Green Gem Chickpea Pasta Primavera x Banza
This plant-based Alfredo sauce transforms the basic pasta dinner into a delicious bowl of feel-good food. Just add some chickpea pasta and veggies!
As much as I like creating gourmet fancy schmancy recipes, keeping it simple always works in my favor. And just because it’s simple doesn’t make it boring. Simple can be about balancing flavors and textures to allow the fresh ingredients to shine.
My most favorite pasta is Banza chickpea pasta, which has 2x the protein, 3x the fiber, and 30% fewer net carbs than the regular durum wheat pastas. It's not gummy like other gluten-free pastas so that you won't end up with a gluey mess. Honestly, that hasn’t happened to me using Banza as it has with other types of gluten-free pasta brands. I’m not avoiding gluten personally, I just happen to really love Banza’s chickpea pastas.
You can add this Alfredo sauce to the Banza pasta of your choice-- Gemelli shape works great for this dish-- with sauteed zucchini and fresh peas for a relaxed no-stress family dinner.
The great thing about chickpea pasta is that you don't get that heavy feeling afterward. Oh, you know that feeling. You overate, your belly is bloated, and even the idea of sitting on the couch to Netflix and chill feels like it’s a lot to do. Ugh, not good. You won’t get that feeling with chickpea pasta.
Bye, bloated belly! Hello, chickpea pasta!
If your kids are picky about eating healthy (or anyone else you know) they won't notice how healthy this is because the sauce is super creamy. Maybe you won't notice how healthy it is either, because who can resist a rich-tasting cream sauce?
If you make the Alfredo sauce ahead of time, all you'll need to do is sauté the zucchini, cook the pasta and peas, and warm up the Alfredo for saucing. Top with fresh basil and some vegan parmesan (optional), and you've got a delicious dinner.
Instead of ordering out and eating a regretfully mediocre meal, make a few of these ingredients ahead to assemble a quick and nourishing dish without fuss.
“Green Gem” Chickpea Pasta Primavera
This plant-based vegan Alfredo sauce works for any pasta of your choice, but here I’m using Banza chickpea pasta in their new “gemelli” shape.
8 oz (1 box) Banza “gemelli” pasta
1/4 cup vegan butter
1 medium onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine or veggie broth
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon flour (gluten-free optional)
1/2 cup cashew cream* (recipe below)
1 cup unsweetened, plain non-dairy milk, unsweetened
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 pint fresh peas, cooked
2 zucchini, halved & sliced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade (ribbon cut)
1 small lemon, zest
1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
One day before:
Make ahead: Alfredo sauce and store in jar in fridge.
Prep ahead: halve & slice two zucchini. Store in container in the fridge.
1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
2 1/2 cups water
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
Soak cashews for 2 hours or overnight. To speed softening: soak in hot water.
Drain soaking water and add the drained cashews to 1/2 cup water, lemon juice and sea salt to a high-speed blender.
Blend on high speed until completely smooth.
Vegan Alfredo Sauce:
Heat a big saucepan over medium heat. Add vegan butter to melt. When the butter melts, add onion. Allow onion to cook for 8 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently so as not to burn the onion and garlic.
Add a splash of white wine (or veggie broth) to deglaze the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes to cook down.
Reduce heat to low. Add a little arrowroot powder, and a spoonful of flour to the pan, whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes.
Add a little cashew cream. Stir. Add a little non-dairy milk. Stir. Continue to add to the pan.
Cook the butter/milk mixture for 2-3 minutes, whisking almost constantly.
Add nutritional yeast, sea salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and turn off the heat.
Pour the sauce mixture into a high-speed blender and purée until the sauce is velvety smooth.
Pasta & Veggies:
Put a large pot of salted water on stove at medium-high heat and bring to boil. Add the Banza pasta and cook as directed on the box.
In a wide saucepan or skillet, add a little olive oil and zucchini slices and sauté. Add a pinch of sea salt and stir. Once lightly cooked, cover and turn off flame.
In a small saucepan, add about 1 cup of water and cook the peas until just tender— don’t overcook. Drain. Transfer back to the pot and add a little vegan butter.
In another little pot, warm the Alfredo sauce on low heat, stirring it occasionally.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and toss with a little olive oil or vegan butter.
Add the pasta to a large clean pot and ladle in the warmed Alfredo sauce, gently stirring to mix all over the pasta. Continue to add sauce until the pasta is evenly coated.
Sprinkle on some extra nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan, lemon zest and grated black pepper. Mix to incorporate evenly.
Add the sautéed zucchini and cooked peas on top of the pasta and serve in bowls. Garnish with basil leaves.