This Mediterranean Pasta is packed with ingredients that are good for you, including Barilla Chickpea pasta, which is made with just one ingredient—chickpeas! Healthy but delicious, this dish is on the table in less than 20 minutes, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
This post is sponsored by Barilla. All opinions are my own! Try Barilla Legume Pasta for yourself here.
Mediterranean Pasta: A pasta dish that is actually good for you!
Hello. This is your friendly reminder that October is coming to an end and soon the holiday season will be upon us!
And you know what that means, right? Lots and lots of indulgent food, and the consequential extra pounds. 🙈🙈🙈
Does that mean I’m telling you do go on a diet so you can “reserve calories”? Absolutely not! But a balanced lifestyle means a little bit of indulgence paired with a little bit of discipline.
Today is about discipline! A healthy Mediterranean inspired pasta dish that will fuel your body but also please your tastebuds. Loaded with delicious veggies and embraced by garlic and extra virgin olive oil!
Because leading a balanced lifestyle doesn’t mean having to suffer eating bland food. 😉
In this post you will learn:
- What ingredients you will need.
- If pasta can be part of a Mediterranean diet.
- A comparison between Barilla chickpea pasta and the other “healthy pasta alternative”.
- How to make Mediterranean pasta.
- Serving suggestions and variations of this recipe.
- Frequently asked questions.
Plus, a printable recipe!
You won’t need a whole lot of ingredients to make this Mediterranean pasta recipe, but they should be fresh and good quality!
PASTA – I’m using Barilla Chickpea Pasta.
GARLIC – Since this pasta is served without a sauce, garlic is vital for some flavor! My recipe calls for 3 cloves, but if you’re a garlic lover (like me!), you could use up to 6.
EGGPLANT – I use a large eggplant. At first, when you dice it, it will seem like a lot. But it loses moisture and shrinks when cooked.
ZUCCHINI – Same goes for the zucchini. So, depending on the size of your zucchini, use two!
TOMATOES – I use cherry tomatoes, but you can use grape tomatoes or even regular diced tomatoes.
OLIVES – I use a whole cup of Kalamata olives, as I love the burst of briney, salty flavor that they bring to this dish! That being said, you can use less or omit if you’re not into olives. You can also use green olives if you prefer.
OLIVE OIL – The best extra virgin olive oil that you can afford! Since there’s no sauce, the olive oil is the star of the show here.
BASIL – I like to add a lot of basil, for flavor. Up to 20 leaves, hand torn.
SALT AND PEPPER – Season to taste!
LEMON – Optional, but it enhances the flavor and adds a touch of freshness.
Can I eat pasta on a Mediterranean diet?
If you follow a Mediterranean diet, you know that it is characterized by an abundance of plant foods (fruits and veggies), as well as whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Olive oil is the principle source of fat in this diet.
So yes, this pasta is perfect for this diet! Especially because we are using Barilla chickpea pasta instead of regular pasta, which has a lower glycemic index!
Barilla chickpea rotini – the kind we are using in this recipe – is made entirely from chickpeas, making it a good source of protein and fiber, gluten-free, plant-based and deliciously wholesome.
My pantry is already always stocked with Barilla pasta, but I’m happy to include their legume variety, because I believe in balance.
And one can’t eat wheat pasta all the time without packing a few (lots of) pounds! Exhibit A: my hips. 😂😂😂
I found it at my local Target, and saw that they also carry a red lentil variety. That will be the next one I try! If the chickpea one is that good, I’m sure it won’t disappoint!
Barilla Chickpea Pasta VS the other healthy pasta alternative
Before I wrote this post, I purchased a few other chickpea pasta brands to try. You guys know I’m a nerd and I like to do some research!
When compared to the other legume pasta – the one with the orange box – I found that Barilla was:
- More al dente. I cooked both for the same amount of time, the recommended 7 minutes, but found that the competitor got softer. Since I like my pasta with a bit of a bite, that is 1X0 to Barilla!
- Had a stronger chickpea flour flavor. That can be a pro or a con, depending if you’re after that distinct nuttiness that chickpea pasta has. So, I’m going to consider it a tie! The score is still 1X0 to Barilla.
- Not sure if it was bad luck, but the competitor’s pasta was quite broken inside the box! Another point to Barilla. 2X0.
- Ingredient list: Barilla’s chickpea pasta is made from 100% chickpeas, while the competitor’s contains tapioca, pea protein, and xanthan gum. 3X0 to Barilla.
- Both brands are certified gluten free and non-GMO. Another tie!
Final score: Barilla won 3X0.
How to make Mediterranean Pasta
This is a simple yet nutritious meal, that is quick and easy to prepare!
Make sure you use a large enough skillet, as the veggies will seem like a lot before they shrink when cooked.
If you time everything just right, the pasta will be ready about the same time as the veggies, so you can just toss everything together and serve.
If not, you might want to return the pasta pot with the veggies to the stove, just long enough to reheat it!
Recommended tools: pasta pot, colander, large skillet.
Here’s how I make this Mediterranean pasta recipe. As always, you will find the printable (and more complete) version of the recipe at the end of this post!
Step 1: Cook the pasta.
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
- Drain, return to the pot you used to cook it, and reserve. (Photo 1)
Step 2: Prepare the veggies.
- Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet.
- Sauté the garlic until fragrant, being careful so it doesn’t burn, or it will taste bitter.
- Sauté the veggies until soft. (Photo 2)
- Stir in the basil and olives. (Photo 3)
Step 3: Combine and serve!
- Pour the veggie mixture into the pasta.
- Toss to combine, drizzle more olive oil and squeeze the lemon.
- Serve! (Photo 4)
I recommend you prep all the veggies before you start cooking the pasta. That way, if you start sautéing them while the pasta water is boiling, everything will be ready around the same time.
Mediterranean Pasta Serving Suggestions
I like to serve this Mediterranean pasta by itself, as a light but filling dinner! And we often eat the leftovers for lunch the next day.
For a more complete meal, you could serve alongside a simple green salad and some crusty bread! Or you could serve this pasta as a side for roasted or grilled chicken or steak.
Oh, and in the summer this dish can be served as a cold pasta salad.
Because of Barilla’s chickpea pasta, I find that this vegetarian dish is pretty satisfying, even without adding any meat.
That being said, this recipe is very customizable, making it the perfect vessel for whatever veggies you have on hand. And, of course, you can add meat if you’d like!
Here are a few ideas:
- Add or swipe some of the veggies. Artichoke, leeks and bell peppers would taste great in this dish.
- Add a protein, like shrimp or chicken.
- For more vegetarian protein, you could add beans or chickpeas.
- Add cheese! Feta or parmesan would go great with the other flavors here!
- Use sun dried tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes.
- Substitute the basil for parsley. Or add both!
- Top with some pine nuts for a bit of crunch!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can, but the pasta won’t be as al dente as it was when freshly cooked.
Alternatively, you could prepare the veggies and refrigerate until ready to serve. Then, cook the pasta, reheat the veggies (adding more olive oil) and serve!
Mediterranean pasta will keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
To reheat this dish, I like to heat some olive oil in a skillet and then add the leftovers. Cook, tossing so all the pasta gets coated in the EVOO, until hot!
Alternatively, you could eat the leftovers as a cold pasta salad.
I’m usually not a fan of freezing pasta, because it can get mushy when thawed.
That being said, if you know you need to freeze some, cook it until it is just less than al dente before freezing. That way, it will still have some bite, even after thawed and reheated.
Did you make this recipe? I love hearing from you! Please comment and leave a 5-star rating below. You can also take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #oliviascuisine.
- 1 pound 2 packages Barilla Chickpea Pasta
- Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling before serving
- 3 to 6 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 large eggplant, diced
- 2 medium zucchinis, diced
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup kalamata olives
- 15 to 20 basil leaves, hand torn
- Juice of one lemon, optional
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. Then, drain and return to the pot. Reserve.
- While the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant, being careful not to burn it.
- Add the diced eggplant, zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in the olives and basil.
- Pour the veggie mixture into the pasta. Toss to combine, adding more olive oil if needed.
- If using, squeeze the lemon into the pasta.
- Serve immediately!