Spaghetti with Tuscan Kale & Chickpeas

In Healthy Dinner Recipes/ Recipes

Spaghetti with Tuscan Kale & Chickpeas | A Couple Cooks

Spaghetti with Tuscan Kale & Chickpeas | A Couple Cooks

Spaghetti with Tuscan Kale & Chickpeas | A Couple Cooks

Spaghetti with Tuscan Kale & Chickpeas | A Couple Cooks

For the past 5 plus years Alex and I have been dedicated to sharing with you where our passion for people, life, and art intersect: simple meatless meals, healthy, whole food ideas, and inspiration for living well. We’re pretty transparent about the fact that it hasn’t always been this way. When Alex confessed on a recent podcast that he used to be a fast food junkie, a friend of mine mentioned she could not believe at one time he ate chili cheese burritos all day every day. Ha! Friends, this was a reality. There’s no one as surprised as we are to be doing what we do today.

Just how did we make it from fast food to cooking at home? We have a few tips and tricks, but they’re far from glamorous. One of the best is: practice, practice, practice. Some of you may remember hearing me confess that I grew up as a classically-trained musician. I don’t talk about it much since there’s a lot to unpack there (I’ll delve into it more someday, if you’d like?), but the biggest theme of all of those years was practice. I was constantly practicing, on an endless cycle of eat-practice-sleep-eat-practice-sleep. Perhaps I was a little intense about it (yes), but in all those hours I was able to get endless real-life experience that I could never have had otherwise.

I loved Alex’s quote from our latest podcast (last pod-reference, I promise!) that the great thing about food is that we have a chance to practice every single day. That means, if you take up cooking as a hobby, you have a built-in chance to practice that hobby every day. AND it’s an activity easily shared with friends, roommates, husbands, wives, gf’s, bf’s, and kids, so that they can get in on the fun too. The more the merrier with this practice! (Versus my sad self all alone in the practice room. See, I said it was a long story.)

A Couple Cooks Podcast

Which brings me to this recipe. We’re constantly on the lookout for simple, easy weeknight meals, and part of that practicing is learning what we can whip up in a short time that also happens to be mind-blowingly good — not as simple as it sounds. Alex loves to experiment with new and unexpected flavors, and the other night he whipped up a healthy-ish pasta that was on point: garlic-infused olive oil, dark, leafy Tuscan kale, and chickpeas tossed with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of Old Bay. Unexpected flavors, but so, so good. And it’s on the table in 30 minutes — like a real person’s 30 minutes, not that lofty magazine recipe’s too good to be true 30 minutes.

Along with the seasonings, the biggest flavor factor in this dish is the olive oil. For this dish, we used our favorite olive oil out of California called California Olive Ranch. We love their product because the flavor is so pronounced; much more flavorful than your typical olive oil. It’s perfect for any type of simple pasta outside of this recipe. A couple of interesting olive oil facts to close us out:

  • It’s good for you: Incorporating olive oil as a part of your daily diet has shown to prevent cancers, promote heart health, lower blood pressure, and decrease risk of diabetes.
  • It’s a fruit juice: Olive oil comes from the flesh of the olive. If you live near an olive tree try this: pick a fruit and smash it in your palm. You will have both water and olive oil on your hand. For that reason olive oil is considered a raw fruit juice. It is a healthy mono-unsaturated fat that is extracted with a simple crushing process, using no chemicals or solvents like other refined oils.

We hope you enjoy the recipe, and let us know what other recipes you’re trying out in your daily practice :)


Spaghetti with Tuscan Kale & Chickpeas

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 4


This recipe relies on the salted pasta water and the salt in the Old Bay seasoning for flavor. If it for some reason is not salty enough, add a bit of kosher salt at the end. We tested several times and felt this method yielded the best overall flavor.


  • 12 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
  • 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (6 to 8 cups chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (we used California Olive Ranch)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • Kosher salt


  1. Bring a salted pot of water to a boil (add about 1 tablespoon of kosher salt to the water). Break noodles in half before boiling, then boil until al dente.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Remove the stems from the kale and chop it. Peel 2 garlic cloves.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil with whole cloves of garlic. Once warm, add chickpeas and cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, and 1 pinch red pepper flakes and stir to combine.
  4. Add kale and saute until the greens are reduced, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the pasta, then stir to fully combine. Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream. Remove the whole garlic cloves and serve immediately.

This post is sponsored by California Olive Ranch. All opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the partners who keep A Couple Cooks in action!


About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.


  • Reply
    February 14, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    Looks like a great Meatless Monday recipe! Is it worth considering substituting greek yogurt for sour cream? I generally have full fat greek yogurt on hand. Would it curdle in the recipe?

    • Reply
      February 15, 2016 at 9:42 am

      I think the Greek yogurt would work — the overall flavor wouldn’t be quite as rich. Just make sure you turn off the heat before you stir it in :)

      • Reply
        February 22, 2016 at 11:29 am

        Awesome… my meatless Monday plan is going into action! Loving the podcasts BTW. As a late-comer, I’ve been catching up and getting good inspiration.

        • Reply
          February 23, 2016 at 10:58 am

          Thank you so much — so glad you’re enjoying the podcast! That means a lot. Let us know if you tried this!

  • Reply
    February 15, 2016 at 7:23 am

    It sounds so lovely and I love it’s simplicity. Also you two make me smile, totally #couplegoals right there! Have a fantastic week!!

    • Reply
      February 23, 2016 at 11:45 am

      Haha, you are sweet! We’ll have to start a #couplegoals conversation – love that!

  • Reply
    Jay Dee
    February 15, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Any suggestions on what to do as a substituent for sour cream? The wife is lactose intolerant but this looks too yummy to not make.

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    February 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    I really enjoyed listening to your interview last week over on Marriage is Funny. I thought you both had such good insights. Though I’m still skeptical of Alex’s proclamation that celery is the best vegetable. ;-)

    And yes, please unpack more of your story about being a classically-trained musician! Would love to hear more about how it has influenced you but also maybe how you’ve chosen to deviate from the training a bit, for the better, if it applies. I think we can all learn from this idea that our past is a part of our story but it doesn’t have to define us today.

    • Reply
      February 23, 2016 at 3:47 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed Marriage is Funny! We had a blast. I agree, celery is a bit of an underdog… :) Thanks for the feedback about being a musician! I’d love to share more about that in an upcoming post…I love what you said about our past not defining us. I bet there are many out there who feel the same!

  • Reply
    February 15, 2016 at 2:54 pm

    Kale and beans of any kind with pasta is one of my favorite back of the pocket meals. I usually rely on a bit of butter and a lot of parm to flavor my pasta but sour cream and old bay sounds so unexpected I’m going to have to try it.

    • Reply
      February 23, 2016 at 3:48 pm

      We are the same — usually drench in olive oil and cheese, right? This was very unexpected — Alex made it for me randomly and I loved it. Let us know if you try it out!

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