People tend to avoid eating dried legumes during summer but combining them with pasta we have a delicious, vegan, summer dish not only full of flavor and taste but also rich in protein, fiber, carbohydrates and vitamins. The only fat in the dish is the olive oil, which makes it a very healthy dish. Leftovers are even better the following day and the pasta can even be eaten cold as a salad.
By roasting the cherry tomatoes they become even sweeter. The chickpeas add body to the dish, the gherkins add a crunch and the pesto and roasted garlic more flavour. The capers balance the sweet taste of the tomatoes making this dish irresistible. The preparation can be done beforehand, even two or three days before. I usually cook more chickpeas and keep some in the deep freezer, for days when I am really busy and want a quick but nutritious meal. Of course, if you use canned chickpeas then the cooking time is also much less. Another trick is to roast cherry tomatoes and preserve them. You then put them in clean, sterilized jars, fill them with olive oil and keep them for a very long time in the refrigerator. I do the same with roasted garlic. The olive oil is a natural preservative, so be sure to replace it if you use some and always keep them covered with olive. If you do not want to roast garlic just add a few cloves in the pan when roasting the cherry tomatoes. This way the next time you make your pasta dish you will not need more than 20 minutes. If, however, you decide to do everything from scratch, you will need about an hour and thirty minutes, provided you cook everything simultaneously.
Penne with Chickpeas and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: about 1 hour and 30 minutes
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt, pepper, oregano
- 200 grams of cooked chickpeas
- 250 grams whole-wheat penne
2 roasted garlic cloves
1 tbsp capers
- 2 gherkins, cut into slices
- 10 green olives, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp mint or other pesto of your choice
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Pre-cooking some of the ingredients:
Soak the chickpeas from the evening. Bring to a boil and skim them. Change the water and when they begin boiling, add salt and simmer covered until soft. (If you do this in advance, let them cool, put them in a bowl with a lid and refrigerate. If you cook a larger batch you can store them in zip lock bags in the deep freezer).
While the chickpeas are cooking, wash the tomatoes, cut them in half, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, pepper and oregano, (add garlic as well) add the olive oil and bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° C for half an hour. (When they cool, you can keep them in the refrigerator).
Boil the penne in salted water for 15 minutes or according to package instructions. (If they are cooked ahead, after the draining them, add some olive oil and mix to coat them. That will prevent them from sticking together. Store covered, in the fridge).
I store leftover pesto in the deep freezer. You can either put it in ice cubes or in small bowls. You can cut it easily without thawing and when you add it to the hot pasta, it will melt in a few minutes.
As regards roasted garlic, I always have some in my fridge.
Preparing the dish:
- Add a tablespoon olive oil from the roasted garlic and mash the garlic in the frying pan. Roast for a couple of minutes and then add the cooked pasta and roasted tomatoes with some of its juice as well as the chickpeas and stir until heated.
- Finally mix in the pesto, capers, pickled gherkins and parsley.
- Taste and if necessary add a little salt.
- Serve with freshly grated black pepper on top.
You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.
Other relevant recipes:
Penne with Grilled Vegetables
Penne with Mushrooms and Marinara Sauce
Penne with Seafood Medley
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,