Pasta with Kale and Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas) | Recipe

Light and refreshing, Chickpea & Kale Pasta contains no dairy OR tomato sauce (only a dab or two of tomato paste). Olive oil and seasonings allow the pan-fried chickpeas and kale to shine in this dish.

Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) contain a plethora of nutritional benefits, including protein, fiber, Vitamin K, calcium and iron. Chickpeas are particularly desirable in that they contain carbohydrates, protein and fiber — which means they actually fill you up while giving your body a boost of nutrients. More on chickpeas here.

Kale, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is a superfood. It contains your daily supply of Vitamins A, K, C and B6. Not to mention, as a dark leafy green, it’s great for your gut and your skin. If this pasta recipe isn’t enough to convince you kale is not the enemy, read up on the full benefits of kale here.

This Chickpea & Kale pasta is nearly a one pot meal, not counting the pot used to cook the pasta. The dish comes together easily and makes enough to serve 2 people as a main course. I recommend serving with a side of mixed greens for a complete meal!

Though dairy-free, this pasta does not lack flavor. Nutritional Yeast (parmesan cheese can be used as a dairy-ful substitute) lends its cheesy flavor and chickpeas their creamy texture balanced by the brightness of lemon zest and the fresh green of kale.


  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced.
  • 1 small can chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as needed.
  • 2 1/2 cup dried pasta (I used shells).
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more as needed.
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary.
  • 1 tablespoon Nutritional Yeast OR Parmesan cheese.
  • 3 cups tightly packed kale, trimmed and de-ribbed*.
  • 2 teaspoon tomato paste.*
  • 1 heaping teaspoon capers.
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (optional).
  • For garnish:
  • Fresh lemon zest.
  • Nutritional Yeast OR Parmesan cheese.
  • Red pepper flakes.


1. Fill a pot with water for the pasta. Add a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Cover and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, proceed with the steps below. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package directions. If you are concerned about multitasking: Cook the pasta first, let it drain, toss in a drizzle of olive oil and set it aside until you are done with the steps listed below. As long as you coat the cooked pasta completely with oil, it won’t stick!

2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. In a large heavy bottomed skillet (cast iron is best), coat with olive oil over medium heat and add chopped garlic. Heat. Add to chickpeas to pan with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary. Lower heat to medium low.

3. Cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast or Parmesan Cheese. Cook 3 more minutes. Transfer chickpeas and garlic to a plate and set aside. Leave the pan on the stove over low heat (don’t clean it yet).

4. Whisk tomato paste with 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small bowl. Break up most of the tomato paste, but it does not need to be perfectly smooth. Some chunks are okay. Using the cast iron pan, add tomato paste mixture along with kale and hot sauce (if desired).

6. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until kale is wilted and brighter in color.

7. Add chickpeas and pasta to the cast iron with the kale. Add capers, 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary and black pepper along with 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix to combine. Cook until heated through, about 3-5 minutes.

8. Serve with fresh lemon zest, a sprinkle of Nutritional Yeast or Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.

Serves 2 as a main course.


*KALE: I used Kale for Cooking from Trader Joe’s. I like using this because it’s prechopped and prepackaged. It requires minimal effort, just some picking out of larger stems. However, you are welcome to use any kale you choose, just don’t forget to wash and derib before adding to recipe. For a complete tutorial on deribbing kale, click here.

*TOMATO PASTE: You definitely won’t use an entire can of tomato paste in this recipe. I recommend buying the tomato paste that comes in a tube, since it’s easier to store and use as needed. Or, use this simple hack: Empty out an ice cube tray. Scoop tomato paste into ice cube tray. Freeze overnight. Break tomato paste out of ice cube tray and store in a plastic bag in the freezer until ready to use. You’ll never waste your tomato paste again!

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