Salt and vinegar kettle chips. Pico de gallo with a heavy dose of white vinegar and lime juice. Balsamic vinegar drizzled over mozzarella. I’m unclear as to when my palette became so invested in tang and zest, but I think we can officially “call it.” The tangier, the better. So, it’s no surprise that a balsamic vinegar pasta sauce makes it difficult for me not to go back for seconds (more than once). It is my hope that Balsamic Summer Veggie Chickpea Pasta will make it to your “main dish” rolodex from spring to fall, especially for those who love balsamic vinegar recipes.
Mixed Veggie Pasta
Perhaps what I love most about pasta dishes is that you can master the foundation (cooking pasta noodles) relatively quickly and then build upon it with layers of ingredients and aromatics that make it your own. Swap tomato sauce for pesto or root vegetables for peas and a few extra herbs. I’m still lazy when it comes to planning out a menu for the week, so have started to find comfort in having a few “staples” on hand (pesto, garlic, etc.) in larger quantities so that all I have to do is dig in the freezer or grab some leftover vegetables from a salad earlier in the week and create something all our own.
Adjusting to Chickpea Pasta
In reality, we really haven’t had to “adjust” to chickpea pasta. There was no particular need for us to give it a try, but we stumbled upon it in Costco one day and decided to experiment with it. Never miss an opportunity to make something a little healthier, right?
Is Chickpea Pasta Healthier than Traditional Pasta?
For all intents and purposes, yes. Of course, “healthy” exists in different forms for different people, but pasta made from legumes tend to pack a bigger punch per serving for health powerhouses like protein and fiber while providing fewer carbs. Calorie count is not always lower, though, so if you are counting calories, take into consideration your overall intake for the day. A while ago, I decided to stop worrying about calorie count and, instead, focus on limiting sugar intake, preservatives, and unhealthy additives. Shifting focus to health on the ingredient level, as opposed to sole calorie observation. If you would like to learn more about benefits, this is a good read.
Cooking with Chickpea Pasta
Fast and efficient, chickpea pasta cooking is relatively similar to regular pasta. Since making the transition, the cooking water does tend to foam more (don’t turn your back on it), but if you add a few drops of olive oil to the pot and stir, the foam subsides. For this recipe, I cook the pasta until just before “al dente” since the remaining cook time will take place with the skillet veggies. Banza pasta is delicious, but difficult for us to restock during the pandemic (I guess everyone else has fallen in love, too?). Lately, we’ve turned to Barilla’s Rotini Chickpea Pasta and really enjoyed it. For those on specific diets, Barilla chickpea pasta it is Certified Gluten Free and Non-GMO.
Balsamic Summer Veggie Chickpea Pasta
- 1 box 8.8 ounces Barilla chickpea pasta
- 1 ½ cups sliced sweet bell peppers
- 1 large zucchini, chopped
- 16 ounces grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 large yellow squash
- ½ large yellow onion, diced
- ⅓ cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch black pepper freshly ground
- ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese or feta cheese freshly grated or crumbled
- In a skillet set over medium-high heat, cook 1 tbsp olive oil, yellow onion, and garlic until onion starts to become translucent.
- In a separate pot, cook chickpea pasta as directed on container.
- Add squash and zucchini. Cook for about 7 minutes or until the vegetables become tender.
- Add remaining vegetables (sweet bell pepper, sundried tomatoes), remaining olive oil, dried oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 7 minutes so the new vegetables become tender.
- Drain pasta just before it become al dente and add to skillet with remaining ingredients. Stir in balsamic vinegar and heat through, approximately 5 minutes. Add more salt or pepper, if desired.
- Serve warm, topped with cheese.
The majority of the time spent with this recipe is chopping vegetables. If you have a little helper, now might be a good time to solicit their services!
Optional: Play with ingredients that you love – artichoke hearts, different varieties of squash, heirloom tomatoes instead of grape – whatever your heart desires. If you have on hand, experiment with a little Italian seasoning instead of individual herbs. Whole wheat pasta also serves as a great substitute if you aren’t ready to try a non-grain pasta.
Dry grains and pasta absorb salt, so add less salt to the water when cooking than you would cooking vegetables. Always taste as you cook and make adjustments as necessary. Read more about what type of salt is best here.
I love how colorful this dish is with almost every color of the rainbow represented. The only downside to the addition of balsamic vinegar is how it mutes the color a bit. Worth it, though, for the depth of flavor.
Stay strong, get that protein, keep up the good work with social distancing, and until next time – cheers to your #hearthhealthhappiness!