Happy Monday!

This past weekend was our 5-year dating anniversary. It seems like just yesterday I accidentally added my boyfriend on Facebook (funny story for another time…) and we had our first date on the edge of a canyon under the sunset. Many things have happened in five years– he was 22 and a senior in college, and I was just 19 and a sophomore when we met. We both graduated from college, got jobs, went on many great trips together, watched his sister get married and my sister graduate from college, moved in together this past year, and adopted our little schnoodle puppy. I can’t wait to see what our 5th year together will bring us. Lots of exciting things I imagine!

Capellini Pomodoro 5We’ve both been on a health kick for the past couple months. I’ve been trying to cook us dinners that have 500 calories or less and I have also been trying to replace meat with vegetarian protein sources. I love making pasta dishes, which I usually serve with breaded chicken or turkey ham. But I really have been trying to use more plant based proteins, so this time I had the idea of swapping out the meat for some roasted chickpeas!

These things are like candy. We couldn’t stop popping them into our mouths. When combined with the pasta, it really provides that difference in texture and adds a pop of saltiness. Roasting chickpeas fantastically brings out their nutty, savory flavor.

Capellini Pomodoro Pinterest 1

Another trick I have up my sleeve for reducing the calories in pasta dishes is to swap out half the pasta for veggie noodles. In this dish, I used my spiralizer to turn zucchini into “zoodles”. When combined with the angel hair, sauce, cheese and chickpeas, you hardly even notice they’re there (for those who aren’t big veggie people, like Nick). I happen to love them. They add a nice crunch which is a wonderful contrast with the soft pasta.
Capellini Pomodoro 4

 Here’s the recipe!

Lighter Capellini Pomodoro with Garlicky Roasted Chickpeas & Zoodles
Serves 4
  1. 3 Tbsp olive oil
  2. 3 tsp minced garlic
  3. 1 can (14.5oz) diced tomatoes, no salt added
  4. 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  5. 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  6. 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  7. 1 tsp basil
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 8oz angel hair pasta
  10. 3 zucchini, spiralized or julienned
  11. 1/4 cup parmesan + more for topping
For the chickpeas
  1. 1 can of chickpeas, no salt added
  2. 1 tsp olive oil
  3. 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  4. 1/2 tsp basil
For the chickpeas
  1. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, add to a small bowl with the olive oil, garlic salt and basil. Stir to combine. Add a piece of foil to a toaster oven tray and pour the chickpeas on top, in a single layer. Roast at 400F for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat olive oil and add garlic; cook until garlic is tender. Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, red pepper flakes, basil, and salt and heat through, stirring constantly, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, boil the angel hair pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  4. In another large pan, saute the zucchini noodles for 2-4 minutes on medium heat until soft.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the angel hair, zucchini, and the sauce. Add the parmesan cheese.
  6. Plate and top with an additional sprinkle of parmesan and the roasted chickpeas!
Zen & Spice https://zenandspice.com/
What is your favorite way to lighten up a dish? Any favorite plant based proteins?


  1. Congratulations on your anniversary! You’ll have to write about how you accidentally friended him ;) This looks so vibrant and fresh, I can’t wait to try it!

    1. Haha, I will someday :) Let me know how it turns out if you try the recipe!

  2. Happy 5 years! How cute!
    This looks so yummy! The perfect date night meal ;)

    1. We’ve definitely been munching on these chickpeas all weekend!

  3. I love everything about this pasta- from the zoodles to the chickpeas- it all sounds amazing! We’re definitely on the same wavelength with this one- I have a chickpea post coming up and I’m finally about to unbox the spiralizer that I got for Christmas.

    1. Yay, can’t wait to see what you do with the spiralizer! It’s probably my favorite kitchen appliance!

  4. This looks incredible, Emily! I love pasta but never thought to add chickpeas too- pinning!

    1. Chickpeas add that crunch and extra protein! Let me know if you try the combo! :)

  5. made this last night for dinner and it was incredible!!! YUM! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    1. Yay, thank you for trying my recipe! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!! :)

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