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Creamy Chickpea Pasta (with spinach and rosemary)

Creamy chickpea pasta with spinach and rosemary is the ultimate weeknight dinner. It is a simple dish that comes together quickly, but oh, the flavors! Spaghetti noodles and baby spinach leaves wrapped in a creamy parmesan sauce and topped with roasted chickpeas… pure bliss! You just can’t go wrong with this recipe! 

You might want to check out another pasta dinner with a similar sauce: pasta primavera. It’s loaded with spring veggies like asparagus, peas, and cherry tomatoes.

creamy chickpea pasta in a bowl with fork.

Love easy pasta dinners? Here’s a delish pasta recipe with chickpeas. Pasta with chickpeas? Um, yes! The chickpeas add a warmth and nuttiness to the noodles that’s out of this world. There are other goodies in here that come together harmoniously to totally rock this dish:)

Here’s a lineup of the ingredients:

Ingredients

Note: exact amounts are mentioned in the recipe card further down.

  • Olive oil, extra virgin – good quality EVOO adds so much flavor and smoothness to pasta. There’s simply no skipping it!
  • Canned chickpeas – a can of chickpeas is a life saver, but you can use dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked until soft. Here’s a pressure cooker recipe for cooking chickpeas from scratch, if you’re interested. If you make a lot of recipes with chickpeas, it makes more sense money-wise, to cook your own.
  • Sea salt – salt enhances the flavors and makes everything taste better.
  • Black pepper, freshly ground – for a slight kick.
  • Red onion, chopped fine – while not strictly necessary in this recipe (you can skip them) they do add to the taste and help in building the flavor profile.
  • Garlic, chopped fine – who doesn’t like a little garlic in pasta?
  • Spinach, baby – adds a pop of green and some extra nutrition.
  • Rosemary, chopped – this fresh herb adds an unbeatable earthy flavor to the pasta. Don’t skip it. A little goes a long way.
  • Heavy cream and parmesan – the combination of cream and cheese make the pasta so smooth and creamy, duh! The parmesan especially saves it from tasting flat and boring.
  • Spaghettini noodles – spaghettini noodles are the same as regular spaghetti, except they are thinner and cook faster. Feel free to swap with any noodles you want – fettuccine, bucatini, linguine… your choice!
Labelled ingredients for chickpea pasta.

Instructions

Make the cream sauce

1. Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas. Keep a large pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chickpeas, sea salt and black pepper. Sauté until the chickpeas are slightly browned and crisped. When they start popping, take out half of them in a small bowl and set aside for garnishing the pasta later.

2. Add the onions and garlic and cook for a minute.

3. Add the spinach and rosemary and cook until the spinach wilts (about 2 minutes).

4. Add the cream and parmesan and cook for 2 minutes or until the parmesan melts in the cream.

Cook the pasta

1. Pour 7-8 cups tap water into a large pot and add one heaped tablespoon salt and a few drops cooking oil. Bring to a boil on full heat.

2. Add the spaghettini and stir to separate the noodles. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the noodles are al dente.

3. With a pair of large tongs or a spaghetti spoon, take out the noodles and put them directly in the cream sauce you prepared earlier. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the noodles have absorbed most of the sauce.

4. Top with the reserved chickpeas. Wait for 5 minutes to give the pasta a chance to cool down a bit, then serve warm.

Chickpea pasta with spinach in a plate with fork.

Recipe notes

  • After the noodles are cooked, there’s no need to drain them or rinse them in cold water. Draining the noodles is an extra step and not necessary here since you’re adding the cooked pasta immediately to the sauce. Sure, some of the pasta water will go into the sauce as you’re transferring them to the sauce, but this is good. The water is starchy and will help to thicken the sauce.
  • As the pasta cools, more of the sauce will get absorbed into it. This will concentrate the flavors and make it even tastier!
  • Leftover pasta can easily be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. Just heat it up in a microwave when you want to have it. I wouldn’t recommend freezing it as the base is a cream sauce.

Parmesan cheese and substitutions

Parmesan cheese is made with rennet, an animal enzyme. So, it’s not a vegetarian cheese. If that’s not a problem, great!

However, if you are looking for a 100% vegetarian pasta, here’s what you can do without compromising the taste. Simply look for a parmesan substitute cheese in your supermarket. Earth Island (no affiliate link), a brand that specializes in dairy free, vegan cheeses carries a parmesan style shredded cheese that is very close to the real thing.

Of course, it’s not real parmesan, but you’ll hardly notice the difference. I have tried it and it works!

Serving suggestions

Serve this creamy chickpea pasta with a fresh salad or soup. Here are a few recipes that work:

More pasta recipes

creamy chickpea pasta in a plate with a fork.

Creamy Chickpea Pasta

Saima Zaidi
Spaghetti noodles and baby spinach leaves wrapped in a creamy parmesan sauce and topped with roasted chickpeas… pure bliss!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 mins
20 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 737 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 big pan
  • 1 big saucepan or pot
  • 1 pair large tongs or spaghetti spoon

Ingredients
 
 

  • ¼ cup olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 small red onion chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped fine
  • 6 oz baby spinach bag
  • 1 tbsp rosemary chopped
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup parmesan pre-shredded
  • 12 oz spaghettini noodles

Instructions
 

Preparation

  • Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas and chop the onion, garlic, and rosemary.

Make the cream sauce

  • Drain and rinse the can of chickpeas. Keep a large pan on medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chickpeas, sea salt and black pepper. Sauté until the chickpeas are slightly browned and crisped. When they start popping, take out half of them in a small bowl and set aside for garnishing the pasta later.
  • Add the onions and garlic and cook for a minute.
  • Add the spinach and rosemary and cook until the spinach wilts (about 2 minutes). 
  • Add the cream and parmesan and cook for 2 minutes or until the parmesan melts in the cream.

Cook the pasta

  • Pour 7-8 cups tap water into a large pot, add one heaped tablespoon salt and a few drops cooking oil. Bring to a boil on full heat.
  • Add the spaghettini and stir to separate the noodles. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until the noodles are al dente.
  • With a pair of tongs or spaghetti spoon, take out the spaghettini and put it directly in the cream sauce you prepared earlier. Cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until the noodles have absorbed most of the sauce.
  • Top with the reserved chickpeas. Wait for 5 minutes to give the pasta a chance to cool down a bit, then serve warm.

Notes

  • After the noodles are cooked, there’s no need to drain them or rinse them in cold water. Draining the noodles is an extra step and not necessary here since you’re adding the cooked pasta immediately to the sauce.
  • Leftover pasta can easily be kept in a covered container in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. Just heat it up in a microwave when you want to have it. I wouldn’t recommend freezing it as the base is a cream sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 737kcalCarbohydrates: 71gProtein: 21gFat: 41gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 80mgSodium: 648mgPotassium: 559mgFiber: 4gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 5026IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 340mgIron: 3mg
Keyword creamy chickpea pasta, easy pasta dinner
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