Everyday Pasta Sauce with Ground Beef and Chickpeas has been a regular in our 2020 meal rotation. We have managed to keep ground beef in the freezer along with plenty of pasta, chickpeas and tomatoes in the kitchen. Those ingredients serve as the foundation for this easy, hearty recipe. You can also make this recipe with ground turkey.
Oh yes, we have had a good supply of Italian red wine on hand to serve with this dish, too!
As we settled into our stay at home situation in mid-March, I was looking for ways to stretch ingredients to limit the amount of times we’d need to shop, be it online or in person.
Then there was talk of a potential meat shortage…
So I got into a routine of getting a couple of prepackaged one pound portions of grass-fed ground beef when it was available, and then making a few different meals from it.
By coming up with this everyday pasta sauce using just ½ lb of ground beef, I wound up with another half pound that could be used for something else…tacos or a burger option for our teenage son most typically.
What makes this recipe work
“This recipe is a keeper!” writes one recent reader.
This pasta sauce with ground beef is very hearty despite having just one half pound of meat. Adding chickpeas definitely is a great way to add substance in a nutritious way. You can definitely substitute other beans here — cannellini beans or other such white beans would be my inclination.I don’t add mushrooms every time I make this dish, but I tend to add some when I have them on hand. Before this year, I generally only used fresh mushrooms or dried. But in 2020 I started valuing frozen items that could be ready when I needed them, and found that I liked a version of frozen fire roasted mushrooms that I get from Wegman’s. Either fresh or frozen mushrooms works well in this recipe.
Making the dish healthy
One might not think of pasta with meat sauce as a particularly healthy dish, but the way we prepare it, I’d definitely put this in the healthy column.
We use whole wheat pasta here — I’ve been going with whole wheat elbows from Delallo. I find their whole wheat pasta to have very good flavor, along with the health benefits of going for whole grain. I’ve ordering this pasta online via the Delallo website. (not an affiliate link, I’m just a fan!).
Also generally go for grass-fed ground beef for this recipe. This type of beef tends to be leaner and contains more beneficial omega 3 fat, although not approaching the amounts you’d find in a fish like salmon. This article from the Mayo Clinic summarizes the potential health benefits.
Whether grass-fed or typical beef is used in the dish, the modest quantity of meat along with plant based protein and fiber from the chickpeas help make for a healthy dish. You can also substitute ground turkey for the beef if you like.
Adding a handful of greens that you might happen to have on hand is another way to make this dish healthier.
You can definitely choose to make this with the pasta or beef you typically go for, and you will have a tasty and economical meal for your family. Serve it with a green salad to round out the healthy dinner.
You could open any Sangiovese based Italian red wine to go with this tomato based pasta sauce with ground beef.
On the night we took the photos for this recipe, we paired the pasta dish with the 2018 Perticaia Umbria Rosso (appx. $15 , 14% ABV) , a blend of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Colorino and 10% Merlot.
This red wine has a nice bouquet of violets on the nose. Cherry fruit with herbal notes — rosemary I’d say, along with a bit of charcoal. A good wine for the price and solid pairing for this everyday pasta dish.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
Here are more of our favorite pasta recipes that can easily be made on a busy weeknight:
- Fettuccine Primavera
- Pasta with Red Lentils and Ginger
- Ziti with Sausage, Peppers and Onions
- Leftover Steak Pasta
Everyday Pasta Sauce with Ground Beef and Chickpeas
This pasta sauce recipe with ground beef and chickpeas has been a go to meal these days. Great way to stretch ground beef and use ingredients on hand.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: stove top
- Cuisine: Italian
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- ½ lb ground beef
- ¼ cup red wine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ to ½ cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon fresh basil
- 14.5 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- handful of greens such as kale, chopped (optional)
- 12 ozs elbow macaroni or other short pasta shape
- shredded Parmesan cheese to pass at table
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion, sauté until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef, breaking up with a heavy spoon. Cook until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the red wine and garlic. Simmer on medium low for a few minutes until the wine has been mostly absorbed.
- Add the diced tomatoes, stirring to combine with the beef. Add the oregano and dried basil. (if using fresh basil, save that until you are almost done cooking the sauce). Stir in greens at this time, too, if you are using them.
- Start cooking the pasta according to package instructions as the tomatoes and beef simmer.
- After the tomatoes have cooked for about 10 minutes, stir in the chickpeas. Break up a few against the side of the skillet with a heavy spoon, to thicken the sauce. Add the fresh basil at this time if using.
- Drain the pasta when cooked to your liking. Gradually stir the pasta into the skillet, so that the pasta and sauce are well combined.
- Plate the pasta, and top with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- My large cast iron skillet just fits the pasta with sauce. If you have a smaller skillet for the sauce, and don’t think the pasta will fit, you can combine the pasta and sauce in the pasta pan or a separate bowl.
- You can substitute ground turkey for the beef if you like.
- I often have a bit of kale around, leftover from making kale pesto or some other use. I like to use the rest of it in this pasta sauce. You can use other greens, too. Greens such as kale, collards or chard need more cooking time. If using baby spinach, add closer to the end of cooking.
- One reader notes she used “diluted red wine vinegar” instead of the red wine called for here, and it worked well.
Keywords: pasta with ground beef, ground beef and chickpeas, pasta sauce with ground beef