pasta:
- 1 box (8oz) Banza chickpea gemelli
- ½ cup vegan pesto
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ – ⅓ cup grated vegan parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)
Heat 8 cups of water to boil. Once boiling, cook the gemelli according to the box instructions. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water, then drain and quickly rinse and transfer back to the pan. Add the pesto, toasted pine nuts, and parmesan. Stir together and if you want it a bit creamier, add a splash of pasta water. Serve immediately!
3. Vegan Butter + Cheese
I don't know anyone who doesn't love butter and cheese pasta. It's simple and it's delicious! This is also kind of my quick version of vegan mac and cheese. It's easy to make, kid-friendly and you could add any veggies you like!
Ingredients for your Vegan Butter + Cheese Chickpea Pasta:
- 1 box (8oz) Banza chickpea elbows
2 tablespoons vegan butter
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup almond milk (+ more as needed)
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt + pepper
Heat 8 cups of water to boil. Once boiling, cook the elbows according to the box instructions. Drain and quickly rinse and transfer back to the pan. Add the butter, nutritional yeast (or parmesan), almond milk, salt, pepper, and garlic. Stir together and if you want it a bit creamier, add a splash or two more of almond milk. Serve immediately!
4. Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato
Now that we're halfway through our list of vegan pasta recipes, it's time to step it up a little. Think of these as our “fancier” options. The first one includes a creamy tomato base, with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. It's cozy, delicious, and super easy to make!
Ingredients for your Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chickpea Pasta:
- 1 box (8oz) Banza chickpea shells
- 3 cups spinach
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- ¼ cup tomato sauce (I used the extras from the homemade marinara above)
- ½ cup cashew cream
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast
- Red pepper flakes to taste
- Salt + pepper to taste
Heat 8 cups of water to boil. Once boiling, cook the shells according to the box instructions. With 1 minute left in the cooking time, add the spinach and allow it to wilt. Drain and quickly rinse the pasta and spinach, and transfer them back to the pan. Add the remaining ingredients and stir together. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately!
5. Veggie Primavera
These next two recipes are my personal favorites on the list. The first is this veggie-packed primavera! We've got garlicky sauteed veggies, stirred with our pasta, lemon and basil. It's fresh, bright and so healthy!
Ingredients for your Veggie Primavera Chickpea Pasta:
- 1 box (8oz) Banza chickpea cavatappi
- ¼ cup olive oil, divided
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, chopped (1 cup)
- 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
- 8 – 10 cherry tomatoes, halved (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup chopped kale leaves
- ¼ cup fresh basil (optional)
- Juice and zest of ½ a lemon
Start by chopping all the veggies. Bring 8 cups of water to boil. Once boiling, add the cavatappi and cook according to the package instructions.
While the noodles are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the garlic, zucchini, and pepper and saute for about 3 minutes until everything is starting to soften. Add the kale, cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the pasta is done cooking.
Drain and rinse the noodles and add them back to the pot. Add the remaining olive oil, veggies, lemon juice + zest, and fresh basil. Stir together until combined. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately!
6. Mushroom Miso
Our final healthy pasta recipe is this creamy mushroom pasta. I wanted to come up with a sauce that was a bit different than others you've seen already and we nailed it. This was actually my mom's idea and it's incredible! Mushrooms, miso, tahini and herbs. They might sound like a strange combo, but they make the best pasta dish ever!
Ingredients for Mushroom Miso Chickpea Pasta:
- 1 box (8oz) Banza rigatoni
- 8oz mushrooms (preferably mixed variety)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- ½ of a medium shallot, chopped (about ¼ cup)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt + pepper
- 3 tablespoons fresh herbs (I used sage, parsley, and thyme)
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 2 teaspoons red miso paste
- ¾ cup water
Make the sauce first by whisking together the tahini, miso, and water. Set aside.
Chop all the veggies then bring 8 cups of water to boil. Once boiling, add the rigatoni and cook according to the package instructions.
While the noodles are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saute pan. Add the garlic, shallot, and mushroom and saute for about 3 minutes until everything is starting to soften. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the pasta is done cooking.
Drain and rinse the noodles and add them back to the pot. Add the mushroom mixture, herbs, and sauce. Stir together until combined. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper if desired. Serve immediately!
More 6-Ways Recipe Posts to read:
If you love this kind of post – where we show you how to make one type of meal in six different ways – we've got a few others you might enjoy reading!
- 6 Easy & Healthy Chia Pudding Recipes
- Healthy Quinoa Bowls: 6 Delicious Ways
- 6 Amazing Ways to Cook Steel Cut Oats in the Instant Pot
And if you have any other types of meals you want us to make this with, let us know!
This post is brought to you in partnership with Banza. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share companies I love and trust, so thank you for continuing to support Simply Quinoa!
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