Creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas

Delicious creamy pasta with spinach that is so creamy, you wouldn’t believe it has no cream in it! Here we use a creamy pasta sauce recipe with almond milk that is not only delicious but also good for you.

creamy pasta with spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes and chickpeas in a pan.

This creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas is not only vegan and guilt-free but also an easy nutritious 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 creamy pasta sauce WITHOUT CREAM. Shhh….nobody will even realize there’s no cream!

The chickpeas also make this recipe extra-yummy AND high-protein, which is ideal for vegans and vegetarians looking for a meat substitute. The chickpeas just blend-in with this elbow pasta, making it look and taste awesome. This pasta recipe drastically cuts down your refined carb intake since you’re replacing 1/2 the amount of pasta with chickpeas.

creamy pasta with spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes and chickpeas served in white plates.

How to make creamy pasta sauce without cream

We make this vegan creamy pasta sauce using cashew nuts and almond milk that are full of nutrients and vitamins instead of refined flour or cream. If you don’t mind dairy, you can use whole milk in place of almond milk. But I recommend almond milk for its rich flavor.

Add spinach, grated carrots and roasted cherry tomatoes for added taste and nutrition and you get an absolutely creamy vegan pasta that you can devour WITHOUT GUILT.

ingredients for creamy pasta with spinach.

So here comes another twist: there is an ingredient that most of you wouldn’t dare to add in pasta- green chili. I know, that might sound strange, but believe me, the spice gets balanced out by the chickpeas and the creamy 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. I’ve used chilies in mint pesto recipe for pasta, too.) 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 creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas

Canned chickpeas can be used for this recipe. If using dried chickpeas, soak overnight or for 6 hours minimum.

How to cook chickpeas in 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 reserve some of 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. Reserve some pasta water.

How to cook 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 or pasta and adjust the consistency to your preference. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Devour!

creamy pasta with spinach, roasted tomatoes and chickpeas served in a white ceramic plate.

How to avoid your pasta turning mushy or gummy

serving suggestions

Cook pasta in a deep and wide pan with salted water about 4 cups per cup of dry pasta. (roughly 4 quarts per pound of pasta)

Add pasta only after the water comes to a rolling boil.

Keep stirring intermittently to keep the pasta from sticking together and to cook uniformly.

Cook until the pasta is ALMOST done. Cook for about 5 minutes lesser than the time specified in the package instructions.

Drain immediately and add olive oil (about 1 tablespoon per cup of uncooked pasta). Mix well.

Do not rinse the cooked pasta, unless you’re making pasta salad.

Toss with the sauce just before serving.

Make-ahead option

This creamy pasta is best eaten fresh. It can be refrigerated for a couple of days or frozen for a week. Refrigerate the pasta water and add when you reheat the pasta.

This creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas goes well with

Like this creamy pasta dish? Why not try my creamy pasta salad with chicken or angel hair pasta with shrimps? If you want a light pasta salad, try this easy Italian pasta salad.

Are you a fan of chickpeas? You’ll love this protein-and-fiber-rich chickpea soup.

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creamy pasta with spinach, roasted cherry tomatoes and chickpeas in a pan.

Creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas

A delicious creamy pasta with spinach that is so creamy, you wouldn’t notice it has no cream in it! This is one of the healthiest creamy pasta sauce recipes made with heart-healthy fats.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
resting time 5 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5 people
Calories 355 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

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 al dente. Reserve a cup of pasta water. 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.

Creamy pasta with spinach

  • 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.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat. Serve and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • 1/2 cup of Sun dried tomatoes can be used in place of roasted cherry tomatoes.
  • Green chili gives a unique flavor to the creamy sauce. The spice gets balanced out by the chickpeas and the cashew sauce
  • If you don’t mind dairy, you can use whole milk instead of almond milk.
  • Reserve the water from cooking the chickpeas and the pasta. Either can be used to adjust the sauce, if it gets too thick. This also makes the sauce creamier.
Creamy pasta with spinach and chickpeas
Keyword creamy pasta sauce recipe, creamy pasta with spinach, recipes for creamy pasta, recipes for creamy pasta sauce

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.

(Source: https://blog.choosechickapea.com/top-ten-facts-chickpeas-post)

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