Chickpea Pasta Sauce

This is one of the best uses of chickpeas I have ever come across. I adapted it from a recipe my mother clipped from The London Free Press at least 30 years ago, credited to writer Morris Lamont. One critical note to start: do not drain the chickpeas!

Chickpea Pasta Sauce

There's not meat or dairy, but the chickpeas still manage to make rich, delicious, and hearty pasta sauce.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Keyword: Pasta, Supper
Servings: 4 servings


  • Blender


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsbp butter See Notes, below.
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced, or 1 ½ tsp jarred minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, or more to taste See Notes, below.
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 540-mL no-salt-added chickpeas, undrained
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 pound uncooked pasta, like penne or rotini
  • tomatoes, chopped, for garnish
  • freshly ground pepper


  • Heat oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  (In the meantime, heat water in a large pot to cook pasta.)
  • Add onion, garlic, and rosemary and saute for a couple of minutes until the onion starts to soften. 
  • Add tomato paste, chickpeas and their liquid, and salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. (Cook your pasta according to package directions while the sauce simmers.)
  • Use an immersion blender to blend some of the chickpeas. Or, remove about 1 cup (250 mL) to a blender and puree, then return to the pot and stir. (See Notes, below.) 
  • Serve over pasta. Top with a few grinds of pepper and chopped tomato, if desired. 


  • If you want a vegan version, use vegan butter or margarine in place of the butter. I wouldn’t omit the butter outright because it adds a lot of depth and richness to the sauce. 
  • I grind the dried rosemary with a mortar and pestle to make it a little smaller. This isn’t a crucial step, so if you don’t have a means to grind it, don’t worry about it. I use closer to 10 mL (2 tsp) of dried rosemary. 
  • The amount you blend is personal taste. I like to leave some whole chickpeas but my kids prefer to have them almost all blended. 
  • The original recipe uses linguine, but I prefer a short pasta like penne. It’s just personal taste though.

Image by Mariia Sultanova | Dreamstime

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