This easy avocado pesto pasta recipe with crispy garlic chickpeas is creamy, comforting, and packed with heart-healthy fats and protein. Vegan, nut-free, and easily made gluten-free.
This avocado pesto pasta is the first recipe I created for my cookbook Vegetarian Family Cookbook. I wanted something healthy, but comforting, and suitable for both vegetarians and vegans alike.
💚 Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Avocado makes a creamy pesto sauce that tastes decadent and indulgent (despite a lack of cheese!) but is in fact quite healthy.
- This avocado pasta dish has a pleasing contrast of textures thanks to the creamy pasta paired with crispy chickpeas.
- This dish only takes 25 minutes to throw together making it perfect for a busy weeknight or quick lunch.
- The flavor of this creamy green pasta has pleasant notes of garlic and basil (like any good pesto pasta would!).
- Avocado pesto pasta is packed with heart-healthy fats thanks to avocado and a good dose of protein and fiber thanks to chickpeas.
- Naturally vegan, dairy-free, vegetarian, nut-free, soy-free, and easily made gluten-free with the use of gluten-free pasta.
Pasta: I love to use fusilli or penne when serving to adults and elbow noodles or shells when serving to kids. You can use conventional pasta, gluten-free pasta, or even veggie-based noodles when making this recipe.
Chickpeas: Chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, crisp up quickly and easily in a skillet and act as almost croutons in this pasta recipe.
Olive oil: Olive oil shines in this recipe, so this is a good dish for using that higher-quality extra virgin olive oil you might have squirreled away.
Salt: A good quality sea salt or pink Himalayan salt works great in this dish.
Avocado: Avocados are used in a basil pesto to make it creamy and to easily cling to the pasta noodles. Use ripe avocados. You do not want avocados that are too green and unripe, nor do you want avocados that are too ripe and past their prime flavor. The avocados should give a little when squeezed and be a little soft.
Basil: Use fresh and vibrant basil leaves in this dish for the best results. Once you get the base recipe down pat, you can then venture to try other fresh herbs for a fun flavor twist.
Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice tastes best in this dish, but if you only have bottled that will get the job done.
Garlic: One simple garlic clove works well in the pesto itself, as most of the garlic flavor will be coming from the crispy garlic chickpeas.
Pepper: A slight pinch of pepper adds depth of flavor but no major heat.
Garlic powder: Tossing the chickpeas with garlic powder after they’ve been crisped up adds maximum garlic flavor to this pasta topper.
🥣 Serving Ideas
- For additional flavor, you can top this pasta with parmesan cheese. Use plant-based parmesan cheese if vegan and rennet-free parmesan cheese if vegetarian.
- For additional protein and crunch, you can sprinkle this dish with pine nuts or hemp seeds.
- To impress guests, top the pasta with this cherry tomato confit for a vibrant pop of color.
💭 Top Tips
- This vegan avocado pesto pasta can be made even healthier by using plant-based pasta made with beans or lentils or even zucchini noodles.
- You can turn this dish into a creamy avocado pesto pasta salad by refrigerating it for at least 4 hours, then serve it cold.
This pasta will keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve cold or reheat in a skillet over low heat until warm throughout.
🍝 More Delicious Pasta Recipes You Might Like
Avocado Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound pasta of choice any shape, gluten-free if necessary
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas rinsed, drained, patted dry
- 4 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt divided
- 2 ripe avocados peeled, and pit removed
- ¾ cup fresh basil leaves packed
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice fresh or bottled
- 1 garlic clove minced
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder for the chickpeas
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a skillet over medium-high heat, add the chickpeas, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Mix well, then cover the chickpeas and allow them to cook while you prepare the sauce, about 6-9 minutes.
- While the chickpeas are cooking, add the avocados, basil, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the black pepper to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Give the chickpeas a stir. Once golden and crispy, turn off the heat, then toss them with the garlic powder.
- When the pasta is cooked, toss it with the avocado pesto sauce, then top with crispy chickpeas before serving.