Creamy Kale Pasta with Chickpea Walnut Crumble
by Tori Pintar
Greens, a creamy sauce and a little crunch—that combination ticks all the boxes for me when it comes to having pasta in a transitional season like Spring. Tomatoes aren’t quite in season yet, and the weather in the north west is still waffling between sunny spring and snow and rain showers. On those colder nights this is exactly what I want. This sauce uses an almond based creamy spread in place of cheese. With so many people eating less dairy I wanted to create something that even the most devout cheese fan would love, but feel free to swap it out for goat cheese or ricotta. Don’t skip the chickpea crumble. It makes the dish. The protein and fat from nuts and chickpeas adds heft and dimension to the pasta. Enjoy!
Chickpea Walnut Crumble
1 tsp. olive oil
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup walnuts, raw
Zest of small lemon, Meyer if available
Heaping 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
Heaping 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Salt to taste
Preheat your oven to 425 ̇F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Towel dry chickpeas and toss with olive in a bowl. Arrange on half of the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until mostly crisp about 16-18 minutes depending on your oven.
Remove chickpeas from the oven and arrange walnuts on the remaining half of your baking sheet. Return to the oven until walnuts are fragrant and toasted, about 4-6 minutes. Watch the walnuts carefully as they can go from perfect to burnt quickly. Let nuts and chickpeas cool completely. This step is crucial to maintaining the crispness of your crumble.
Combine chickpeas, walnuts, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, crushed red pepper, garlic powder and salt and pulse until a crumbly mixture forms.
The crumble makes more than you will need. Store in an airtight container and add to salads, grain bowls, even tacos as a crunchy topping.
Creamy Kale Pasta
1/2 box Blue Evolution seaweed-infused penne pasta
2 tsp. olive oil
Heaping 1/4 cup Kitehill chive cream cheese (if not dairy averse, goat cheese or ricotta would be great here as well)
1 bunch lacinato/dinosaur kale, stems removed and torn into large pieces
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Juice of one lemon, Meyer if available
Salt and pepper to taste
Pasta water, reserved
Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and reserve at least one cup pasta water.
Using the same pot, heat up olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. It should sizzle. Cook stirring constantly for about one minute, until garlic is fragrant and beginning to wilt, adjust heat if garlic begins to burn.
Add kale and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the kale just begins to wilt but is still holding form. Return pasta to pot. Add chive cream cheese style spread or cheese of choice and 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to incorporate the chive spread, adding more water as needed to keep the pasta from sticking and to create almost a sauce from the cheese. (I used a little over a half a cup). Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and top with the chickpea walnut crumble.