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red pesto pasta

An overhead picture of penne pasta with red pesto over arugula.

Red pesto pasta with spicy baked chickpeas brims with umami flavor and creamy mouthwatering textures for a luscious vegan dinner.

Ingredients

Units Scale

Crunchy chickpeas

  • 1 can chickpeas (15 ounces/400 grams), drained but not rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Pesto

  • 2 red bell peppers, quartered with the seeds and core removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 3 1/2 ounces (100 grams) sundried tomatoes (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 16 ounces (450 grams) pasta
  • Reserve 3/4 - 1 cup of the pasta water

Instructions

  1. Roast the red peppers and garlic. Preheat the oven to 4250 F. (220 C.). Place the peppers and garlic on a lined baking tray, skin side up. Bake the peppers for 25 minutes or until they start to get soft and brown.
  2. Season the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas to a container with a lid, then sprinkle them with the smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Secure the container lid and shake it to combine the spices and cover the chickpeas. Turn the chickpeas out on a lined baking tray and add it to the oven along with the red peppers and garlic. Roast the chickpeas until they are firm and slightly brown (about 20 minutes). Set the chickpeas aside when they are done until you finish the dish.
  3. Start the pasta. When the peppers have roasted for about 15 minutes, start the water for the pasta. When the water reaches a boil, add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Before you drain the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water.
  4. Make the pesto. Add the sundried tomatoes, walnuts, miso paste, lemon juice, and red chili flakes to a food processor or blender. As soon as the peppers are brown, remove them from the oven and slide them and the garlic into the food processor. Blend the pesto until it is smooth.
  5. Finish the pesto pasta. Return the drained pasta to the cooking pot or place it in a large bowl. Mix the pesto until the pasta is covered. Start adding the pasta water a little at a time. Mix the pasta, adding more water as needed until it is creamy but not watery. Mix in half the chickpeas, then add the rest on top as a garnish. 

Notes

  • If you use dry-packed (dehydrated) sundried tomatoes and do not have a high-speed blender, soak the tomatoes by adding them to a small bowl and covering them with water.
  • We like serving pesto pasta over a bed of arugula (rocket); however, you can also add other veggies such as sauteed zucchini or mushrooms. Other garnishes such as black olives or vegan parmesan will add another dimension of flavor.
  • You can also, make this recipe using jarred roasted peppers. Use 2 jars and if they are packed in oil, wash them with warm water to help release the oil. 

Keywords: sundried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, chickpeas, pasta, red pesto

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