Delicious creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas that is so creamy, you wouldn’t believe it has no cream in it!
This creamy pasta recipe is not only vegan, nutritious and guilt-free but also an easy one-pan vegetarian meal that you can quickly get to the table for a weeknight dinner.
The flavor of the chickpeas complemented by cashew cream will get even the pickiest kid to love this no-cream creamy pasta. And nobody will even realize there’s no cream!
The chickpeas also make this recipe a high-protein one, ideal for vegans and vegetarians as a meat substitute.
What goes into this creamy pasta recipe without cream
In this vegan pasta recipe, we make the creamy pasta sauce using cashew nuts and almond milk that are full of nutrients and vitamins in place of refined flour or cream.
Add spinach, grated carrots and roasted cherry tomatoes for an amazingly flavored one-pan creamy vegan pasta which you can devour without guilt.
So here comes the twist: there is an ingredient that most of you wouldn’t dare to add – green chili. I know, that might sound strange, but believe me, the spice gets balanced out by the chickpeas and the vegan cashew sauce. I have tested out this recipe with 1, 2 or no chilies, and found that 2 medium-sized chilies work best for my family. (and we don’t eat very spicy food, you’ll realize if you have been following my recipes). So you are free to choose the number of chilies according to your spice level, but I recommend at least 1 small chili for the enhanced flavor of the creamy pasta.
How to make the creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas
Canned chickpeas can be used for this recipe. If using dried chickpeas, soak overnight or 6 hours minimum.
Cook on instant pot or pressure cooker: Drain the chickpeas, add 2 cups of water and cook until it reaches high pressure. Cook on low pressure for 15 minutes and let the pressure release naturally. Drain the chickpeas and keep aside. You might want to keep the cooking water to use later, for thinning out the sauce if it becomes too thick.
Roast the cherry tomatoes in the oven at 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) for 20 minutes. They can also be roasted on the stovetop, in a saute pan with 1 teaspoon oil on a medium flame until done, for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta, prep the vegetables and prepare the sauce.
Creamy pasta sauce without cream
Blend the cashews with 1/4 cup of water to make a smooth paste.
Take a wide, deep pan that can hold all of the pasta. Saute minced garlic and green chilies in olive oil, add almond milk, cashew paste, and Italian seasoning. Stir well and bring the sauce to a boil under medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add chopped spinach, grated carrots, chickpeas, pasta and roasted cherry tomatoes
Boil on a medium flame for about 10 minutes or until it reaches the required consistency. (The creamy sauce should coat the back of a spoon.) If the sauce gets too thick, add some water from cooking the chickpeas and adjust the consistency to your preference. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Devour!
This creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas goes well with
- beet orange salad for a vegan meal
- pomegranate salad with coconut and palm sugar also for a vegan meal
- buttermilk baked chicken legs for a protein-rich meal
- crispy fried shrimps for an easy dinner that looks fancy
- baked salmon kabobs for a meal rich in good fats
Are you a fan of chickpeas? You’ll love this protein-and-fiber-rich chickpea soup.
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Creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas
- 2 cups elbow macaroni uncooked (penne or fusilli also works)
- 1 cup dried chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups canned
- 2 cups spinach chopped and loosely packed
- 1 carrot medium, grated
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 green chili minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Roast cherry tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F). Spread out the cherry tomatoes on a sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes. They can also be roasted on the stovetop in a saute pan with 1 teaspoon oil for about 20 minutes.
Cook the dried chickpeas, if using
- Soak them overnight or 6 hours minimum. Drain and place in the pressure cooker or instant pot with 2 cups water. Once high pressure is reached, cook on low pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. Drain and keep aside.
Cook the pasta
- Boil a large pot of water, add the pasta and cook as per the package instructions.
- Drain the pasta, mix in 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and keep aside.
Make the sauce
- Blend the cashews into a smooth paste with 1/4 cup of water.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet, add minced garlic and chilies and saute on medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- Add the almond milk, cashew paste and Italian seasoning. Mix well and bring the mixture to a boil on medium flame.
The creamy vegan pasta
- Mix in spinach and grated carrots, salt, chickpeas, pasta and roasted cherry tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes until you get the desired consistency (when the sauce coats the back of a spoon).
- If the sauce becomes too thick, add a few tablespoons of water drained from the cooked chickpeas. Adjust the consistency of the sauce according to your preference.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!
- 1/2 cup of Sun dried tomatoes can be used in place of cherry tomatoes.
- Green chili gives a unique flavor to the creamy sauce. The spice gets balanced out by the chickpeas and the cashew sauce.
- Non-vegans can use regular milk instead of almond milk and add some feta cheese.
- Reserve the water from cooking the chickpeas. It can be used to make the sauce thinner, if it is too thick.
Interesting facts about Chickpeas
- Chickpea flour can be used to make fritters, desserts and crepes.
- The brine from chickpeas can be used as an egg white replacement to make meringue.
- Fight wrinkles, age spots and even acne with a chickpea flour topical paste.
- Chickpea flour can be used to wash away dandruff from your hair.
- Chickpea coffee was first discovered in 1793 and adopted in areas of Germany in WWI.
- Chickpeas were fed to Roman stallions to increase their virility.
- The Ancient Romans believed that chickpeas were a gift from the Goddess Venus to help with fertility.
- In traditional Jewish birth celebrations like Shalom Zakhar, chickpeas are consumed as they represent the circle of life.