Pasta and chickpeas? What a weird combination! I am sure many of you reading this post will have exactly the same question in mind. Well.. such recipes come up when you are greeted with a nearly empty fridge with just a few leftover sauces and cans of beans. But surprisingly, making dinner out of leftovers is so satisfying for so many reasons such as no pre-prep, out of the blue recipe ideas, unconventional flavors coming together and of course clutter free fridge.

The sauce for this pasta is made by combining marinara and pesto; two extremely flavorful sauces on their own but when combined together it is no less than a volcano of distinct flavors. However what takes this dish to another level is the addition of chickpeas sautéed in spices. Chickpeas not only give texture to this dish but also adds substance – both nutritionally, as they are rich in protein and fiber and flavor-wise, since they are quite nutty and earthy. The flavor of chickpeas is enhanced by sautéing them with fennel, mustard, paprika and other spices. Also if you have noticed in the picture, the cheese i have used is pepper jack and not the traditional parmesan which is usually sprinkled over such pastas. Yes.. you’ll guessed it right! I did not have Parmesan handy but I have to admit, pepper jack did it’s job quite well. It added a sharp and spicy edge with a perfect balance of creaminess.

Try making this pasta for your next dinner and I bet no meal can get this easier and healthier.


  • 10 oz penne pasta
  • 25 oz marinara sauce (click to refer the recipe or use store bought marinara)
  • 3/4 cup pesto (click to refer the recipe or use store bought pesto)
  • 1 can (14oz) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & pepper as per taste
  • pepper jack cheese for serving
  • basil leaves for serving


  • To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of olive oil to it. Add the pasta and boil until al dente.
  • Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add the chickpeas, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, onion powder, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika and salt to it. Toss everything together and cook the chickpeas for 5 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat once the chickpeas become a little crisp and golden in color. Set aside.
  • In another sauce pan, add the marinara sauce along with pesto, salt and pepper. Also add 1/4 cup water to it and simmer it for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the sauce is ready, fold the pasta in the prepared sauce. Reserve some sauce to top your pasta while serving.
  • Plate the pasta and top it with some sauce, pepper jack cheese and fresh basil leaves. Serve hot!



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