Fresh chickpeas with Brussels sprouts and pasta recipe

Spring is the time to find all kinds of foods we normal eat dried in their fresh state. Fresh garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, are at the markets now, so don’t pass by these velvety green pods without giving them a try this season. Wondering how to use fresh garbanzo beans? Here’s a recipe for fresh chickpeas with pasta to get you started.


What you’ll need

Fresh chickpeas (garbanzo beans), shelled
Pancetta, chopped
Brussels sprouts, chopped
Fresh pasta (I especially like ravioli stuffed with spring veggies, like asparagus and pea shoots)
Paremsean cheese, grated
Fresh herbs (I like marjoram, nepitella, oregano, mint…but use any fresh herbs you prefer)
Good quality olive oil (not for cooking, but to drizzle over your plated pasta)
Finishing salt (for this recipe I prefer an oak wood smoked sea salt)


Boil salted water for pasta. Blanch fresh chickpeas in boiling water for 30 seconds or so by placing beans in a metal strainer inside the water. Just lift out the strainer when they are done. Don’t overcook.

In a hot wok:
Cook pancetta, add Brussels sprouts until cooked, add chickpeas. Remember that wok cooking is fast and happens at very high heat. Don’t overcook.

Gently toss with fresh pasta and top with cheese and herbs. Add a drizzle of really good olive oil.

That’s it. This whole process takes me around 15 minutes.


Why a wok?

You might not expect to see a pasta topping cooked in a wok, but woks are much more versatile than most people imagine and are a better choice for many recipes besides stir fry. It’s actually a really convenient way to bring out flavors and colors with high heat using minimal oil and without overcooking. You can use a wok for everything from eggs and bacon to searing stew meat before a braise. Food does not stick to a properly seasoned wok, and they are easy to clean.

Buying the right kind of wok is important. If you are tempted to buy a wok with a non-stick coating, please think again. (click here to read an article describing how toxic non-stick coatings can be)


Obviously, if you are vegan or don’t eat pork, skip the pancetta. Instead, you can add Meyer lemon zest and a few pecans, walnuts or toasted pine nuts. If you don’t eat cheese, it’s fine without it.

Olive oil is important. If you only have cooking olive oil, don’t drizzle it over your pasta. There is a big difference between olive oil for cooking vs finishing (both in taste and in price). For this dish, I like an oil that has a fruity flavor.

You can use stuffed pastas, such as ravioli, or fresh small pastas, like penne. Long pastas don’t work so well with this dish because garbanzo beans are round and not easy to get on a fork with spaghetti.

You’ll notice there are no onions or garlic in this recipe, so if you know someone who doesn’t or can’t eat alliums, this is a delicious, no-compromises dish for people who eschew onions and garlic.


Get a wok, really, you’ll love it. Plus, here’s the absolute best advice on how to cook with one.

Learn about choosing safe, non-toxic cookware.

Can’t find smoked salt? Here’s my favorite: Halen Mon oak smoked sea salt.

Here are our buying guides on choosing the best produce.

Are you a pork eater? Learn about choosing high welfare pork here.

Can’t find fresh chickpeas where you live? No worries, because they are actually pretty easy to grow. Consider growing a few chickpeas in large containers or in the ground. They are beautiful plants and will provide a generous harvest.

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