Chickpea Marinara Over Zoodles. A robust Italian sauce with a low-carb pasta alternative. Quick and easy, delicious and hearty–all the boxes are checked! This vegan dish is loaded with plant-based protein and nutrients, as well as high in fiber. An unsuspecting cadre of ingredients blend so harmoniously you will never question its authenticity as a gratifying Italian main course.
Chickpea Marinara, another dish to add to the list of Monday Night Meals: Quick weeknight main dishes or meals with quick and easy prep. (Check out my Rustic Cauliflower One Pot Pasta for a little more detail, and another great main dish recipe for the work week!)
I have to admit, this is my first dish–ever–using zoodles. I was not eager to hop aboard the zucchini “noodle” train! I have always been a pasta girl. Who am I kidding?! I have always been a carb girl! As a matter of fact that was probably the most challenging aspect for me when switching to a gluten-free, plant-based, and healthier diet. There were days when I felt like the simple carbs were being pried (quite painfully I might add) from my grasp! Fast forward to today–I have developed so many recipes, many of which I’ve shared on Nutritionicity, which are filled with healthy complex carbs but still taste as satisfying as those simple, nutrient-void carbs. Life in my carbohydrate world is pretty awesome. But replacing pasta with squash?!
I received a spiralizer for my birthday and that was the push I needed. Now I’m sorry that I waited so long. I imagine there are probably some dishes that would not benefit in flavor by substituting squash for pasta. But in this case it is total awesomeness! Using the “spaghetti” attachment I produced those zoodles in 60 seconds! Anything that fast is a winner in my book. But the best part of all is when you top them with the Chickpea Marinara, something magical happens. The flavors harmonize so well, you’d never guess you weren’t eating pasta. I made my zoodles from a zucchini at room temperature so I was able to plate them up raw with no cooking required. I liked the added dimension of a little crunch that they brought to the dish (not to mention the added nutrients from eating them raw), but you can warm them in a skillet with some oil if you prefer them cooked or warmer than room temp. Note: If you don’t own a spiralizer you can also use a julienne peeler or a box grater to yield a similar noodle. Or you can serve the Chickpea Marinara over gluten-free pasta which I’m sure would taste fabulous!
This dish comes together very quickly. To make it even quicker (in the spirit of Monday Night Meals) you could dice the celery, garlic and onion the night before and place them in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. Another great aspect of the zoodles is the zucchini does not oxidize rapidly. You could also spiralize your zucchini the night before and place that in a tightly sealed container. Remove the zucchini from the refrigerator when you take out the other diced ingredients and it will be to room temperature by the time you are ready to plate the dish.
This dish can be served without additional toppings or you can top it with chopped fresh parsley and/or Vegan Parmesan Cheese. My recipe for Vegan Parmesan Cheese can be made ahead of time and will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for over a week. I usually have some at the ready because it makes such a great topping for so many dishes. I have also tried sprinkling Daiya Shredded Mozzarella Vegan Cheese on top of the dish. This topping is delicious if you do it immediately after plating so the cheese begins to melt. As an accompaniment to this main course I would recommend a simple green leaf salad or my Vegan Caesar Salad. The dressing for the Vegan Caesar Salad can also be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Mangia!