Jul 22, 2010

Pasta with zucchini, chickpeas and gremolata breadcrumbs

For part two of my quest to use up a mountain of zucchini from my garden, I considered making a simple pasta dish – saute squash with garlic and throw it on spaghetti. But I decided to make it more of a nutritious meal by adding chickpeas, and more interesting by adding crispy breadcrumbs with the ingredients of gremolata: parsley, garlic and lemon zest.

Between the sweetness of the zucchini, the tartness of the lemon and the crunch of the breadcrumbs, this dish is the perfect intersection of flavor and texture. So go pick your squash – either out of the ground or at the farmer’s market. Just don’t try to give your extras away to me. I’m still drowning in the stuff.

Pasta with Zucchini, Chickpeas and Gremolata Breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

4 cloves garlic, divided

1 cup freshly made breadcrumbs from good-quality whole wheat or other bread

Grated zest of one lemon

2-3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

3 medium zucchini (I used one small and one huge), sliced lengthwise and then thinly sliced into half-moons

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste

Juice of ½ lemon

1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¾ pound whole wheat or whole grain blend spaghetti

To make the gremolata breadcrumbs, heat 2 t. olive oil in a skillet, add half the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the bread crumbs, lemon zest and parsley and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until bread crumbs are browned and crispy. Set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Add the zucchini and red pepper flakes, and cook over medium heat, turning frequently with a spatula, until the zucchini is starting to turn golden (about 10 minutes). Add the remaining garlic during the last 3 minutes of cooking time. Stir in the chickpeas, lemon juice, salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking liquid.  Add the reserved liquid to the zucchini mixture and cook for 2 additional minutes.  Combine the pasta and squash, and stir gently. Serve topped with the breadcrumbs and a drizzle of olive oil.

Serves 4.

See more recipes: Beans & legumes, Entrees, Pasta, Vegan


  • This is inspired… Really. I think I’m in love. THANK YOU FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL DISH! Vegetarian dishes can be like poetry – and THIS is exactly the kind of pasta I adore. Malto bella!

  • […] Pasta with zucchini, chickpeas & gremolata breadcrumbs — YUM. […]

  • I love chickpeas with pasta too. Your photos are beautiful!! I really hope you will submit this recipe and more to my new “vegan finds” site:


  • Caitlin Dixon

    As soon as I saw that I had in my kitchen everything necessary for this dish, I knew I was making it this weekend. Fantastic, once again! We loved the lemon, and the crunch. Perfect for summer.

  • So glad you liked it, Caitlin!

  • This looks like a lovely meal I would like to make. By any chance do you have any nutritional information available for it?


  • Carolyn, thanks for the comment. I’m afraid I don’t calculate nutritional information for my recipes. I am more inclined to eat what I want as long as the ingredients are all wholesome, nutritious and heart healthy!

  • […] came across this recipe for zucchini pasta.  So, I basically followed the recipe as is except substituted patty pan squash for the […]

  • amy

    this was seriously amazing!!!
    so good!

  • Ashley

    Wow, this is delicious! I just made it for lunch, I felt like I was eating at a restaurant. The gremolata is a perfect finishing touch! Mmmmmmm…

  • Amanda

    This is an excellent recipe. Whole wheat pasta and chickpeas make for a very filling vegetarian meal. Other veggie substitutions are possible; I used cauliflower. The gremolata breadcrumbs are pure genius, I had never tried anything like them before.

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Thanks, Amanda! I have made this with cauliflower, too and it’s great.

  • […] Pasta With Zucchini, Chickpeas, and Gremolata Breadcrumbs Lemony pasta topped with herbed breadcrumbs sounds like a carb-lover’s dream, but this vegan […]

  • […] To end a somewhat dull, rainy day on a high note, I tried a new recipe involving a can of chickpeas for the first time. This was the base recipe that I followed: https://www.whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/07/pasta-with-zucchini-chickpeas-and-gremolata-breadcrumbs/ […]

  • […] Pasta With Zucchini, Chickpeas, and Gremolata Breadcrumbs Lemony pasta topped with herbed breadcrumbs sounds like a carb-lover’s dream, but this vegan […]

  • Cori

    Skeptical that my family would enjoy this. I made it with fingers crossed. My family loved this! Rave reviews! Thanks!

  • Just came across your recipe while looking for more ideas on how to use chickpeas! It looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing! :-)

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