Monday, August 10, 2009

Whole Wheat Pasta with Spinach, Chickpea and Walnut Pesto

Today I was in a funky mood. I didn’t feel like cooking or doing much of anything. Needless to say I still had to make dinner. This is one of those dinners that comes out of what I have on hand. I discovered that chickpeas in pesto work surprisingly well. I will use that trick from now on. I also like the thickness the tofu sour cream added to the sauce.

Dinner tonight was pasta because it is fast, and easy to eat. I added the chickpeas to increase the fiber, protein and calories. The raw spinach was added for nutrition. Leafy greens are something I don’t think any of us eat enough of. The garlic and rosemary were both added for their ability to fight cancer. Lemon was included because I love lemon and like to add it to pesto even though it isn’t traditional. Tofu sour cream was added because I only had a few tablespoons left from this weekend and I though it would add creaminess to the sauce, and it worked. If we had more tofu sour cream on hand I may have added as much as ½ cup to the sauce.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Spinach, Chickpea and Walnut Pesto
Serves 6


6 quarts of water
½ tablespoon of kosher salt
19 ounces of whole wheat rotini
6 cups of raw spinach
1/3 cup of walnuts, toasted
½ cup of cooked chickpeas
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary leaves (stripped from its stem)
juice of ½ lemon
¼ cup of tofu sour cream
kosher salt and pepper to taste
walnuts, roughly chopped for garnish – optional
extra virgin olive oil, for serving - optional


Bring water to a boil and add kosher salt. Add pasta to the boiling water and stir vigorously for 30 seconds to keep pasta from sticking together. Cook according to package directions and then drain.

While pasta is cooking add remaining ingredients to you food processor and process until everything is smooth and combined. This will take about a minute.

Toss hot pasta with sauce in a large bowl. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Serve immediately. You can garnish with chopped walnuts and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil if desired. Both of these garnishes will increase the fat percentage, but will be quite yummy.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 444.36
Calories From Fat (15%) - 66.22

Total Fat - 7.77g
Saturated Fat - 0.52g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 113.65mg
Potassium - 257.98mg
Total Carbohydrates - 81.8g
Fiber - 13.06g
Sugar - 4.19g
Protein - 16.06g


I was quite pleased with the overall fat percentage of this recipe. This pasta dish was filling and tasty. If you aren’t watching you fat as closely as we are I would suggest you add a couple of tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the sauce. Olive oil would add a great flavor and nice mouth feel to this dish. This dish can be eaten tomorrow for lunch either hot or cold.

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