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Chickpea-Spinach Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

Serves 4.


    Looking for proof that avocado has impressive chameleon capabilities in the kitchen? Here, it’s used to make a creamy pasta sauce without the deluge of saturated fat found in most cream-based sauces. Stirring in chickpeas and spinach only ups the nutritional ante of pasta night. You could also work in some cooked spring asparagus.


    Salt safely

    Lightly salting your pasta water adds flavour without making the noodles taste too salty. But only toss your salt into the pot after the water has come to a boil. This reduces the risk of the salt pitting your pots.


    Chickpea-Spinach Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce


    • 1/2 lb (225 g) whole grain or gluten-free fusilli or rotini pasta
    • 1 avocado
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) chili powder
    • 2 pinches of salt, plus extra for pasta water
    • 2 tsp (10 mL) grapeseed, extra-virgin olive, or camelina oil
    • 2 cups (500 mL) cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
    • 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped shallots
    • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
    • 4 cups (1 L) spinach, any tough ends trimmed
    • 2 cups (500 mL) cooked or canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed if using canned
    • 1/3 cup (80 mL) sliced fresh basil
    • Shaved or grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


    Per serving:

    • calories471
    • protein19g
    • fat13g
      • saturated fat2g
      • trans fat0g
    • carbohydrates78g
      • sugars7g
      • fibre11g
    • sodium193mg



    In large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, prepare pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup (125 mL) cooking liquid and drain.


    In blender or food processor, pureu0301e together avocado flesh, 1/4 cup (60 mL) reserved pasta cooking water, lemon juice, chili powder, and salt. Add extra pasta cooking water if needed to reach a creamy consistency.


    Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Place tomatoes, shallots, and garlic in skillet and heat until tomatoes have started to shrivel. Place spinach in pan and heat just until greens have slightly wilted. Stir in pasta, chickpeas, and avocado sauce; warm through.


    Serve pasta topped with basil, Parmesan (if using), and freshly cracked black pepper.



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    Going Pro

    Going Pro

    You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.