One family, one recipe. I’m always thrilled when I can share with you an healthy, easy and tasty recipe that will allow you to feed the WHOLE family at the same time. Today’s recipe is one of those!
The chickpeas pasta serves as baby puree, baby led weaning recipe, toddler recipe and adult meal! All in one, yes.
Same ingredients simply with a different texture or combined in a different way.
I particularly love this recipe for the fresh savory flavor. The summer zucchini give a soft texture and color. The chickpeas are a great source of fiber, protein and also add creaminess to the texture. Cherry tomatoes are at the top of the season, a real natural sugar bomb. And anchovies are my favorite secret ingredient: a powerful tiny bomb of flavor and Omega 3 fatty acids (so important for your baby’s brain development).
Let’s cook together!
We will start heating the olive oil in a large skillet all together with the garlic and the turmeric. Love the orange color that the turmeric will give to the recipe, all together with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Stir for 1 minute up until the oil gets warm and add the summer zucchini, chopped in small cubes. I used yellow and green zucchini to give extra color to the recipe, but you can use any kind of summer zucchini you will find.
Cook for 5 minutes at medium heat up until the zucchini will be tender. Stir occasionally. Turn the heat off and set aside.
Place a pot 3/4 full of water on the stove and let it boil.
Meanwhile in a food processor add the chickpea, drained and rinsed. Save 1 tablespoon of chickpeas to add at the end to give extra texture to the recipe. Add also half of the zucchini mix, basil leaves, anchovies, a pinch of salt (if you are cooking for babies under 1 yrs, skip the salt. You will add it later for adults and older kids) and olive oil. Puree’ everything for 1 minute to obtain a thick and smooth paste.
At this point you just obtained a lovely baby puree, ready to be served. A full meal: vitamins, proteins, carbs, omega 3 and a lot of flavor. You can reserve few tablespoons for your little one and keep going with the preparation for the rest of the family.
The water of the pasta should be boiling by now, add 1 Tbsp sea salt and the pasta. Follow the cooking time on the packaging.
You have enough time to cut the cherry tomatoes in half or quarts pending their size. I like to cut them toddler bite size.
Drain the pasta (reserve 1 cup of the starchy boiling water) and combine all the ingredients. Add 3-4 tablespoons of the chickpeas pesto, the remaining zucchini mix, the cherry tomatoes and the chickpeas you set aside. Gently mix. If you see that the sauce is too thick, add some of the starchy pasta water, one tablespoon at the time up until you will obtain a nice creamy texture.
Optional. You can also add few fresh basil leaves chopped in pieces, a drizzle of olive oil on top and few tablespoons of grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese. Enjoy!!
LEFTOVERS: HOW TO STORE THEM?
My suggestion is always to cook the correct amount of pasta you need and only have sauce leftovers. I like the pasta to be always freshly cooked. It’s way easier to store the sauce and use it again.
You can store the sauce leftovers in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days or freeze them for up to 2-3 months.
If you end up with some pasta already dressed leftovers, don’t worry! You can store the pasta in the same way. 2-3 days in the refrigerator. I would not suggest to freeze it. To reheat the pasta simply place it in a skillet with a light drizzle of olive oil and cook at medium heat for 5 min stirring occasionally. The olive oil will form a lovely golden coating.
CAN THE RECIPE BE GLUTEN FREE?
If you are looking for a gluten free recipe you can substitute the traditional pasta with a gluten free variety. I tried a rice flour mix and it was lovely. I would suggest to avoid legume based pasta for this recipe (lentil pasta, beans pasta). The pasta variety made with legumes will be too creamy once cooked and you will end up with a very dense final result.
WHAT KIND OF CHICKPEAS SHOULD I USE?
I usually use canned chickpeas, it’s faster. I use an organic brand with low sodium. If I have time I use dried chickpeas. I soak them overnight, rinse and boil in the morning for around 1 hr. When I decide to use the dried chickpeas I cook a nice large batch, more than I need for the recipe so that I have them ready to be used for other recipes!
CAN I SUBSTITUTE CHICKPEAS?
If you don’t have chickpeas in the pantry you can substitute them with white cannellini beans. The texture will be the same and the flavor very similar.
CAN I SUBSTITUTE ANCHOVIES?
Anchovies might not be your favorite food, but they are a real game changer for this recipe. They provide a lovely salty touch and also they are loaded with Omega 3 Fatty acids. Anchovies are tiny fishes, they are small enough not to give any mercury concern, another good reason to keep them in the recipe 🙂
If you cannot find them you can substitute with sardines. They are great too!
If you really really do not want to use them, you can skip them.
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR OTHER BABY FRIENDLY PASTA RECIPES?
HOW TO STORE BABY FOOD?
If you like the baby food containers in the video, they are from Elk & Friends, check them out here!
- 1 lb short shaped pasta
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quarted
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 can chickpeas, organic and low sodium
- 3 anchovies fillets
- 20 basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 6 Tbsp olive oil (2 Tbsp + 4 Tbsp)
- 3 Tbsp Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet all together with the garlic and the turmeric for 1 minute.
Add the summer zucchini, chopped in small cubes and cook for 5 minutes at medium heat up until tender. Stir occasionally. Turn the heat off and set aside.
Bring a pot 3/4 full of water to boil. When the water is boiling add 1 Tbsp sea salt and the pasta. Follow the cooking time on the packaging.
In a food processor add the chickpeas, drained and rinsed. (reserve 1 tablespoon for the end). Add also half of the zucchini mix, basil leaves, anchovies, a pinch of salt (if you are cooking for babies under 1 yrs, skip the salt. You will add it later for adults and older kids) and olive oil. Puree' everything for 1 minute to obtain a thick and smooth paste.
Drain the pasta and reserve 1 cup of the starchy boiling water.
Combine all the ingredients. 3-4 tablespoons of the chickpeas pesto, the remaining zucchini mix, the cherry tomatoes and the tablespoon of chickpeas you set aside. Gently mix. If you see that the sauce is too thick, add some of the starchy pasta water, one tablespoon at the time up until you will obtain a nice creamy texture.
Serve warm and enjoy! Optional. Add a tablespoon of grated Parmesan or Pecorino on top.