The Year In Food » Fine Seasonal Eating

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Preserved Lemon + Chickpea Pasta with Parsley Pesto


Talking with my father on the phone last week, he wondered why the heck the structure and content of my blog was changing. He thought y’all would want to know what was going on, too. Isn’t that sweet? There’s not too much change, really: I’ve just created a schedule (Tuesday and Friday, every week!), and broadened the scope of what I produce. I’ve done this to keep myself inspired, and it’s working. I was by no means in a slump before, but now I feel extra enthusiastic. It is so awesome to have more focus: to bookmark interesting and inspiring stuff all over the internet throughout the week, and to deeply consider the nuance and tone of colors in produce. I kind of missed the structure that the Seasonal Food Guide provided, and now I have something new to anchor both myself and this place.


Although it is not spring, at all, something in this fresh start feels very springlike. It’s influencing the food I make, too: there seems to be a penchant for bright, vibrant foods rather than the muted earth tones so common to slow-cooked winter meals. I’m okay with that.


The preserved lemon is kind of amazing in this context. That and this simple parsley pesto bring the pasta to life. The chickpeas are first sauteed in a little olive oil and garlic, giving them a creamy interior and crisped exterior. Throw in some young spinach leaves and you’re set. This is all kinds of easy goodness.


Serves 4

8 ounces pasta of choice (brown rice pasta used here)
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
15 ounce can of chickpeas, thoroughly drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coarsely chopped, fresh parsley
1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
2 quarters preserved lemon, chopped (equal to 1/2 lemon; substitute zest + 1 tbsp lemon juice if no preserved lemons on hand)
1/3 cup reserved pasta water
sea salt + freshly ground black pepper to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a drizzle of olive oil and then cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water and then drain. Set aside in pot to keep warm

While pasta is cooking, heat a medium skillet over a medium low flame. Add two teaspoons olive oil. Add one clove of the minced garlic and stir for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chickpeas. Saute for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. Combine the remaining clove of garlic with the 1/3 cup of olive oil, the parsley and the almonds. Puree in a food processor until a coarse paste has formed.

Toss the warm pasta with the spinach leaves to wilt them. Add the pesto, chickpeas, preserved lemons and gently toss. If a little dry, add some of the reserved pasta water for creaminess.

Taste to see if the preserved lemons provide enough salt. Season to taste with sea salt if desired, along with freshly cracked black pepper. Best served immediately.

  • kate - This looks fantastic! I’m always forgetting about the jar of preserved lemons in the back of my fridge, so I’m glad to have a new recipe to use them in.ReplyCancel

  • sreebindu - pastaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa :) yumm fav combo..pasta and chick pea =)ReplyCancel

  • Megan Gordon - Beautiful! Spring! (Can we go there yet???)ReplyCancel

  • beach bum chix - this looks amazing…excited to try it!ReplyCancel

  • nicole franzen - yummy, anything pasta related with pesto, lemon etc. Has me drooling :) lol sounds delishReplyCancel

  • sara - holy goodness. i don’t often crave pasta, or even think photos of it look all that amazing, but man! i need this. i like the new structure. tell your dad i said so ;)ReplyCancel

  • erin @ from city to farm - Yum..yum!!! And you’re absolutely right. So many blogs have dense, hearty meals and I’m beyond ready for fresh and light. So this recipe is just the ticket!!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole @ Eat This Poem - LOVING your post today! Love the simplicity of lemon and parsley, and love that parsley is in the spotlight instead of simply a garnish. And anything with pasta usually has me slightly obsessed.ReplyCancel

  • la domestique - Loving your ideas and the bright, cheerful flavors in the recipe today! I’ve got a serious case of spring fever, though. :)ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - This sounds insanely good! It may be the prettiest pasta dish I’ve ever seen. How cute is it that your Dad is looking out for you?! :)ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie - Love it! This time of year I’m definitely looking for something bright and zingy and super colorful…and this has all of those things! Great stuff, Kim!ReplyCancel

  • SG - This looks heavenly. I really like the new structure and especially the focus on color – tiny shifts can really change perspective and energy.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah L. Bolla - This is calling me! Especially since I put lemon in everything, you’ve nailed the perfect combination here. Love this so much!ReplyCancel

  • strawberriesandpepper - I am ALWAYS a sucker for chickpeas. Any dish that is dressed with them is likely to be one I keep returning to. This sounds like an absolutely lovely dish, and I just happen to have a large bunch of parsley on hand.ReplyCancel

  • ileana - This picture is making me so hungry! I love chickpeas.ReplyCancel

  • silver - I never thought of chickpea’s and Pasta! Thank You for the inspiration (I rarely eat Cabbage but reading one of your previous post’s I actually cooked up some cabbage with coconut,cilantro and an indian spice called ajmo have no idea what it is called in english!)ReplyCancel

  • kickpleat - This looks like my kind of meal. I love all the ingredients and I’m sure putting them altogether is a stroke of genius. LOVE.ReplyCancel

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar - I absolutely love that pesto! Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Ambika - Love that bowl of pasta, looks so fresh and full of flavors!ReplyCancel

  • Anna @ the shady pine - I love making preserved lemons. It’s always so nice to open a jar of them from the pantry shelf. This dish looks and sounds divine!ReplyCancel

  • Angie@Angie's Recipes - This is my type of everyday meal! Looks really tasty and light.ReplyCancel

  • Vicky - SOunds like a perfect vegetarian meal! What are preserved lemons though? Not sure I’ve ever heard of them before…ReplyCancel

  • Rhonda - Preserving lemons right now, will be making this when they are done! Pinning it for later, thanks.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - This looks wonderful. As luck would have it I have preserved lemons ready to go (limes, in fact, but they seem to be about the same after all that time hanging out in salt). I love all the flavors you’ve combined and can’t wait!ReplyCancel

  • Kasey - Having a schedule is such a good way to stay motivated and organized. Matt strongly encouraged us to set one up and we generally try to stick to it! I’m excited to see this recipe, too, because I have a lovely jar of preserved lemons in my pantry and now have an exciting new use for it!ReplyCancel

  • charlotte au chocolat - just made this for dinner! perfect use of an almost withering bunch of parsley… super delicious! thank you :)ReplyCancel

  • Linda - I never heard of preserved lemon. This looks wonderful and I will try it once I figure out the lemon.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberley - Hey all! I’ve included a link for making preserved lemons above. And thanks for all of the awesome feedback! It really makes my day.ReplyCancel

  • Irene - This pasta looks delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Kiran @ - The best pasta’s are the ones made with fresh ingredients and without any fussy cooking methods.

    This is divine :DReplyCancel

  • Laura {gourmettenyc} - This pasta dish looks absolutely delicious. I love the incorporation of chickpeas.ReplyCancel

  • Julia - This pasta dish looks so delicious… a nifty, but still every day recipe! Love your pictures as well!ReplyCancel

  • The Sunday Best: I Spy Neon Accents and Dressy Veggies | Twenty Two - […] Preserved Lemon + Chickpea Pasta with Parsley Pesto: Get out of your marina and meatball pasta funk with this parsley pesto and chickpea revamp. (The Year In Food) […]ReplyCancel

  • Kate - I love your new structure, and I love this recipe. I got curious about preserved lemons when I read all about them in Mourad. I bought a couple at a local gourmet shop instead of making my own, and this fresh pasta recipe looks like the perfect application for them!ReplyCancel

  • rubyclaire - This was really light and fresh, however I didn’t have preserved lemons and felt that if I did, it would have really made the flavors more dynamic. This post has inspired me to get a jar brewing for the next time i revisit this dish. I really liked the chickpeas cooked! The parsley pesto was very good too. Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela - I’m going to make this, but instead go with basil pesto. I froze a bunch of pesto cubes a few months ago fresh from our garden and have been finding new ways to use them. Thanks for this! :)ReplyCancel

  • PRESERVED LEMONS » The Year In Food - […] hand in the spring and summer. Their intense, puckery flavor is unbelievably versatile: my recent Preserved Lemon and Chickpea Pasta and last year’s Roast Cornish Game Hen with Preserved Lemons (try it with chicken too!) are […]ReplyCancel

  • 101 Vegetarian and Vegan St Patrick's Day Recipes - […] Green Bean Fries 67. Lemon and Chickpea Pasta 68. Hearty Irish Lager Stew 69. Spinach Pancakes 70. Cauliflower Colcannon 71. Spinach Ice Cream […]ReplyCancel

  • Georgie Valenti - Decisive to try this but I never had much success with parsley pesto, the two times I made it it was too garlicky…

    I am big on garlic, but my hubby not so much, can’t wait to report back on how this worked out

    Thanks againReplyCancel

  • Ali - Although we should eat :)))ReplyCancel

  • desiree - I made this last night for my boyfriend and I. It was so delicious. One of the best spaghetti’s I’ve had. So pleased. Thank you for sharing the recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Angel_Twins - I love pasta. I will try this recipe. Can’t wait to cook for my family.ReplyCancel

  • O du viet nhat - I’m sorry people today for writing thank you letters! Since yesterday all day, I was dizzy and dizzy so I did not concentrate on writing. Indeed, I am very happy that yesterday I received almost a hundred greetings on facebook and the phone. My friendlist has only 4999 friends so I am happy to read how many unloved, listen to how many good songs. Facebook is awesome! My grandparents and brother also called to greet me so I was happy.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - I was looking for another recipe to use my preserved lemons and came across this. I had to sub pine nuts for the almonds because I’m allergic to almonds. Hubby and I thought it was unbelievable, and we have added it to our rotation of periodic vegan meals.ReplyCancel

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