Recipe: Whole Wheat Penne in a Charred Tomato and Smokey Chickpea Sauce

I find very few foods as satisfying as pasta.  I crave it more than I’d like to admit and in a perfect world I’d eat a huge cheesy bowl of it every week.  Considering this isn’t something I choose to do health-wise, I often find myself creating healthy pasta dishes that feel indulgent without the extra added fat and calories.  This recipe for whole wheat penne is rich, creamy, hearty, and filling, yet incredibly light and healthy.  And I swear, you wont feel the need for cheese at all.

Whole Wheat Penne in a Charred Tomato and Smokey Chickpea Sauce

Serves 4


  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 cup plain hummus (store bought or see recipe below)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 12-ounce bags cherry tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 6 oz. fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup halved pitted kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

* If using canned chickpeas, use 1 15-oz. can, drained and rinsed well.


Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Whisk hummus into liquid. Meanwhile, heat oil in large heavy skillet over high heat. Add cherry tomatoes; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook until blackened in spots, shaking skillet occasionally, about 8 minutes. Mix in chickpeas, garlic, and smoked paprika. Crush some of tomatoes to release juices. Add pasta and slowly add enough hummus mixture to coat (I generally use half and save the rest for when reheating).  Mix in spinach, olives and cilantro; season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

**Hummus recipe

Makes 2 cups


  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup well stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


On a cutting board mince and mash the garlic to a paste with the salt. In a food processor purée the chick-peas with the garlic paste, tahini, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup water, scraping down the sides.  Slowly add in oil, puree until the hummus is very smooth; add salt to taste.  The hummus can be made 3 days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator.   




One thought on “Recipe: Whole Wheat Penne in a Charred Tomato and Smokey Chickpea Sauce

  1. Pingback: Cooking Tip Thursdays: The Almighty Bean | Wellness Made Natural

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