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pasta with sumac chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes and creamy mint-tahini sauce
by Jackie Newgent | July 19, 2021 | 2 Comments
My newest, really tasty, delightfully messy, totally comforting obsession is this pasta with sumac chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes and creamy mint-tahini sauce! It’s got plenty of creaminess with a variety of colors and textures. And it’s full of Mediterranean flavors. I find it kind of addictive (in a healthy way, of course)!
The mint-tahini sauce
The velvety sauce is pure joy. The tahini provides the creamy base and the sesame flair. Fresh mint adds the key flavor while give the sauce a hint of greenness. Just be patient when you’re blending the sauce to allow the mint to breakdown and give the sauce that touch of color. And rather than watering the sauce down, I use peppermint tea to help create sauciness while enhancing the minty taste. You can use other tea if you don’t have peppermint tea, by the way.
You can use whatever your favorite pasta is—or one that’s just right for your eating style. To make the pasta, I suggest lid-cooking it. I’ve been making pasta in this climate-friendly style to save energy for well over a decade! All you do is stir the pasta into a pot of boiling (salted) water. Bring it back to a boil. Cover it with lid and remove from heat. Let “lid-cook” (cook without energy) for the exact time suggested on the package. That’s it! It’s perfect pasta like 99.9% of the time.
The sauteed chickpeas and veggies
To complete the pasta with extra nutritiousness, you’ll sauté up chickpeas, cherry or grape tomatoes, and baby spinach. The sprinkling of sumac (a tart, deep red spice) gives it Middle Eastern appeal. If you don’t have sumac, simply use paprika.
The optional toppings
This pasta is delicious without the optional toppings. But they do make it extra delicious. Harissa provides a pop of color and pepperiness. Mint adds a punch of freshness and aroma. Toasted pine nuts give the pasta crunch and, of course, nuttiness. And lemon zest offers a citrusy zip. So, if you can, go for all four toppings!
To save time
Since there are a few steps to this pasta with sumac chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes and creamy mint-tahini sauce recipe, you can make the sauce in advance to save time. If chilled, bring it out of the fridge when you begin preparing the rest of the recipe. You can make the pasta in advance in you want, too. Be sure to toss it with a little olive oil so it doesn’t stick.
Altogether, this pasta recipe is a scrumptious one-dish meal. No sides are required! And if you’ve got leftovers, you can easily reheat this. For each serving, just stir in a tablespoon of peppermint tea and heat in a skillet or microwave until steamy. Or, if you prefer, transform this into a pasta salad by just tossing with a few squirts of lemon juice. It’s delicious any which way you serve up this pasta with sumac chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes and creamy mint-tahini sauce!
My newest, really tasty, sorta messy, totally comforting obsession is this pasta with sumac chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes and creamy mint-tahini sauce! It’s got plenty of creaminess with a variety of colors and textures. And it’s full of Mediterranean flavors. I find it kind of addictive (in a healthy way, of course)!
1/3 cup (85 grams) tahini
1/3 cup (78 milliliters) unsweetened peppermint tea or green tea
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup packed (5 grams) fresh mint leaves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 ounces (227 grams) dry pasta of choice (ideally whole grain or organic)
Sautéed chickpeas and veggies
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 (15-ounce/425 gram) can low-sodium chickpeas, well-drained and patted dry
1 garlic clove, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground sumac or paprika
6 1/2 ounces (185 grams) small cherry or grape tomatoes (about 20)
Make the minty tahini sauce: Add all ingredients to a blender and purée until the sauce is velvety smooth, about 5 minutes on high speed. Set aside. (Makes about 3/4 cup sauce.)
Make the pasta: Prepare the pasta in (salted) water per package directions until al dente. Alternatively, lid-cook* the pasta.
Make the sautéed chickpeas and veggies: While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in an extra-large cast iron or other stick-resistant skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sumac and cook while stirring until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and sauté until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt.
Complete the recipe: Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Transfer the pasta back into the dry pot over medium heat. Add the minty tahini sauce and desired amount of reserved pasta cooking liquid and toss to coat and heat the sauce, about 1 minute. Transfer the saucy pasta to a serving bowl or platter and top with the sautéed chickpeas and veggies and optional toppings of choice (I recommend all of them!).
*How to lid-cook pasta to save energy: Stir pasta into pot of boiling (salted) water. Bring back to a boil. Cover with lid and remove from heat. Let “lid-cook” (cook without energy) for the exact time suggested on the package. That’s it!
Looking for other plant-based pasta recipes? Try my plant-based pesto pasta salad with grilled grape tomatoes (see recipe HERE), creamy vegan pumpkin pasta “alfredo” (see recipe HERE), and red lentil pasta with vegan basil-pistachio pesto (see recipe HERE).