The eagle-eyed among you (all of you?) may have noticed the absence of any small, black-skinned oval beans in this pot. Do you feel cheated? Were you hoping to see dots of creamy, ebony-skinned beans caught up in a tangle of saucy pasta and wholesome greens? Well, even if you were – and that is another direction this recipe can lead you – please believe me when I tell you that black beans are present – just in the form of pasta.
You will notice if you even glance at the archive that I am not really a pasta person. Not because of any anti-carb thing going on – heaven’s no, just look at my toast-filled feed on Instagram – just really that we tend to fancy other things instead. I don’t really do baked potatoes either, although I have nothing against them in principle, especially with an oven-crisped, Maldon-salted skin.
If I am honest it is probably that I would prefer both with butter. And cheese. And not really in moderation. So, I guess not having much in the way of pasta and baked potatoes leads me from temptation. For the most part (My family may be laughing if they are reading this. My last visit to an Italian restaurant saw me tackling a comforting pile of creamy pesto pasta. Go figure.).
Pasta is however the saviour of the time-poor cook. Or the cook with toddlers needing cuddled, homework needing monitored, petty fights to referee. So, pasta is a fact of life. But does it always need to be wheat – whether white or wholemeal? Of course not.
Most of us will have seen some gluten-free pastas for sale on our local grocer’s shelves. Maybe it is even your go-to pasta, having ditched the real thing as such choices became available. Over the years I have given quite a few a try – and been singularly unimpressed. Mostly it’s been the texture. Perhaps it has been my fault in pretty much ignoring packet directions. But I recently read about black bean pasta and, with disregard for previous negative experiences, decided I needed it in my life. Only two ingredients on the label – woo hoo! Duly purchased from Holland & Barrett (they were the only ones that seem to stock it in the UK) I boiled it up and, readers, it is delicious. Firm, very gently beany, sexy (!) – we all loved it.
I’m not saying ooh go out and get this particular pasta: this easy recipe will be just fine and dandy with whatever is your favourite linguine-type pasta. But if you fancy a punt on something really rather different but reassuringly familiar, this is a sure bet. Add black beans if you like, but believe me when I tell you that it is plenty filling without anything else added. And the spirals of courgette are not necessary either but I never can resist the opportunity to add another vegetable to a dish, and thin curls of courgette fit in perfectly.
I’ve given options for using harissa and not using harissa as this ingredient can be a bit spicy for some. Making homemade harissa helps control the heat (here is my harissa recipe, and feel free to halve or even quarter the chilli content, or use mild chillies) but bought stuff can be very good. The suggested honey or maple syrup tames this wild and exuberant North African staple, but obviously for children – if they dare eat black pasta – leave out the harissa and perhaps run some “normal” pasta sauce through it, or just golden nuggets of sautéed garlic.
The whole recipe quickly produces a luscious pile of slippery, fiery, kinda sweet noodles and vegetables to delve into with two forks, and a lusty appetite. Enjoy. xx
Honey-Harissa Greens and Black Bean Pasta (easy, vegan and gluten-free)
Pasta made lighter, spicier and maybe a little bit nicer.
Not keen on spice, or need to feed a young family? Leave out the spice and just add in sautéed slices of garlic, perhaps with a wee bowl of harissa for those who want it. xx
Inspired by a recipe from Danielle Omar of Food Confidence.
200g Tenderstem ® broccoli, purple sprouting broccoli or rapini, trimmed and sliced into 5-inch lengths (thicker stems halved too)
100g baby plum tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp best olive oil, divided use & some of it as smoked olive oil if liked
2 tbsp (or as you wish) rose harissa (mine, yours, or bought, such as Belazu or al’Fez brand)
1-2 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 medium courgette, julienne sliced or spiralised and tossed with a little lemon juice if you like
1 x 200g pack of Explore Asian organic black bean spaghetti or same of your chosen pasta
Options for garnishing: diced avocado, sautéed prawns, warmed black beans, toasted pumpkin seeds
1. Heat the oven to 180C/350F.
3. While the vegetables are in the oven boil a large saucepan of salted water and add in the pasta. Cook for six minutes, or as packet directs for al dente.
4. Using tongs or a wide slotted spoon, lift the pasta from the water and place it into a wide, flat-bottomed serving dish. Let some of the cooking water cling to the strands. Mix the harissa, honey or maple syrup and the remaining oil (using some smoked olive oil if you have any) and fork it through the pasta. Fork in the courgetti after the harissa is pretty well distributed. Top the dish with the roasted broccoli and tomatoes, and any garnishes as suggested above. Enjoy immediately.
Note: This is an exceptionally high fibre meal so be sure to drink plenty of water or other beverage to accommodate the fibre. In fact, it has loads of good stuff: one cup of cooked black bean spaghetti is 180 calories with 25 grams of plant protein and 12 grams of fibre, not too mention 13 percent of your RDA of calcium, and 36 percent of iron. Amazing!
Milder Version: In place of the harissa, sauté 2-3 sliced garlic cloves with the oil, adding a little thick balsamic vinegar if you like.
Related Recipes From Others
Warm Tenderstem and Samphire Bulgur Salad with Herbs – Tinned Tomatoes
Harissa Spring Greens & Butternut Squash – Foodbod
Mexican Black Bean Spaghetti – Veganosity
Vegan Black Bean Spaghetti with Paprika Sauce – Going Cavewoman
Black Bean Pasta with Olives and Cauliflower – Food Confidence
More Harissa-using Recipes from Food To Glow
Quick and Spicy Crab Parcels (with Vegan Option)