Juicy and sweet roasted red bell peppers combine with crumbled chickpeas and tomatoes for a flavorful, nutritious, higher-protein pasta sauce. This easy vegan pasta dish is ready in a flash!
Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot or onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 60 seconds more. Add the red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, ground black pepper, and dried oregano, and cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Add the tomato paste, stir it in, and then add the diced tomato, chopped roasted red peppers, and chopped cooked chickpeas. Stir well and reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have softened and broken down. Add the reserved pasta liquid and the drained pasta, stir, and cook until hot throughout. (NOTE: if the dish will not be served immediately and if using gluten-free pasta, keep the drained pasta separate).
Season to taste with salt, pepper, and fresh lemon juice. Serve hot, garnished with fresh herbs if desired.
CHOPPING CHICKPEAS: The easiest way to chop chickpeas is in a food processor. If you don't have one, I recommend first smashing them gently in a bowl, before transferring them to a cutting board to chop them with a knife. The pre-smashing helps to stop them from rolling around everywhere.
ROASTED RED PEPPERS: Use jarred roasted red peppers (4 pieces) or roast your own by placing whole peppers on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and cooking at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, rotating occasionally, until collapsed and soft. Let cool and then remove seeds and peels. Reserve any extra juices that escape and add them to the pasta sauce too.
GRAIN-FREE: Use a legume-based pasta such as Explore Cuisine.
LEFTOVERS: First of all, this recipe is very easily doubled. However, if you're using gluten-free pasta, I strongly recommend storing the pasta and sauce leftovers separately or you will be enjoying Leftover Mushy Pasta Casserole. Aside from that, leftovers keep well in the fridge.
WHITE WINE: If you already have some on hand, a splash of white wine added with the tomatoes would be lovely in this dish!