Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
Is there anything more comforting than pasta with chickpeas? A healthy, weeknight pasta e ceci ricetta featuring ditalini pasta with garbanzo beans in a nourishing tomato broth. Vegetarian and easily vegan.
It’s soup season! Which, to me, is the best kind of season. This time of year, soup is my go-to dinner meal. It’s easy to throw together and very forgiving to ingredient swaps. If you love soup as much as I do, then you’ll want to put this Pasta e Ceci soup on your must-make list– along with my other popular soup recipes like my lemon chickpea soup, my Tuscan kale soup, chickpea noodle soup, and red lentil soup.
Growing up, we ate Pasta e Ceci (aka pasta and chickpeas) often! Similar to my grandmother’s Pasta e Fagioli, pasta e ceci was the perfect meal to feed a hungry family– it’s economical and uses mostly pantry ingredients. My kinda meal!
Here’s how to make it.
For the full list of ingredients and instructions, scroll down to the recipe card!
I’ve added a few more vegetables to my family’s traditional recipe, but I think it makes it even better– and contains more fiber! Plus, my son is much more likely to eat vegetables in a soup when combined with both pasta and beans.
I always like to finish my soups with a touch of acid, in this case I use red wine vinegar to help balance the rich tomato sauce and brighten the beans. Parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley are a fantastic garnish on top!
As I mentioned above, my family’s version of pasta e ceci does not contain leafy greens. However, I love adding kale to my soups (I’ve got 15 Healthy Kale Soup Recipes here!) and find that the hearty greens pair perfectly with the chickpeas and pasta. You can omit!
Whole tomatoes are my go-to choice here, as is the case with most of my tomato soup and tomato sauce recipes, as I find they have more flavor than diced. However, you can substitute crushed or even tomato sauce for the canned whole tomatoes. Tomato paste can also be substituted, though you only need a few tablespoons and won’t get the same texture as using the whole tomatoes. It still works and I’ve done it in a pinch!
I almost always use dried herbs as that’s what I have in my house this time of year, but fresh herbs also work! Like in my heathy pasta fagioli recipe, a rosemary sprig simmered with the broth (and then removed before serving) adds a lovely aroma to the entire soup.
Ditalini pasta is my go-to shape, but it can be harder to find depending on your grocery store. Another small pasta shape, like a macaroni, also works.
Like many of my soup recipes, this soup is naturally vegan! (And most pasta is vegan too— more on that here).
Dairy-free parmesan can be added on top, or skipped all together depending on preference. My favorite vegan parmesan cheese brand is Violife, or you can make your own using my homemade vegan parmesan cheese recipe.
They key in transforming pasta with garbanzo beans into true pasta e ceci is the texture of the broth. To get the rich, hearty stew taste without any cream is to mash some of the chickpeas into the soup. I usually do this with the back of my wooden spoon, but you can also use a potato masher.
Take care not to mash ALL of the chickpeas– I usually do about 1/3 as I prefer a little more brothy pasta e ceci but up to you. You can also use an immersion blender, but take care not to puree too many of the beans.
Dried and cooked chickpeas can work great in this recipe– and provide even more of the silky texture that you want for the broth, but I use canned chickpeas 98% of the time. With two young kids, I usually need dinner on the table pronto and don’t always have the foresight to soak and cook dried beans first. Don’t worry– canned chickpeas taste fantastic in this recipe!
The pasta will continue to soak up the liquid of the soup as it sits, so if you plan on making this ahead of time then I recommend making the chickpeas without the pasta, then adding cooked pasta in before serving. If the pasta with chickpeas become too thick for your liking, thin it with a little broth before serving.
I can’t wait for you to try this dish! It’s incredibly delicious, nourishing and a one-pot dinner. Does it get any better than that?
Serve leftover pasta with garbanzo beans in an airtight contain for a day or so (note above on how the pasta e ceci with thicken significantly upon standing) or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Pasta e ceci ricetta literally means pasta with chickpeas recipe– simple, Italian comfort food that will soon become a staple in your kitchen. If you love pasta fagioli, then you’ll love this chickpeas and pasta version.
If you try this recipe, make sure to come back to rate it and leave a comment. Your feedback helps other readers and seeing you make my recipes makes my day!Print
Is there anything more comforting than pasta with chickpeas? A healthy, weeknight soup featuring ditalini pasta with garbanzo beans in a nourishing tomato broth. Vegetarian and easily vegan.
*Ditalini pasta is my favorite here, but elbows or other small noodle.
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Made this for the first time last week and even my soup-hesitant husband was a fan. I mean..pasta and tomatoes, what’s not to like! Looked forward to my lunch leftovers all week, so I made it again today for easy lunches. Added carrots this time cause I had them in the fridge which neither harmed nor enhanced it but at least my carrots didn’t go to waste lol. Excited to have this recipe in the rotation.