It’s pretty redundant to say that I love cooking. So much. But even though I find myself enamoured with some small detail of every meal that I make, this chickpea pasta was next-level emotional. In fact, was one of the few recipes I’ve made in my entire life that turned me into a wide-eyed child again, and reaffirmed my deep, unrelenting passion for creating food. Kneading the dough, rolling the pasta through this perfectly designed machine, seeing it transform before me, mysteriously almost nothing into so very much. I’m not ashamed to say it nearly brought me to tears. There is something about cooking – and cooking something so ancient – that delivers a feeling of satisfaction that can hardly be described. It’s entirely transcendental. And the best part? You get to eat it.
It all started when one of my dear friends suggested making pasta out of chickpea flour and that she had seen a vegan version using ground flax seeds. I found the recipe and followed it, but it didn’t work, I tried again, and after another pretty epic fail where I felt totally out of my depth, I decided to go the classic egg route. Not only was it better, it was absolutely, unbelievably delicious. In fact, I could hardly trust that what I was eating was made from chickpea flour, since it tasted so much like the beloved white pasta of my past. How is this not a thing?! It’s so easy and infinitely healthier, why isn’t everyone and their uncle Bob making pasta with chickpea flour?
I made this pasta three time in a week and found the prefect al dente cook time, all kinds of things to dress it with (olive oil, Pecorino, black pepper – guh.), and that I could freeze it to come back later and pop a nest into boiling water for almost-instant dinner that even my three-year-old loves. Rejoice!
The only potential issue with using chickpea pasta like this is that since the chickpea flour is made from ground raw chickpeas, and some people who are sensitive to legumes may find this difficult to digest (i.e. lots of farts). I don’t know how to overcome this issue since sprouting the chickpeas, then dehydrating them, then grinding them seems like a whole lotta rigmarole, so I’m using chickpea flour and calling this an indulgence, like socca. If you know you have legume issues, I suggest purchasing sprouted chickpea flour, which is a little more challenging to find, but you can certainly buy it online.
Now that I understand the correct moisture levels and consistency, I’m going to go back and try the vegan version again, perhaps using something other than flax this time. If any of you have had success, please let me know!
Do you need a pasta machine for this recipe? Kind of. Unless you are very skilled at rolling out pasta by hand, I recommend picking one up (there’s always one at the second-hand store). Pasta machines are simple to use, and make this process very fast, fun, and satisfying. The one I have is pictured below (it’s Atlas brand #notsponsored), and it creates flat sheets that are perfect for lasagna or ravioli, or you can run the thin sheets through the spaghetti or tagliatelle roller, like I have done for this recipe.
And there’s another recipe in this recipe, and that is for the delightful Basil-Pea Pesto. Herb-y, nutty, and bright, it’s a cinch to whip up and keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge, so you can make it ahead or use the potential leftovers for many delish things (it’s a great dip or sandwich spread). Use frozen peas if that’s all you have – no stress! And I like to use even more peas and basil to finish this dish off, so that it is even more satisfying with all the bright flavours and textures. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family does.
Chickpea Pasta with Basil-Pea Pesto
1 batch chickpea pasta (recipe follows)
1 batch Basil-Pea Pesto (recipe follows)
2½ cups / 350g shelled green peas (fresh or frozen)
a small handful of basil leaves
Olive oil to garnish
flaky sea salt and black pepper
2 – 2 ½ cups / 250 – 310g chickpea flour
3 large eggs, organic and free-range if possible
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
1. Measure out 2 cups / 250g of chickpea flour and place in a mound on clean work surface. Make a large well in the center of the mound and crack three eggs into it, along with the salt and olive oil. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until you have a smooth dough (if the mixture is dry, add a tablespoon of water to moisten it. If the dough is wet, add the remaining flour, one tablespoon at a time until it less sticky). Knead the dough for about five minutes, then cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least half an hour.
2. Unwrap the dough and divide it into quarters, then again for that you have about eight equal portions. Work with one portion at a time, and cover the rest. Flour your work surface and work the dough into a square-ish shape, about the width of the pasta maker (the pasta will become much longer, not wider, so it’s best to take full advantage of the width). Flour the dough again and run it through the thickest setting on the machine (usually #1). Change settings to the slightly thinner setting (usually #2) and run it through the machine. If your pasta sticks at all, dust both sides with more flour. Repeat until the pasta is your desired thickness, then feed it through the cutter of your choice. I went to #6 before cutting it into tagliatelle.
3. As soon as the pasta comes through the cutter, toss it generously with flour and spread it out on clean work surface to dry, or use a pasta drying wrack if you have one.
4. Bring a pot of well-salted water to a rolling boil. Add the amount of pasta you’re using to the water and cook for about 2-3 minutes (don’t overcook! This pasta will disintegrate quickly if boiled for too long). The pasta should float to the top of the pot when it’s ready and be al dente. Drain and plate quickly.
5. You can finish this pasta two ways: one, place the pasta back into the pot and fold in the peas, basil, desired amount of pesto, and a glug of olive oil, the divide among the plates. Alternatively, divide the pasta among the plates, dollop with the pesto, drizzle with olive oil, and garnish with pine nuts and basil. Grind fresh pepper over the top and serve immediately.
1 clove garlic
½ cup / 55g pine nuts
zest of 1 lemon
3-4 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil (as needed)
½ tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups loosely packed / 35g fresh basil leaves
1 cup / 140g shelled green peas (fresh or frozen)
1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. Add peas and turn off the heat. If using fresh peas, let them sit for about 2-3 minutes until bright green. If using frozen, let them sit for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until lightly golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Place peeled garlic in a food processor and pulse to mince. Add the toasted pine nuts (reserve a few for garnish), olive oil, salt, basil, and one cup / 140g of peas and blend on high to mix. Add more olive oil if you like a looser pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
I’m currently on holidays in Canada and I’m going to keep this post short and sweet so that I can get back to all of my funky food projects, reading on the dock, and naps. So many naps. I hope you’re all having a glorious summer so far!
Show my your pasta on Instagram: #mnrchickpeapasta
Dear friends! I am getting SO excited about hosting my next wellness retreat in Ibiza, Spain, September 5-10 and September 17-23. And I’ve decided to offer the same program twice so that more of you can join in. This is going to be an intimate group of 12 women only, housed in a stunning, 400 year-old finca in the hills surrounded by fig trees, wild herbs and carob. Come join me for seven days of total inspiration and rejuvenation – delicious and healthy meals, cooking and nutrition workshops, yoga, pilates, dance, and meditation that will balance your body and mind, and empower you to move forward on a path to greater wellness. I can’t wait to see you there!