Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Pasta e Ceci (pasta with chickpeas) by Mia P. Manansala @MPMtheWriter

This is one of my favorite fast, healthy meals and would be a great addition for those of you who do Meatless Mondays or are trying to find vegetarian options that have protein. Despite its “healthy” designation, it’s also a great comfort food that relies on pantry ingredients and is fairly flexible.

Bowl of pasta e ceci

I first found out about this dish on
Smitten Kitchen and tweaked it to my tastes. Feel free to use the below recipe as a guideline and add or subtract ingredients as you like.


A couple glugs of olive oil

4 - 6 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed OR a few TBSP jarred minced garlic

6 TBSP tomato paste

1 cup small pasta (mini shells, ditalini, annelini, etc.)

1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed OR 1 - 2 cups of cooked chickpeas*

4 cups boiling water (I use my electric kettle, but it also works just fine with hot tap water)*

1 tsp salt, plus more to taste

Black pepper and/or red pepper flakes, to taste

A sprig of fresh rosemary (optional)


Heat the olive oil, garlic, and rosemary (if using) together in a medium-large (preferably heavy-bottomed) pot.

Cook until the garlic is very fragrant and golden, but not brown.

Add the tomato paste, salt, and pepper and let it cook for about 30 seconds, stirring well.

Add the chickpeas, pasta, and boiling water, and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pot if necessary.

Lower the heat and simmer until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce has reached your desired level of thickness, about 15 - 20 minutes.

Taste and adjust seasonings.


*For the pasta in the pictures, I’d made a big batch of chickpeas in my Instant Pot and used the cooking liquid to replace the water in the recipe. It gave the dish a wonderful boost of flavor, but you’re definitely not missing out if you just use plain water. I’m not sure how the liquid from canned chickpeas would work since I’ve never tried it. However, that liquid, called aquafaba, is a wonderful substitute for eggs for those of you following a vegan/egg-free diet. I used it as a back up when I was in the middle of a brownie recipe and realized I’d run out of eggs, and it turned out beautifully. 

Cast of characters: salt, olive oil, tomato paste, small pasta, chickpeas, jarred minced garlic, fresh rosemary

Add olive oil, garlic (I really, really love garlic), and rosemary to the pot

Add tomato paste, salt, and pepper and cook for about 30 seconds, stirring well

Add pasta and chickpeas, then stir together

Add water, stir mixture together, scraping the bottom of necessary, then simmer until pasta is cooked

Once your sauce has reached your desired consistency, taste and adjust seasonings. Serve in bowls with a drizzle of olive oil or sprinkle of cheese, if you want.


  1. Looks good! I like that it uses things I would have on hand.

    1. It's so perfect for times like this when I don't want to go to the grocery store if I don't have to, but need something decent to eat. I almost always have canned chickpeas, tomato paste/canned tomatoes, and various pasta shapes in my cabinets.

  2. Love meatless Monday 🥰

    1. I love eating meat but don't enjoy handling it, so recipes like this that are so flavorful I don't miss the meat make me happy :)

  3. Tasty stuff and so adaptable.
    I keep tomato paste on hand by spooning out TBS full and freezing them on a sheet. Then I pop them into a freezer bag and keep them until I need them.

    1. That's such a smart idea! The tiny cans of tomato paste are perfect for this dish, but lately I've been buying bigger cans since they're cheaper and I hate having them sit in my fridge until I can figure what else to do with them. Might have to try your trick.

  4. I love quick pasta dishes and this looks wonderful!

    1. Thanks, Tina! Pasta is my go-to dish since it's quick, cheap, and a great way to use up leftovers.