Lemony Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas

pasta with broccoli and chickpeas

During a recent visit with my dad and stepmom a few weeks back, I found myself in the kitchen frequently, either cooking up the bulk of the dinner meal or making some healthy sweet treats for snacking or for dessert. Although my family enjoys spicy food, it does not figure frequently on the menu as it does on mine, so after making spicy chickpeas in a tomato coconut sauce with spinach that everyone enjoyed, I nonetheless decided to go with something less spicy and closer to the sort of fare my dad and stepmom would be more inclined to appreciate.

Another reason I took over the bulk of the supper planning and prep was not only to move around but also because my dad and stepmom do not follow a vegetarian diet. That is not to say they don't enjoy and serve vegetarian meals, but it can be a challenge when you are spending over 2 weeks with a rather fussy vegetarian.

Staring at 5 feet high snow banks at the beginning of April had me craving comfort too. Dad's house is located just a few hours north of Toronto and about 4 hours from London, and although it has been a tough winter all across the province, they were hit especially hard with lots of snow and brutally cold temperatures. Not that a spicy dish Indian meal doesn't speak comfort to me, because it absolutely does and it's my specialty, but I do enjoy different types of cuisines, foods and preparations. Exploring keeps me on my toes in the kitchen.

pasta with broccoli and chickpeas

I was quite pleased with this easy dish as were my dad and stepmom. I think it would make for a fine summer meal and it's quite portable if you happen to be taking food over to a friends or are attending a potluck. I kept the spicing minimal to allow the earthy flavor of the broccoli to come through along with the zesty fresh lemon juice. I do think it would work well with cauliflower too, with some dried herbs to enhance the flavor of the pasta and vegetable.

This dish can be served chilled or at room temperature much like a pasta salad, but I suggest when you first make it to serve it warm, especially if you are adding some crumbled goat cheese or fresh grated Parmesan cheese as a garnish. It can easily be reheated at a low temperature the next day too. I served it up with some rich sour cream and yogurt mini biscuits on the side for a filling and satisfying meal.

lemony pasta with broccoli and chickpeas

Lemony Pasta with Broccoli and ChickpeasLemony Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas
Recipe by
Published on April 9, 2014

Simple, nourishing and zesty warm broccoli, chickpea and pasta salad finished with a refreshing lemon tang — terrific served warm, at room temperature or cold as a meal or as a salad

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

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  • 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 14 oz can)
  • 1 lb (450 g) broccoli, florets and stems separated
  • 1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or more as needed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 cups fusilli or small rotini pasta
  • juice from 1 lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • sea salt to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • crumbled goat cheese or fresh grated Parmesan for garnish (optional)
  • Rinse the chickpeas and soak in enough water to cover for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, then transfer to a medium saucepan and cover with fresh water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the beans are tender — about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain and set aside.

  • Meanwile, peel the broccoli stems and dice. Roughly separate the broccoli florets. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then drain, chop, and set aside.

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli stems and boil for 5 minutes, until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl. Now add the florets to the water and boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon into a strainer and rinse with cold water. Cut the florets into bite-size pieces.

  • In the same pot, add some salt and add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook according to package instructions until al dente.

  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-heat. When hot, add the garlic and jalapeño, and stir for a few minutes. Now add the red pepper flakes and ground spices, stir for 30 seconds, and then add the sun-dried tomatoes. Stir for another minute, then add the broccoli stems and florets and stir well to combine, making sure that the vegetables are coated with oil. Cook for another minute or two, then stir in the chickpeas and season with salt.

  • When the pasta is done, add a ladle full of the cooking liquid to the broccoli and stir. Drain the pasta and stir into the broccoli mixture along with the lemon juice and some more olive oil to coat further if desired.

  • Season warm or at room temperature with more salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste. Garnish with crumbled goat cheese or fresh grated Parmesan cheese if desired.

  • Refrigerate leftovers and serve at room temperature or cold as a salad.

Makes 6 servings

Lemony Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas

Other vegetarian pasta dishes you may enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Indian-Style Macaroni and Paneer Cheese with Spinach
Asparagus Pesto Lasagna with Mushrooms
Pasta and Goat Cheese Casserole with Black Olives


Joanne said...

I always cook when I'm at home for exactly that reason! Otherwise I'll end up eating totally bland blah food...and what's the point in that? This sounds like a great pasta dish, amenable to both veg and non-veg palates!

Lisa Turner said...

My stepmom is a good cook for sure, but I need the balance that beans bring to a meal. I am rather fussy I suppose, and that extends to ingredients used in food too. Besides, I like to cook and it made things easier for everyone with me doing most of the cooking that last week I was up visiting.

ManjiriK said...

Really like the idea of a lemony pasta and I love Broccoli and chickpeas both. Thanks for linking to the #PastaPLease challenge Lisa!