Pasta with Chard and Chickpeas

by on December 7, 2009
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Pasta with Chard and Chickpeas

When I returned from my cruise, one of the first things my daughter said to me was, “I’m really glad you’re home, but I just wish you cooked as well as Dad!”

Gee, thanks a lot. And huh???

So I asked exactly what her dad had cooked while I was gone. “Mac and Cheeze, spaghetti, Chili Mac….” I immediately noticed a theme–no, not that he was mostly using my recipes but that he was cooking her favorite substance on earth: Pasta. I vowed right then and there to make more pasta.

I have a theory that E will eat anything as long as it’s mixed with pasta. To test it, I took a couple of her least favorite ingredients, portabella mushrooms and red chard, and combined them with spiral pasta and chickpeas, two of her favorite ingredients. She enjoyed the dish so much that she didn’t even mind the hint of spiciness I managed to sneak in with a couple of pinches of red pepper flakes.

Fortunately, I’ve found a brand of 100% organic whole wheat pasta that we all like, Delallo, so I don’t feel guilty about adding a little more pasta to our diet, especially if it gets my little greens-hater to eat more leafy greens. Of course, you can make this recipe completely gluten-free by using your favorite gluten-free pasta. Buon appetito!
Pasta with Chard and Chickpeas

Pasta with Chard and Chickpeas
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A touch of orange juice or balsamic vinegar added right at the end really brightens up the flavors of this dish.
Serves: 8
  • 1 pound whole wheat rotini or other spiral pasta
  • 6 leaves Swiss chard (1 bunch, about 10 ounces trimmed)
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 4 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste (I used 2 tbsp. of double-strength)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (1 can), rinsed and drained
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed orange juice (or 1-2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar)
  1. Heat water for pasta and begin to cook it according to package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, wash the chard and remove the stems; set them aside for another use. Chop the leaves coarsely.
  3. Over medium-high heat, heat a large non-stick pan. Add the onion and sprinkle it lightly with salt. Cook, stirring, until onion begins to brown. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, and mushrooms and reduce heat. Cook, stirring, until mushrooms soften, adding a tablespoon or two of water if needed to prevent sticking. Add tomato paste and water and stir to combine. Add chickpeas and simmer until pasta is done.
  4. When pasta is cooked, remove and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid before draining. Add 1/2 cup of the liquid to chickpeas and mushrooms. Stir in the chard and cover. Cook until chard is just wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pasta, add additional pasta water if necessary to moisten, and add salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving, stir in orange juice or balsamic vinegar.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/8th of recipe Calories: 283 Fat: 2.2g Carbohydrates: 59.5g Sugar: 3.4g Sodium: 362mg Fiber: 9.4g Protein: 10g


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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VeggieGirl December 7, 2009 at 9:58 am

Hahahaha your daughter's comment about the cooking is priceless 😀

Stellar pasta dish!


2 Amy December 7, 2009 at 10:02 am

I love that you had a revelation about how to combine two opposing forces in one dish.


3 tracieMoo December 7, 2009 at 10:22 am

It looks delicious. Yum. Thanks for sharing!


4 TSannie December 7, 2009 at 10:50 am

Do you think this would work with some kind of rice pasta? Love everything in this recipe, but am having wheat issues (not gluten, just wheat). Thanks!


5 Rachel Kooy December 7, 2009 at 10:55 am

Thank you for the recipe. I hope you had fun on your cruise 😀


6 Jessica L. Caneal December 7, 2009 at 11:23 am

I have been thrilled with pretty much all of your recipes since I have stumbled upon your blog and often re-post them on the facebook page for my health counseling practice. But pasta (with tomatoes) has always been my favorite dish on earth, and this one is right up my alley. My mouth started to water the second I read the title and photo looks divine!


7 kbinbk December 7, 2009 at 11:55 am

This looks delicious, definetely something I will try with my little one — who loves greens and mushrooms, though, so it's not a matter of using pasta to get her to eat her greens!
Question about the Delallo pasta — how heavy is it? I've found that all the whole wheat pastas I've tried are too heavy for my almost 3-year-old to eat. She loves pasta, but I have to use non-whole-wheat varieties because she just can't eat the whole wheat ones well — one bite seems to take her 5-10 minutes to chew and swallow. But if I use semolina pasta or Jerusalem artichoke pasta, she eats it all up super quick.
Thanks for this recipe!


8 Jennyjen December 7, 2009 at 2:41 pm

I've been searching for a good pasta recipe that uses chickpeas! This looks wonderful.


9 Anonymous December 7, 2009 at 3:13 pm

What is it about kids and pasta?! My 7 yo declared in all seriousness that we should have pasta 6 nights a week and something else the remaining night.


10 Mary December 7, 2009 at 3:40 pm

Mushrooms and chard are two of my least favorite ingredients! I wonder if I'd like this? The good thing about being a grown-up is I can substitute kale, heehee.


11 Fayinagirl (means Free One) December 7, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Love the recipe idea. My kiddos will eat just about anything with pasta as well. Must be something about those carbs they just can't live without. 😉

Your daughter's comment about your cooking was so cute. Daddy's have a secret method of worming their way into the kids' culinary hearts. Stinkers!


12 Bianca December 7, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Yum! The mushrooms in that picture look so hearty and awesome.


13 nannykim December 7, 2009 at 8:12 pm

We tried this tonight and really enjoyed it. We did do a few changes. We used the gluten free brown rice spiral pasta. We jused Kale instead of swiss chard (I like Kale better) and we used regular mushrooms. Other than those changes basically followed your recipe. Thanks–when my hubby loves something then I am a happy camper!


14 moonwatcher December 7, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Well, kids of all ages, love pasta, especially us kids at heart! This looks delicious. And I really enjoyed the story of how it came about, too.

Thanks, Susan!




15 Addiopolis December 7, 2009 at 11:29 pm

That looks and sounds soooo good!So simple, but such a great combination. That's actually a favorite of mine, or at least a variation of it: greens of some type, beans of some type, tomato product of some type, grain of some type, and usually some other vegetable too. The baby bellas sound perfect.


16 Anonymous December 8, 2009 at 10:33 am

wow this recipe looks absolutely mouth watering! i love your photo's
Check out my blog!


17 Jacqueline December 8, 2009 at 7:23 pm

It looks wonderfully tasty! And …. good tactics 🙂


18 raja December 9, 2009 at 1:33 am

greetings, could balsamic and orange juice be happy together for my tastebuds? and for the pasta in these photos which did you add?


19 SusanV December 9, 2009 at 9:59 am

Raja, I used orange juice in these photos. I suggest using one or the other but not both.


20 PJ December 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm

I am a first time visitor to your blog, but I am sure glad I happened to hop over here! This recipe is delicious and so healthy.. what an excellent way to use up chard and chickpeas together with whole wheat pasta! This is going right to my bookmark folder. thanks for sharing 🙂


21 Ayla December 10, 2009 at 12:46 am

That was fabulous! Although my mind tried very hard to butcher the recipe, it came out tasting delicious and my whole family loved it. 🙂 I used spinach instead of chard, navy beans instead of chickpeas and normal mushrooms instead of the Portobello. Oh.. and I used no salt and accidentally poured too much pepper in and forgot the liquid at the end. Haha.. but it still tasted great! 😀


22 raja December 10, 2009 at 1:57 am

thanks susan, i look forward to trying this soon!


23 Anonymous December 10, 2009 at 2:30 pm

I'm on the Eat to Live diet and I'm going to leave out the pasta when I make this.

Thanks for sharing.


24 Pass the Style Plate December 11, 2009 at 2:38 am

pasta with chard and mushroom sounds really good! i should try this sometime.


25 Stefanie December 11, 2009 at 8:37 pm

This is going on my to make list. It looks so good. I look forward to your new recipes and posts.


26 emily December 12, 2009 at 8:37 pm

yum, i made this with collard greens, since i had them on hand and loooved it.


27 a December 12, 2009 at 9:47 pm

This looks delicious, a great way to use up leafy greens if necessary. Where did you find baby portabellos? I don't recall ever seeing them.


28 SusanV December 12, 2009 at 9:54 pm

A, I find baby "bellas" with the other mushrooms in my local supermarket (Kroger). However, you could use any kind of mushrooms, including regular-sized portabellas; just cut them into bite-sized slices.


29 Katie December 12, 2009 at 10:10 pm

I've been reading your blog for a long time, but I've never commented. I just wanted to say hi, and let you know that I linked to several of my favorite recipes of yours from my blog today! I love your site, and turn to it quite often when I need inspiration! And your photos are always so drool-worthy!


30 Eman December 13, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I love every recipe you have here. But I wanted to make a request for some holiday treats, maybe specifically a ginger bread house?

With Christmas coming up I thought it would be nice to make a ginger bread house with my niece and younger sister.



31 Anonymous December 18, 2009 at 1:05 am

Made this for dinner..with leftovers for lunch..lucky me!
Really good dish with some of my favorite flavors. Of course I cooked the pasta in water, but otherwise used veggie broth. Thanks so much for sharing this with us!


32 Tom Samworth December 22, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Awesome recipe and awesome blog. I'm going to post a link so my 3-4 imaginary readers can find this blog. I'm trying this recipe tomorrow evening with high hopes that it will be a hit with my savage meat-eating family…


33 eatme_delicious December 23, 2009 at 9:14 pm

Looks delicious! Especially the mushrooms.


34 The Savvy Soybean December 24, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Gahh I'm gonna have to make this tonight- I have all the ingredients sitting around the house! Thanks for another tasty dish.

I recently blogged about an easy vegan sundried tomato pesto that's super quick to make- basically just sundried tomatoes, olive oil and basil. So flavorful!


35 Lynne December 30, 2009 at 8:36 am

I made this on Sunday for myself and my vegetarian daughter. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. I found my meat loving husband with a big bowl of it too. I thought the flavors were very good. Loved the mushrooms and greens. I think next time I might use a little more tomato paste to kick the intensity up a bit, but otherwise this is a near perfect dish. I'll definetely be making this again. Quick, easy, uses mainly pantry items and DELISH! Thanks Susan!


36 angrysong January 15, 2010 at 11:38 pm

I stopped by your site after seeing a link from some others sites (lost track of the trail, started at ).

This recipe sounded good, and I had most of the ingredients. I changed it up, but it tasted great. Thanks for the inspiration. I put a photo up on my blog,


37 Anardana January 17, 2010 at 12:10 pm

This is a great, basic and quick recipe for vegans! Thanks.


38 ~M January 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

This looks like a great use for my plethora of freshly cooked chickpeas! By the way, what do you do with the leftover chard stems? Thanks!


39 SusanV January 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

The chard stems can be used to make vegetable stock or cut up and used in soups.


40 Charlotte February 22, 2010 at 12:24 am

This looks delish! I think I'm also going to sub spinach for the chard (since that's what's available in the fridge at the moment) but I can't wait to try this. I love easy recipes that look tricky 🙂

Can't wait to see your new layout!


41 June Nishimoto September 26, 2010 at 9:25 pm

We made this tonight pretty much as your recipe says, and it was absolutely wonderful. I am further thrilled to have a dish that has a great balance of greens, legumes, whole wheat pasta AND is quick and easy. Thank you.


42 lovemyfamily January 4, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Made this with some tweaks cause we are more of a heavy on the sauce and veggie family and light on the noodles. Used one super super large portobella mushroom(seriously the biggest one I have ever seen). Two bunches of chard and a large onion. Also only used 1/2 the amount of noodles and added some spaghetti sauce in with everything. The 3 year old loved it, the one year old was being a little crabby with her new teeth coming in so she wouldn’t try it but both adults loved it.


43 Julie & Marty August 9, 2011 at 8:51 pm

This was very tasty. Substituted the chick peas with great northerns because my husband isn’t a fan of chick peas. I think it would have been better with the chick peas, forsure, or even cannelli beans. Used balsamic instead of orange juice and we both decided the orange juice would be better, wasn’t fond of the vinegar taste with this dish. We will make it again, but will add more of everything to the pasta. It needed more greens and mushrooms. It was nice and filling! Enjoyed it.


44 Chelsea December 9, 2013 at 11:37 am

This looks great and I think I have everything in the kitchen already. Thanks for dinner tonight! P.S. isn’t DeLallo the best?


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