I am obsessed with beet pasta sauce and this harissa beet pasta with chickpeas is everything I ever wanted in a dinner recipe. It’s smoky, spicy, earthy, bright, and herby all at the same time.
I love finding ways of combining chickpeas and pasta together. Chickpeas really stretch a pasta dinner a little further and add some nice protein to the dish!
In this recipe, beets, tomatoes, and lots of harissa form the ultimate smoky, earthy tomato sauce. The sauce is so easy and quick to make, particularly if you use pre-cooked beets. I just love how the pasta completely absorbs the beautiful color of the beets.
The pasta is topped with lemony chickpeas and adds just the right amount of brightness to the earthy sauce. It really is a flavor-rich meal.
How to make harissa beet pasta with chickpeas:
To make beet pasta sauce, you need just a handful of ingredients:
- Aromatics: Onion, garlic, and red Fresno chili pepper
- Harissa powder or paste
- Beets and tomatoes
- Water or vegetable stock
For the lemony chickpeas, you need:
- Lemon juice
- Fresh or dry parsley
- Extra virgin olive oil
Start with the sauce. First, fry up your aromatics and add the harissa powder (or paste!) and let it sizzle until fragrant. Add the pre-cooked beets and the tomatoes and toss to coat. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the water or stock and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. If you like, you can use an immersion blender to create a smooth consistency or you can leave it a little chunky.
While the sauce cooks, make your pasta and reserve a little pasta cooking water. Toss the cooked pasta in the sauce, adding pasta cooking water as necessary. Once the pasta is completely soaked with the sauce (you’ll know because the pasta will turn bright pink!), turn off the heat and serve!
Before serving, though, toss your chickpeas with lemon juice, parsley, and extra virgin olive oil. Pile those bright and yummy chickpeas on top of each dish. That’s it! It really is that easy!
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Harissa Beet Pasta with Chickpeas
- Wide pot
- Large pot
Harissa beet sauce:
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil
- 1 yellow onion peeled and diced
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 red Fresno chili pepper trimmed and minced
- 2 tablespoons plant-based butter
- 1 tablespoon harissa paste or powder
- 12 ounces pre-cooked beets diced
- 1 pound fresh tomatoes diced; or use 15-ounce can diced
- 16 ounces pasta of choice preferably a tubular pasta like rigatoni, ziti, or paccheri
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 15- ounce can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 2 teaspoons dry parsley or use fresh, but freeze-dried parsley works great if you don’t have fresh on-hand
- Salt and pepper
Cook the aromatics:
- Heat neutral oil in a wide pot over medium heat.
- Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until it softens. Add the garlic and chili pepper and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
Bloom the harissa powder:
- Add the plant-based butter to the onion. Once melted and frothy, add the harissa powder and toss to coat. Cook for 45 seconds more.
Simmer the sauce:
- Add the beets and tomatoes and season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Pour in 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes until very tender. If needed, add a splash or two of water if the sauce reduces too quickly. If desired, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth and creamy, or leave it a little chunky!
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
Prepare the chickpeas:
- In a bowl, combine the chickpeas, lemon juice, and parsley and toss to coat. Drizzle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Set aside.
Finish the pasta:
- Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce over low heat, adding the reserved pasta cooking water as necessary until the pasta is completely coated with the sauce. Season again with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the cooked pasta between bowls and pile the chickpeas on top. Enjoy!