Behold your new favorite dinner: veggie pesto pasta with broccoli and chickpeas! This vegetarian dish is filling, quick, and absolutely delicious.
I’ve always been a fan of pesto – it’s so flavorful, but without being heavy. Plus, it’s easier to make at home than you might think!
Vegetarian Pesto Pasta
Pasta night is a tradition for a reason – all you need is a base of pasta, a couple veggies, a protein (beans or meat, you do you), and a sauce, and dinner is served!
This veggie pesto pasta is definitely something you’ll want to add to the rotation. The broccoli and chickpeas add a nice texture and flavor (plus nutrients!), and the walnut basil pesto is extra delicious.
Homemade pesto doesn’t have to be complicated, either! The pesto for this recipe only requires 5 ingredients and a food processor to make.
That said, if you have a store-bought pesto you love, feel free to use that as a shortcut to make this recipe even quicker!
To make this veggie pesto pasta, you’ll need:
- pasta (I used whole wheat farfalle here, but any kind should work)
- canned chickpeas
- fresh basil
- olive oil
- parmesan cheese
Pasta dishes – including this one – are super versatile, so feel free to switch up your veggies! Asparagus, bell pepper, mushrooms, and/or cauliflower would be yummy here, too.
And if you want to add some meat: ground turkey, rotisserie chicken, or chicken sausage would all be great options.
If you’re gluten-free, you can swap out the pasta for brown rice pasta or chickpea pasta.
How to Make Homemade Pesto Pasta
And now for the main event: how to make this tasty dish!
Start by making the sauce. (Feel free to skip this if you’re using store-bought pesto sauce).
In your food processor, combine basil leaves, garlic cloves, parmesan, walnuts, and olive oil (exact measurements are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post). Add a pinch of salt and pepper, then whirl away until smooth! Set aside for now.
Next, prepare pasta according to the package directions. Make sure you save about a half cup of pasta water when you drain it (you’ll need it later!).
Then, par-cook the broccoli so it’s somewhat tender.
To do this, place broccoli in a microwave-safe bowl with water, cover, and microwave for 2-3 minutes (or until just tender). Alternatively, you can roast the broccoli on a sheet pan at 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes, or until just tender.
If you only have frozen broccoli on hand, no worries – here’s how to roast frozen broccoli.
Next, heat a skillet to medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Pour in pesto sauce, and add 1/2 cup of the saved pasta water with a pinch of salt. Cook for a few minutes, until the liquid is reduced and saucy.
Add in the chickpeas and broccoli, and cook for another few minutes. Then, pour in the pasta and toss to coat evenly.
Serve topped with optional fresh basil and/or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. And enjoy!
(Pssst: If you have leftover pesto, store bought or homemade, on hand, try my Pesto Baked Salmon with Veggies next.)
You’ll find the full veggie pesto pasta recipe at the bottom of this post. It’s delicious on its own, but would also be great served alongside this vegan kale caesar salad!
What’s your favorite side to serve with pasta? Garlic bread, caesar salad, or something else? Let me know in the comments!
Don’t forget to check out my other mix and match pasta recipes:
Looking for more easy & tasty dinner ideas? Check these out:
- Zesty Italian Pasta Salad
- Peanut Sauce Stir Fry with Shrimp
- Tomato Garlic Pasta with Ground Turkey
- Lemon Dijon Sheet Pan Salmon Dinner
- Healthy Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole
- Sage Butter Pasta with Chicken Sausage
- Crockpot Mexican Chicken
- Saucy Chicken with Artichokes and Tomatoes
- Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
For The Pasta Base:
- 1 package whole wheat farfalle
- 1-2 cups broccoli florets
- 1 cup canned chickpeas
For The Sauce:
- 2 packed cups basil leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup walnut pieces
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Pinch of salt & pepper
- In a food processor, combine basil, garlic, parmesan, walnuts, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Process until smooth, then set aside.
- Prepare pasta according to the package directions. Make sure you save about a half cup of pasta water when you drain it.
- While waiting for the pasta to boil, par-cook the broccoli in the microwave. Place in a microwave-safe bowl with water, cover, and microwave for 2-3 minutes (or until just tender).
- Heat a skillet to medium heat and add olive oil. Pour in pesto sauce (from Step 1). Add 1/2 cup of the saved pasta water with a pinch of salt. Cook for 2-4 minutes, until the liquid is reduced and saucy.
- Add in the chickpeas and broccoli, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Then, pour in the pasta and toss to coat evenly.