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gerla de boer vegetarian

Penne with spicy Flamingo peas and basil

  • Author: Gerla de Boer
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1x
  • Category: main course
  • Method: stove
  • Cuisine: Italian cuisine
  • Diet: Vegetarian


One of my favourite ways to serve pasta is with pulses. In the summer, I use Borlotti beans from the allotment. Another favourite is the Bengal gram, black chickpeas. For this recipe, I used the pink Flamingo peas.


  • 100 gram cooked Flamingo peas
  • prepare the Flamingo peas 7 hours before you start this recipe 
  • how to prepare Flamingo peas –  instructions
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 ts smoked paprika
  • 1 ts crushed Allepo chillies
  • 3 ts Acai paste 
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tin plum tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto, homemade or shop-bought
  • 100 gr chard, stalks and nerve removed
  • 150 gr. whole wheat penne
  • 100 gr. Feta
  • grated parmesan for serving
  • basil for serving


  • Wash the chard and squeeze the liquid out, better to use a salad centrifuge
  • Heat a large pot over a medium high heat, add the chickpeas, olive oil, paprika, crushed Allepo flakes, fennel, mustard seeds, onion powder, and a pinch of salt. Toss well to combine evenly. Cook, make sure you stir often avoiding to burn them until the chickpeas are golden crisp (about 5 minutes). Remove the chickpeas from the pan to a plate and set aside.
  • To the same pan, add the Acai paste and the tinned tomatoes – crushing them with a wooden spoon as you add them, add the pesto, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, occasionally stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. 
  • Just before the pasta is cooked, add the chard to the sauce and let it simmer until wilted.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to packages directions until al dente. Drain and then toss the pasta in the red sauce. 
  • Divide the pasta amongst two bowls. Top with the chickpeas, Feta and Parmesan. Garnish with shredded basil. 


You can use chickpeas if you don’t have Flamingo peas. Bengal gram (black chickpeas) would be my preferred choice.

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