We absolutely adore the vibrant flavors of classic basil pesto, but we also enjoy exploring other tasty variations, such as this Pasta with Chickpea & Mushroom Pesto. This culinary gem is made with aromatic basil, hearty mushrooms, protein-rich chickpeas, and rich, buttery pine nuts. It is a delightful twist of the classic recipe that will undoubtedly elevate your pasta dishes to unparalleled levels of deliciousness!
Mushrooms, chickpeas, and pine nuts are excellent sources of plant protein, making them a perfect addition to a healthy diet. To add an even more significant boost of protein you might want to serve the pesto over chickpea pasta.
Feel free to swap out the pine nuts for more affordable alternatives like walnuts or cashews, which will still provide a creamy texture. In case of nut allergies, pumpkin or sunflower seeds can be a suitable and delicious substitute. Enjoy experimenting with different flavors and textures!
Here’s a trick if you want to keep your basil looking bright green and vibrant. Start by boiling some water and then quickly dunk your basil for just a minute. After that, take it out and immediately place it it into a bowl of icy water to stop it from cooking. Blanching the basil prevents it from oxidizing and turning brown when it gets chopped, and helps it keep that lovely color. Oh, and by the way, this tip is also great if you want to save some extra basil by freezing it for later use.
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Pasta with Chickpea & Mushroom Pesto
- ¼ cup olive oil divided
- 3 cups mushrooms sliced
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 4 tablespoons pine nuts walnuts, or cashews
- 1 teaspoons lemon zest
- salt & pepper to taste
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast optional
- 1 lb pasta
- In a dry pan toast the pine nuts until they begin to turn golden and fragrant. This will take 1-2 minutes. Don’t walk away from the pan, the nuts can burn very quickly. Reserve about 1 tablespoon for sprinkling on top of the pasta, and add the remaining pine nuts to the bowl of your food processor and set aside.
- Slice the mushrooms and saute them in a tablespoon of olive oil, over medium high heat, until all of their liquid evaporates.
- Add the chopped garlic and saute for another minute.
- Reserve about a quarter of the mixture for topping the pasta, and add the remaining cooked mushrooms and garlic along with the basil, chickpeas, and lemon zest to the pine nuts in the food processor. While the processor is running drizzle in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil.
- Add the nutritional yeast and red pepper, if you are using it, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss with your favorite pasta and top with the reserved mushrooms and toasted nuts.