Chickpea Pasta with Cashew Cream Sauce

By Jessica Kotlowitz

Ready in just 20 minutes, this healthy pasta makes for a perfect quick weeknight meal. It is a great balanced meal with lots of healthy fats, good carbohydrates, protein and colourful veggies and is super light yet so nutritious. You can serve it hot as a one-pot family meal or cold as a pasta salad side-dish or healthy work or school lunch.



  • 500g wholegrain/ red lentil fusilli pasta
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 salad tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 cups cooked or tinned and drained chickpeas
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup cashews soaked in 1 cup cold water for at least 45 minutes (or up to 6 hours)
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1 1/4 cup water (or more to desired consistency)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • A pinch of salt


1.    Boil your pasta according to the package instructions.

2.    In the meanwhile, chop up your fresh ingredients.

3.    If you are using tinned chickpeas, drain and rinse your chickpeas. If cooked, remember to cook your chickpeas in advance.

4.     Once the pasta is cooked, drain and put it in a large serving dish.

5.     Add the chopped vegetables and the chickpeas to the pasta, along with the liquid from the chopped tomatoes and stir through.

6.    For the cashew sauce, drain the soaking cashews and rinse them thoroughly. Add the drained cashews to your blender along with the water, garlic, onion powder, nutritional yeast and salt and blend until a smooth sauce is formed. If you prefer a thinner sauce, you can add more liquid.

7.   Pour the cashew cream sauce over the pasta right before serving.

8. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot or cold.


* Those with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis should omit the nutritional yeast)

For my patients on calorie-controlled meal plans:

1 x 173g serving of this recipes =

  • 1 starch serving
  • 1 legume/ protein serving
  • 1 veg serving
  • 1 1/2 fat servings

Source: The Green Dietitian

Jessica Kotlowitz is a Registered Clinical Dietitian who is passionate about the use of plant-based diets for the treatment and prevention of obesity and chronic diseases of lifestyle such as Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer.

Jessica qualified with a Bsc. in Dietetics from Stellenbosch University in 2012 after which she completed her Community Service year at Baragwaneth hospital in Johannesburg where she focused on all aspects of clinical nutrition, including Paediatric and neonatal nutrition, renal nutrition, surgical nutrition and oncology nutrition. She began her Master’s degree in 2014 and began to research the effects of plant-based diets in an attempt to find solutions to some of her own health problems. After losing 15kg’s and drastically transforming her own health with the use of a plant-based diet, Jessica went on to open her own private practice in Cape Town which focuses on helping others to achieve optimal health using abundant plant-centred diets.