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Cacio and Pepe Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas

Cacio e Pepe Spaghetti Squash with Chickpeas is super easy to make and the perfect lightened up comfort food! Cacio e Pepe (aka “cheese and pepper”) gets a higher nutrition makeover in this version made with spaghetti squash instead of pasta!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: chickpeas, gluten-free, spaghetti squash
Author: Lora

Ingredients

  • SQUASH
  • 1 spaghetti squash approximately 2lbs
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • CHICKPEAS
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large leek white and light green parts only, roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove chopped fine
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups chickpeas
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese or pecorino if using real cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • SQUASH
  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking tray (or casserole) with parchment paper.
  • Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon (or ice-cream scooper) scrape out seeds and any stringy bits inside (keep the seeds to roast them, if you like).
  • Drizzle the olive oil on the inside. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Rub it all in.
  • Place squash cut side down on parchment lined trays. This recipe yields one squash (two halves). You could bake 4 halves (2 squash) at a time on a large baking sheet (just up the olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake 30-40 minutes until tender and the sides are nice and caramelized.
  • Let cool for 10 minutes (it will be very hot to touch!!). Using a spatula, carefully flip over and use a fork to separate the squash into spaghetti-like strands. Place the strands of squash in a serving bowl. Drizzle on some olive oil. Set aside.
  • If serving alone, add on the cheese, black pepper and another drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. If serving with the chickpeas, go on to the next step.
  • CHICKPEAS
  • While the squash is roasting, cook up the chickpeas. I used canned chickpeas, but if you cooked up your own fresh chickpeas, use the liquid you cooked them in.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until soft and wilted, about 10 minutes. Adjust the heat as necessary so as not to brown.
  • Add the chickpeas and 2 cups of broth (add broth if you're using canned and not using the liquid you cooked your chickpeas in)and bring to a simmer.
  • Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Add additional broth or water if it thickens too much. You want to have a little broth to serve it (but it’s not a chickpea soup). Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • SERVE
  • Spoon the chickpeas with the broth to a bowl. Top with some of the roasted spaghetti squash. Add on the vegan cheese (or grate on some pecorino if using regular cheese). Crack on some pepper. Drizzle on a little extra-virgin olive oil.