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Pasta with Kale, Roasted Chickpeas and Pecorino Romano

Man I miss the days we used to eat a lot of pasta. I got really good at scrapping together recipes according to what I happened to have on hand – whatever meat, whatever (Italian) cheese, whatever veggies, it all worked. I was raised on big bowls of rotini after cold sports practices and it seems to have become ingrained in me. Now, when I squeak out enough “Rich” leftovers that he’s covered, I’ll make the kids and I some pasta and reminisce on the good ol’ days. 

This particular recipe takes just a teensy bit of extra work in that you have to oven-roast the chickpeas, but they add a ton of (meat-free) protein and if you haven’t roasted chickpeas at home and devoured whole cans at a time, there’s no time like the present. They don’t stay crunchy, which is why (besides how outlandishly addicting they are) you need to eat them all the first day you make them. 

Anyway –  pasta, like soup, is a great way to get greens into your kids. I find that baby kale still tastes like kale (but I like kale) while baby spinach tastes like nothing. If you’re kids will fuss about the kale, use spinach. Yes, 10 oz is a lot. It cooks down to nada. 

Pasta water blends with cheese and olive oil to make a nice sauce. The lemon brightens it and works well with the kale – overall this is a big bowl of healthy happiness. Come on, let’s bring pasta back. 

Pasta with Kale, Roasted Chickpeas and Pecorino Romano

Serves 4-6


2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

3 tbsp. olive oil 

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. black pepper


1 lb. whole wheat pasta 

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 c. pasta water, reserved from pasta cooking

1/4 c. olive oil, divided

1 onion, diced

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

10 oz. baby kale or spinach

1 lemon, juiced

1/4 c. grated pecorino romano 

salt and pepper to taste

1. To roast chickpeas, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dry chickpeas well and spread on baking sweet. Top with oil and spices/salt and stir to coat. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until deep golden brown. 

2. Bring pasta water to boil and add 2 tsp. salt. Cook pasta as per directions on box – reserve 1 c. pasta liquid and drain pasta.

3. Meanwhile in a skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and saute, stirring occasionally, 5-8 min. or until soft and starting to turn golden.

4. Add greens and lower heat to medium. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Saute, stirring, until wilted, about five minutes. 

5. Add pasta to skillet along with about a half c. of the pasta water, lemon juice and cheese. Stir to coat and reduce heat to medium low. Let cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. Add remaining two tbsp. olive oil and stir. Salt and pepper to taste. Stir desired amount of chickpeas into pasta or plate pasta, topping with a generous handful of chickpeas and more cheese.