Simple Chickpea Bolognese

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Big plate filled with our recipe for healthy Chickpea Bolognese with Carrot Noodles

Guess what? Pasta got a makeover and it’s ridiculously delicious.

Bonus? It’s easy.

Oh, and there’s no meat, cheese, or noodles.

Who’s with me?!

Cast-iron skillet filled with ingredients for making our amazing Chickpea Bolognese sauce

I was inspired to make this recipe by my love for pasta (obviously).

I have a Boozy Red Wine Spaghetti recipe in our 31 Meals eCookbook, and I also have a tempeh meatball recipe that you all love! I was originally going to combine the two. However, I decided to switch things up and use my favorite plant-based protein of late – chickpeas! These little guys know no bounds.

Baking sheet with freshly roasted chickpeas and spices for making a healthy plant-based dinner

This bolognese is simple, requiring just 10 ingredients and 40 minutes to prepare!

While the chickpeas are roasting, prepare your sauce and (1-ingredient!) carrot noodles. This meal doesn’t get much easier.

Cast-iron skillet filled with our gluten-free vegan recipe of Chickpea BologneseBowl of Carrot Noodles made using a vegetable peeler

I think you guys are going to LOVE this recipe! It’s:

Flavorful
Comforting
Satisfying
Healthy
Plant-based
& Simple

Keep this bolognese on hand for easy, weeknight meals when the family wants pasta but you want something light and healthy, yet hearty. It’s the perfect compromise.

If you try this dish, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and don’t forget to take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! We love seeing what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Big plate of our Chickpea Bolognese with Carrot Noodles for a gluten-free plant-based dinner

Weeknight Chickpea Bolognese

Easy, flavorful, 10-ingredient chickpea bolognese over carrot noodles! A healthy, fast, satisfying plant-based meal!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Gold spoon and fork resting on a plate of Chickpea Bolognese over Carrot Noodles
4.9 from 49 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Course Entree
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Italian-Inspired, Vegan
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

CHICKPEAS

SAUCE

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (3 cloves yield ~1 1/2 Tbsp or 9 g)
  • 1/4 cup carrots (very finely diced)
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp dried or fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbsp vegan parmesan cheese (plus more to taste)
  • 1-2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as organic cane sugar or coconut sugar // optional)

CARROT NOODLES

  • 10 large carrots (ribboned with a vegetable peeler // or sub 8 ounces pasta of choice per 10 carrots)

FOR SERVING optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  • Add rinsed, dried chickpeas to a mixing bowl and toss with olive oil, oregano, salt, garlic powder, panko bread crumbs, and vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Place chickpeas on a baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crispy and light golden brown (see photo), then remove and set aside.
  • While chickpeas are baking, heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, garlic and carrots. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Remove skillet from heat, add tomato sauce, oregano, and vegan parmesan cheese, and stir. Place back over heat and bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and continue cooking to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  • Sample sauce and adjust seasonings as needed. Add sweetener of choice at this time if preferred (I went with 1 Tbsp coconut sugar, 1 Tbsp organic cane sugar // amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
  • To make carrot noodles, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add carrots and boil for 2-3 minutes (2 for al dente, 3 for more tender noodles). Drain and set aside.
  • Add 3/4 of the baked chickpeas to the sauce (see photo) and stir.
  • To serve, top carrot noodles with sauce, remaining chickpeas, and any additional toppings (see options above).
  • Leftovers keep well (separate) in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat sauce in the microwave or saucepan. Add a little water to thin if too thick.

Notes

*Recipe inspired by/loosely adapted from Emeril Lagasse.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with carrot noodles and no additional toppings (calculated without any additional sweetener).

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 292 Carbohydrates: 43.2 g Protein: 10.2 g Fat: 10.4 g Saturated Fat: 1.5 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 943 mg Fiber: 7.2 g Sugar: 16.7 g

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  1. Jahleah says

    Apparently my partner’s fave of all my lockdown dishes. Though I’m slightly offended by the sentiment as I’ve really done it up. Very tasty though. Used reg pasta

  2. Loni says

    I had no idea that carrots would make such a delicious pasta. My family loved the recipe and we’ll definitely be making this again. Thank you for making it so easy to eat healthy.

  3. Aubrey says

    I make this recipe almost every single week! I’m a teacher, so I love being able to come home after work and grab almost everything out of the pantry. I stockpile canned tomato sauce and chickpeas largely so I can make this dish! I personally like to use regular pasta instead of carrot noodles (bc carb addict) but I still use carrots in the sauce. I’m also a spice head so I love adding a hearty shake of red pepper flakes to the sauce, as well as 1/2 tablespoon of agave to balance it out. Thank you for an AMAZING and convenient meal, Dana!!!

  4. Bijoyini says

    Hi – this recipe looks delicious but I have a question. I have made pasta sauce in a cast iron skillet before (as this recipe calls for) and it was a disaster. The acid from the tomatoes ruined my skillet (temporarily until I could season it back to life) and the iron from the skillet absolutely ruined my tomato sauce (we had to throw it away). I read, online, that one shouldn’t make tomato based dishes in iron skillets. SO my question is ” Did you not have this issue?” Am very curious.

    Thanks!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      I tend to make my pasta sauces in a stainless steel pot or dutch oven now. I agree – a cast iron can be a bit harsh on cast irons.

  5. Kendell says

    Deeee-lish! Strongly recommend the homemade parmesan. I will definitely be putting this into the rotation of easy weeknight meals!

  6. amy w strait says

    This was delicious!! I have made it a couple times. It’s one of my husbands’ favorites. Do you have an idea how to make this in the instant pot? I’m moving more toward that but love your recipes – just wondering how to convert them to the IP. Thank you!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Amy, We’re so glad you both enjoy it, Amy! Thanks for sharing! We haven’t experimented with the Instant Pot so we don’t have any suggestions there. Let us know if you do some experimenting!

  7. Kaye says

    I got a super good deal on a case of canned chickpeas and a case of organic tomato sauce at a scratch-and-dent store, so here I am. I have all of these ingredients and the comments have convinced me: this is dinner tomorrow. :)

  8. Katie says

    What a great recipe! So easy to make, and excellent flavor with the acidity of the tomatoes and rich cheesey flavour from the “parmesan cheese.” The chickpeas are excellent in this and I love finding new ways to integrate them into my dishes. Highly recommend you make this dish asap.
    Also, the vegan parm is so fantastic and I think it makes this dish so much more. So if you’re very wary about the taste of nutritional yeast, like I am, then I suggest just going for it and making the vegan parm because you won’t regret it!
    Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  9. Rebecca says

    What i normally do when it gets to 4.30pm is gaze hopelessly into my pantry/fridge and google the ingredients i have in the hope something yummy pops up to inspire me. The number of times that the recipe i find turns out to be yours. I should skip the google search and just search your site! So here i am making anotherof your delicious recipes. Who knew a sad tin of chickpeas and some old carrots could be so good! Thank you again for helping feed my kids good stuff!!

  10. Darryl Venter says

    Like to find simple recipes that don’t require lots of ingredients and good protein content with either beans, split peas, lentils vegetarian dish for either pasta or other dish or meal. Simple is the key word. No oven cooking please. Regards Darryl

  11. Taryn says

    Meat eater husband loved it! It was SO good! I did add in some angel hair pasta for the meat eater and also carb lover husband, but he was super into the carrot noodles so I think I’ve hooked him!

  12. Arla Salcedo says

    Hi! I’ve made lentil meatballs following your recipe. Now I want to pair them with carrot noodles, so I was wondering if Ihave to peel them first before boiling? Thanks! :)

  13. Amanda says

    L I T E R A L L Y the best meal I’ve had in a long time. The chickpeas really make this dish. The flavor and crunchiness of them are amazing, I would make them alone for a snack. I didn’t have oregano so I left that out of the chickpea seasoning and added extra basil in the sauce in replace of it. I did not add any sweetner in the sauce but a few extra dashes of salt and parm cheese. Topped with basil and red pepper flakes. I will def make this many times over!

  14. Rose says

    I haven’t made this recipe yet but I will try it. My mother has been making Chicken Pea Bolognese for years, I had it many times growing up in a large Italian family. It was cheap and flavorful. Her version was very simple: chopped onion and garlic sauteed in olive oil, add tomato sauce, chick peas and simmer for 10 minutes; serve over pasta, add chopped basil at the end. Molto Bene!

  15. Shawn says

    I love your website . but ads are really killing it . they shouldnt be allowed to take over the entire screen wothout you clicking on it which happens constantly . then you try and x off and it takes forever or takes you off the page entirely . very frustrating

  16. Jazimine says

    I felt this recipe was quick, easy, and most items were already in my pantry. I didn’t have breadcrumbs so I added some nutritional yeast as another commenter did. I also put the chickpeas in the food processor to avoid texture issues for my toddler. I used wheat noodles cut finely (for my toddler). It was a success overall. Will play with seasonings a bit more next time ?

  17. Rachel says

    This has become a staple in our house. I make it as is (but sometimes leave out the vegan parm if I don’t have it on hand) and it is perfect. I use pasta instead of carrot noodles. Such a wonderful meal. Thank you for another winner Dana!

  18. Maria says

    I made this using tomato passata with a little water, salt and pepper instead of tomato sauce. Simmered it for about 12 minutes and served over wholewheat pasta. A-ma-zing!!

  19. Ayca says

    sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good! I came across this recipe while looking for a way of consuming insane quantities of carrots I at in my fridge and now I’m slightly addicted to it! will go get more carrots soon just to make more of this delicious meal!

  20. andrea says

    This has become a staple in my dinner rotations, simple and delicious! I usually add some broccoli or another green veggie to it yum!

  21. Gabby says

    This was so great the whole family enjoyed it! Made a couple tweaks on chickpeas I added salt free lemon pepper and a little extra nutritional yeast since I didn’t have bread crumbs. Sauce I added onions and mushrooms, I never thought canned tomato sauce could taste so good! Pasta I did half zucchini noodles and half brown rice. Love all your recipes and when the husband, 1 and 3 yr olds all lick their plates I know it’s a win! Thank you!!

  22. Kurt Von Bosse says

    Overall this is a very good recipe; however, 10 carrots? I find that one carrot per serving is more than enough. In fact some people may find that 1 shredded carrot is enough for 2 people. Also, this recipe calls for 1 Tbsp of oregano. That is too much, it overpowers the sauce, 1 tsp is sufficient and I would add 1/2 to 1 tsp or dried basil.

  23. Bianca Borges says

    HANDS DOWN TO THE BEST VEGAN RECIPE I HAVE EVER MADE! This is beyond heavenly scrumptious!!’ I have never left a comment on any of the hundreds of vegan recipes I have made before because, you know. This chickpea bolognese was mind-blowing! Thank you, Dana. Thank you for bringing health, amazing flavors, and heartiness together! I am so grateful to you!!!!!

  24. Mary says

    Has anyone tried to make this as a meal prep meal (5 batches for lunches or dinners M-F)? If so does it reheat well and how many carrots did you use?

  25. Charlotte Garcia says

    Super delicious and easy to make! I added some paprika and hot chilli powder too to give it a kick!

  26. Dee says

    This is SO satisfying, comforting and full of flavor. So delish and def a new fave :) Added 1 Tbsp of nutritional yeast to both the sauce and the chickpeas for added protein and it turned out GREAT :)

    Thanks Dana! :)

  27. Rachel says

    I made this exactly as written (except I used pasta instead of carrot noodles) and it was just perfect! I loved the coating on the chickpeas and the sauce had such a great flavor. Thank you for another delicious meal!

  28. sandra espinosa says

    I made this chickpea Bolognese with spaghetti squash as you recommended in another post. It was beyond scrumptious! thank you!!

  29. Kelley says

    This was dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious – and easy! We served the sauce on spiralized raw zucchini (we were out of carrots) and it worked perfectly. For kids who might not go for the chic peas, we mashed them (the chic peas, not the kids!) into the sauce for our little guy, and all was well in his world. Another MB success!

  30. Cindyk says

    Delicious! I added an onion, shredded the carrot in the sauce, used canned chopped tomatoes, and put it on rice pasta. It was hearty, warm and satisfying. Mmmmmm!

  31. Jenny says

    This is the first recipe from this website that I’ve made and it was AWESOME! My carrot hating hubby had seconds!! Our toddler couldn’t get enough, either. I can’t wait to use the sauce with other bases, as well. Thank you, Dana!

  32. Nika says

    This was so yummy!!! I used zucchini instead of carrot and used roasted spaghetti squash. The flavor were perfect and it was a good hearty meal. I will definitely make this again.

  33. Bea N. says

    Just made this for the first time tonight, we got home late from a long night of training and this came together so quickly! I needed to double the recipe so it would last us a couple days but didn’t have enough sauce so I roasted a bunch of cherry tomatoes until they blistered and mashed them and the roasted chickpeas with a potato masher in the sauce pot. Sauteed garlic and carrots in water instead of oil for the sauce and used almond meal instead of breadcrumbs on the chickpeas. Added steamed kale and fresh basil. Gluten free/oil free/—ALL THE THINGS FREE BUT SOOOOOOOOO GOOD! I love all of your recipes that I’ve tried so far. Thank you so much- your palette is perfection.

  34. Rebecca says

    I may be a bit late to the party but I just HAD to leave a comment – this recipe was delicious! I was a little skeptical at first because I was craving pasta and as much as I love carrots, thought they could never fool me when used like this but wow was I wrong. I added sweetcorn to mine and it came out beautifully. I can only applaud your creativity!

  35. Kat says

    Just had it for dinner… Quote from carnivore husband “I am a fan.” I did add some onion mushroom and a touch of red wine to the sauce, I also recommend salting the noodles slightly before applying sauce. All in all really delicious and gorgeous presentation. Thanks for the idea!

  36. Jeannette says

    Made this because I just had to try those carrot noodles. They were awesome!!! The chickpeas and sauce were awesome!!!

  37. Mehreen says

    Amazing recipe. DEFINITELY making this over and over. I’m so glad I tried the carrot noodles instead of using pasta!

  38. Marc says

    Were those dried chickpeas meant to be raw? If so I just cooked myself a ton of chickpeas and now don’t know what to do with them D:

  39. Joanna says

    Thank you so much for this recipe!
    I haven’t followed step by step, got the inspiration, but the idea of carrots as noodles swept me of my feet! They DO taste great and I feel like I can indulge this dish without my consciousness reminding me “you are eating pasta AGAIN”. Thanks a lot!

  40. Lori says

    step 4 is confusing: While chickpeas are baking, heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, garlic and carrots. Sauté for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.

    do you cook the carrots first before putting them in the pot to boil???

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Nope! Those carrots are for the sauce. The carrot NOODLES are separate and are only cooked in the boiling water. Hope that helps!

  41. Lisa says

    Thanks for this great idea; we bought a 25 lb bag of chick peas a few months ago and are always looking for ways to use them so we won’t get tired of them. I have a mild allergy to carrots so I’m going to try this next week with zucchini. I will post an update!

  42. Allyson says

    This recipe is amazing. I’m not a huge fan of carrots, but I decided to try this recipe, carrot noodles included. I was wonderfully surprised at how well the carrot noodles went with the breaded chickpeas and bolognese sauce. The chickpeas by themselves are also really good and could be used as a topping for salads or added to any number of other dishes. Overall, this is the perfect, healthly comfort food for any day.

  43. Jessica says

    Another winner, Dana! This came out so yum! Will definitely make again. I skipped the panko to keep it GF and it still came out with plenty of crunch factor.

  44. Valerie says

    Made this last night and it was the bomb! Doubled the chickpeas because I currently have 6 cans in my cupboard.
    LifeProTip for the carrots: lie them on your cutting board for more efficient shaving.
    I tried holding them over the bowl for the first 5 carrots, and they get break-y.
    Thanks for another great recipe, Dana!

  45. Jessi says

    Delicious and filling! I don’t know if I found the carrot noodles personally worth the effort, but they certainly worked well.

  46. Shannon bush says

    This is delish! I added some spicy sun dried tomatoes to the vegan parm last l made it and that give this recipe an extra kick. Used Spiralized zucchini instead of carrots. Easy to make too!

  47. Ingrid Meaker says

    I made this veggie friends while on holiday with them, and even their rather discerning (fussy…;o)) don loved it! If doubled, it makes a huge amount…happy fridge and freezer!

  48. Kristina says

    Delicious!!! A yummy, easy recipe that the kiddies loved! My youngest daughter even said “Mmm… Mama, I love the chichees (chickpeas)!” :)

  49. aleksandra says

    You, are a genius!! Instead of the carrot “pasta” I’ll probably use spaghetti squash, but the chickpeas…I’m drooling!

  50. Michelle says

    I could live off this recipe for years. The chickpeas are delicious as well as the sauce. The carrots add a healthy alternative to noodles and everything together is perfect for a delicious spaghetti alternative!

  51. Emily says

    This was so good and easy to make! I tweaked the sauce slightly based on what I had on hand, but the carrot noodles are genius and the chickpeas so delicious. Your recipes remain amongst my favorites! Thank you for your creativity and for keeping us, your readers, healthy and happy!!

  52. Samantha says

    I made this for supper tonight and it was SO good!! My husband and I are both stuffed. Surprisingly filling, indeed!! Thank you for consistently rocking our tummies worlds!

  53. Kathleen says

    Made this tonight for a girls’ night and it came out fantastic! I was too lazy to do the carrot noodles but will try that next tine. We both loved it and I’ll definitely make it again! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes as I transition to a more plant-based diet. Thanks!

  54. Sara says

    This is so dreamy! I made this with spaghetti squash instead and I’m obsessed, definitely going to be making this a lot in the fall/winter!

  55. jill says

    This looks like an amazing recipe wow! Great site I am new to it! I am just learning about chick peas – but I have dried chick peas – how do I cook a dried chick pea or should I be tossing for canned instead?

  56. Steph says

    Just made this for dinner…soooo good and so easy! My husband and I were totally amazed at how good the carrot noodles work. You are a genius! Thank You!

  57. Emma {Emma's Little Kitchen} says

    Chickpeas are the best thing EVERRRRR, love that you’ve thrown them into a good simple bolognase. Not sure I can give up the pasta though…

  58. Becca | Spices and Spatulas says

    What a great idea!! I can’t believe I’ve never seen this before, I am in love with the chickpea bolognese concept. Definitely making it this weekend! xo

  59. Ashley says

    Everyone’s always talking about zoodles, which I still haven’t tried due to lack of a “zoodle machine”. But hey, I have a vegetable peeler! I’m definitely going to try carrot noodles. I actually can’t believe I hadn’t already heard of this (carrot noodles) before.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Oh, it’s so easy! I’ve been doing it a lot lately, and it yields a perfectly tender veggie noodle, no special equipment required! Let me know how it goes, Ashley.

  60. dishing up the dirt says

    Pinned! Making this recipe next week. Also, chickpeas are my “spirit” legume (yes that’s a thing!!) Thanks for the inspiration! xo

  61. Liv Faye says

    Oh my god Dana, this is sheer genius! I’m in love with chickpeas at the moment too! The best part of it all is that I’ve got those ingredients right now, I’ll definitely be doing this for dinner. Would you say a meat eater (boyfriend) can like this?

  62. Pete says

    What is in canned tomato sauce? In the UK we cook more from ingredients and avoid factory produced products. What would you do to replace the canned item? Just a basic tomato sauce?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      It’s tomato puree that’s been cooked down and seasoned, usually with salt and a few other ingredients (think pepper, garlic powder, etc.)

  63. Carlos says

    I love this idea! Chickpeas is my favorite ingredient these days. I will try your recipe and I will let you know. Question- What flavor the roasted chickpeas will add to the dish?

  64. Leah says

    Saw this in my inbox and had to make it! I love that it’s all easy ingredients and things I already have in my cabinet and fridge. It’s very yummy! The sauce and chickpea “crust” were amazing together! Thank you for sharing.

  65. Emilie @ Emilie Eats says

    Chickpeas are honestly a miracle food! I definitely want to try this with potato noodles or turnip noodles (if you haven’t tried turnip noodles yet, DO IT! I use my Inspiralizer and boil them, and the bitterness cooks away and they are eerily similar to wheat noodles).

  66. Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry says

    I love pasta but lately the carbo loading makes me feel heavy and sluggish. These carrot noodles topped with chickpea tomato sauce sounds light, filling and refreshing.

  67. Lauren says

    I’ve been really getting into plant based foods and just bought a vegetable slicer. I’ve pinned this, thank you x

  68. Emily | Robust Recipes says

    Carrot noodles! I have made zucchini noodles, and even beet noodles, but I have never made carrot noodles. I will have to give them a try! Your bolognese sauce sounds delicious. Plus the chickpeas! I am sold! :)

  69. Sydney | Modern Granola says

    This is my kind of food! I’ve been craving carrot noodles lately, and now I have an excellent reason to hop to it. I love that you used crispy baked chickpeas, too! This sounds so heavenly. Must try!
    xx Sydney

  70. straycat says

    Yum! I love all your creative ways to use chickpeas! I am harvesting my last carrot crop now and am looking for yummy new ways to use carrots! Thanks!!!!

  71. Sabrina says

    I’m so with you Dana! Like 1000% (if that’s even possible..) this is just the recipe I needed and just in time for dinner preparations – the chickpeas are already in the oven and that sauce is just what the doctor ordered ;-) I just couldn’t help myself and had to taste a tiny spoonful and now I’m so ready to dig into a comforting dinner plate!

  72. Quetta Azmir says

    Thank you again for another Fantabulous Recipe! Did you secretly read my mind last night when I said, “Self I have a taste for some really Great Pasta Sauce?!” Voila! Your recipe arrives! The Carrot Ribbon Pasta Noodles are a weekly staple for me with Spinach Pesto. “Boring!” Your Creative Splendiferous idea of Chickpea Bolognese has sent my Taste buds and Tummy into a Tantalising Whirlwind! You deserve 10 Stars with this one Girlfriend! You are The Queen of Creative Fantabulous Recipes for The Tasty Tummy!

  73. Kristina says

    What a great reacipe. I love that the chickpeas are breaded and crunchy, gives another dimension to the sauce. It sounds delicious. I have some spahgetti squash at home and this will be perfect to add on top.

  74. Samantha @ThePlantedVegan says

    Love the idea of using carrots as noodles! I’ve never even thought to do that! Also roasted chickpeas are so yummy!