Southwestern Pesto Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas

This Southwestern Pesto Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas is packed with protein and vegetables making it a really healthy dinner that’s quick and easy to make! It’s so fresh tasting and perfect for a light dinner or potluck salad!


Happy Monday! Today I’m excited to share the recipe for this Southwestern Pesto Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas with you! It’s become a regular around here lately and I think you all will love it too ๐Ÿ™‚

During the summertime I tend to get into a dinner funk. It’s so hot here and sometimes I just don’t have the energy to cook. Because of that we eat a lot of pasta this time of year.

Pasta is such a great option when you’re looking for something quick and easy and it also gives you so much room to put your creative spin on it. We always have a jar of tomato sauce just in case, but homemade pesto is my favorite way to jazz up pasta! It’s so easy to make and doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you don’t grow your own basil.

My favorite cheap pesto hack is to use 2 parts baby spinach leaves and then one part your favorite herbs. You still get the same great fresh herb taste but you don’t have to buy as much. And, spinach adds a lot of nutritional value, so it’s a win-win ๐Ÿ™‚

Collage: left photo is the cilantro lime pesto ingredients in a food processor, right side is the finished pesto

I wanted to put a southwestern spin on this pesto pasta so I decided to use cilantro as my fresh herb and add a splash of lime juice. This cilantro lime pesto is so good and one of my favorites!


Another great thing about this dish is that it’s packed with protein! You have your crispy chickpeas (which have become an obsession for me lately) and then you have your Chickapea Pasta! Have you guys tried Chickapea Pasta yet?! I used it in my Greek Pasta Salad in January and it’s a staple in our house.

Chickapea pasta is only made of 2 ingredients: chickpeas and lentils! It’s naturally gluten free, contains 27 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber. It also has a great taste and texture! Since it’s made using chickpeas and lentils it has more of an earthy flavor to it, which I love, and it also has a nice bite that makes it feel more filling than other pastas.

It goes perfectly in this Southwestern Pasta Salad with Crispy Chickpeas and I think you’ll be really happy if you give it a try!

Thank you, Izzy, for some fabulous summer inspiration.ย  You can find more recipes from She Likes Food on Facebook and Instagram.

Some more Chickapea Summer Dishes that you’ll want to check out:

5 from 10 votes
Southwestern Pesto Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins
This Southwestern Pesto Pasta with Crispy Chickpeas is packed with protein and vegetables making it a really healthy dinner that's quick and easy to make! It's so fresh tasting and perfect for a light dinner or potluck salad!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Author: Isadora Lassance
  • 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or more if you like
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast
  • 8 ounces Chickapea Pasta, spirals work great for this recipe!
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/3 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups packed spinach leaves
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, or your favorite nut
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Pat your rinsed chickpeas with a dish towel until dry. Place on a medium sized baking sheet and toss with olive oil, paprika, salt and nutritional yeast. Bake chickpeas until crispy, 10-15 mins.

  2. Add all Cilantro Pesto ingredients to a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

  3. Heat a large pot of water over high heat until boiling. Add pasta to the water, stir and cook pasta for 5-9 minutes, or until desired texture is reached. Drain pasta and add back to the pot or to a large bowl.

  4. Add the tomatoes, corn and onion to the pasta and then pour the pesto over the top. Mix until everything is combined.

  5. You can either stir in the chickpeas and diced avocado or add them on top of each individual bowl of pasta. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime, if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Erin @ The Almond Eater
    Posted at 15:40h, 25 May Reply

    Delicious summer flavors all packed into one recipe!

  • Regina
    Posted at 01:15h, 23 May Reply

    Pesto pasta is my all-time favorite! I love how its perfect for quick dinners or a salad for a picnic

  • Michelle Higgins
    Posted at 20:07h, 22 May Reply

    A perfect summer dish!! I canโ€™t wait to make this.. totally going to be a staple!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 16:02h, 25 May Reply

      Same here! We’re loving the spinach pesto idea. Small spinach obsession over here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kristen
    Posted at 17:41h, 22 May Reply

    Such a great pasta salad! I seriously love all the fresh flavors. It’s perfect for your pasta!!

  • Trish
    Posted at 22:39h, 21 May Reply

    I’m totally making this over the summer. That bright green dressing looks soooo good.

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 16:01h, 25 May Reply

      The whole dish screams delicious healthy goodness right?

  • nocrumbsleft
    Posted at 18:34h, 21 May Reply

    What a delicious pasta pesto idea! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 16:00h, 25 May Reply

      Thanks Teri! Let us know if you do

  • Michelle @ Sunkissed Kitchen
    Posted at 18:08h, 21 May Reply

    Always fresh pesto! The jarred stuff doesn’t belong in the same category! Looks fresh and delicious — I need to make this stat!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 15:59h, 25 May Reply

      Absolutely! Fresh is always best!

  • Sarah
    Posted at 16:39h, 21 May Reply

    Yesss! I’ve been in such a pasta salad mood – this sounds like perfection1

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 15:58h, 25 May Reply

      Cravings! LOL Pasta salad and summer go hand-in=hand!

  • Dana
    Posted at 15:33h, 21 May Reply

    This is so glorious! I want this for a hot dinner and as a cold pasta salad lunch. I can’t wait to make it. TWICE. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 15:58h, 25 May Reply

      Great idea! Double batch – we’re in!

  • Tania
    Posted at 12:21h, 21 May Reply

    I cannot think of better way to enjoy my favorite Chickapea pasta! LOVE!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 12:46h, 21 May Reply

      We agree, Tania. This will be a crowd pleaser this summer!

  • marcie
    Posted at 12:12h, 21 May Reply

    I’m in love with everything about this fresh, delicious pasta salad!

    • Chickapea
      Posted at 12:47h, 21 May Reply

      So great to have fresh local produce available in the summer months for extra deliciousness!

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