This vegetarian chickpea pasta is one of the best pasta dishes I’ve eaten in a long time. Caramelized onions, roasted cauliflower, spinach and hazelnuts add amazing flavor!
When I posted my One-Pot Whole Wheat Pasta with Chicken & Spinach, I shared a healthy eating trick with you. Pasta dishes tend to be very carb-heavy, with a large proportion of the dish overtaken with pasta and a measly amount of protein and veggies. I’m not one to cut out carbs altogether, but I am committed to working more lean protein and PLENTY of veggies into my meals. My #VegItUp recipes are proof positive!
The trick is simple, but took me forever to figure out when I went through my weight loss journey.
So…what is this mysterious trick?
Use half the amount of pasta and twice the amount of protein and vegetables. Most pasta recipes call for 12-16 ounces of pasta, but I’ve cut back to 8 ounces when making dinner for my family of four. Even when you’re using whole wheat pasta, an entire pound of pasta produces A LOT of pasta in relation to the other ingredients. And if, like me, you’re trying to fill half of your plate with vegetables, a pasta-heavy dish just isn’t going to cut it.
In this vegetarian chickpea pasta recipe, caramelized onions, roasted cauliflower, spinach and toasted hazelnuts come together to make one of the best vegetarian pasta dishes I’ve eaten in a long time. I’m a sweet-savory kind of gal, so the natural sweetness of the caramelized onions, paired with some salty Parmesan cheese is absolutely heavenly! Be sure to taste and season before serving to make sure you have the right balance of salt and pepper for your tastebuds.
Important tip! Remember to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. You’ll need it for making a sauce.
- 3 cups small cauliflower florets
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground pepper
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions, cover the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown.
- During the cooking, add water as necessary to stop the onions from burning and drying out. You may need as much as ½ cup. Be sure that all of the water is absorbed before removing from the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon dried thyme.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, toss the cauliflower with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast until the cauliflower is tender and starting to brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
- While the onions and cauliflower are cooking, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Scoop out and reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta.
- Add the cooked pasta, reserved cooking water, roasted cauliflower, spinach, chickpeas, Parmesan and hazelnuts to the caramelized onions. Stir to combine.
- Stir in the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.
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