Participating in Veganuary this year? Let this vegan chickpea piccata sauce be the first vegan recipe you make! This recipe first appeared on my vegan recipe blog, Exploring Vegan. but it’s so good that it deserves a spot here too.
What is piccata sauce?
Piccata sauce is one of my favorite sauces. It’s bright, zippy, and rich. It’s also incredibly easy to make vegan. But first, let’s talk about the OG piccata. Piccata–larded in Italian–is a method of cooking meat, often involving butterflying or thinly slicing and then frying. In Italy, the most common variation is veal piccata, where veal is thinly sliced, dredged in flour, and fried. It’s served in a lemony, buttery, briny caper sauce. Regions in both Campania and Sicily claim the dish, and the chicken variation is a popular Italian-American dish.
The sauce typically combines butter, capers, and lemon juice. Sometimes white wine is added, and the sauce may be finished with fresh parsley. However, the three core ingredients of piccata are butter, capers, and lemon juice.
Why make it vegan?
For 2023, I plan to participate in Veganuary! What’s Veganuary? Like Dry January, Veganuary encourages people worldwide to try a plant-based diet in January through a global campaign.
Piccata sauce, at its core, can be a perfect vegan dinner recipe. It involves swapping dairy butter with plant-based butter. My favorite vegan butter? Wayfare! They prepare their butter from beans, creating a really lush vegan piccata sauce.
If you’re not keen on pasta, serve this piccata sauce with roasted or grilled vegetables, rice, or mashed potatoes.
How to make this vegan chickpea piccata sauce:
Step 1: Start by roasting the chickpeas in your favorite cooking oil. Roast them for about 20–25 minutes at 425ºF or until they’re crispy and golden brown.
Step 2: Start the sauce! Sauté a finely minced onion in oil until softened. Add the capers and cook until they begin to crisp just a bit. I add a few shakes of crushed red pepper, but that’s optional.
Step 3: Finish the sauce! Melt the butter into the onion and capers. Add water or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 5–10 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half and thickens.
Step 4: Throw in the lemon juice, and roasted chickpeas, and toss to coat! Serve it over cooked pasta, rice, or roasted vegetables!
Vegan Chickpea Piccata Sauce
- Baking sheet
- Large pot
- 12 ounces fettuccine
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 15- ounce cans chickpeas, drained
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and finely minced
- 2 tablespoons capers, drained
- Pinch of crushed red pepper, optional
- 4 tablespoons plant-based butter
- ¾ cup water or vegetable stock
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup loosely packed parsley, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Roast the chickpeas:
- Preheat oven to 425ºF. Arrange the chickpeas on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Season all over with salt and pepper.
- Transfer to the oven for 20–30 minutes, flipping the chickpeas once midway through cooking.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the fettuccine. Cook according to package instructions. Scoop out ½ cup pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
Prepare the sauce:
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the capers to the onion and cook for 1–2 minutes until they just begin to crisp and turn golden brown. Season with crushed red pepper if you like.
- Melt the butter into the onions and capers. Once melted and frothy add the water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until reduced by half. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Finish the sauce:
- Stir the lemon juice into the sauce and add the roasted chickpeas. Toss to coat and cook for 3–4 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your preferences.
- Add half the pasta cooking water and minced parsley and bring to a boil. Add the cooked fettuccine and toss to coat for 1–2 minutes. Add the remaining pasta water if needed to loosen up the sauce.
- Divide the cooked pasta between shallow bowls. Enjoy!