Pasta with Barbeque Sauce

Pasta in Barbecue Sauce

This recipe would likely make an Italian chef clasp their chest with both hands and yell “Blasphemy!” or whatever the word is for that in Italian, but here’s what I say: Counter-intuitive cooking, just like counter-intuitive anything, often ends up being the most fun. And who says there have to be any rules in the kitchen anyway?

Barbeque sauce is one of those condiments I get an uncanny craving for each time spring rolls around. Maybe it’s the sight and smells floating around from all those backyard barbeques in my neighborhood. And I have this great barbeque sauce recipe that I can put together in less than 10 minutes, with stuff I usually have lying around the kitchen. I tend to cook it up at least a couple of times each summer and it keeps forever in the refrigerator, ready when I am.

But for a vegan, using barbeque sauce– which tends to have very strong albeit alluring flavors– is not as easy as slapping it on some meat. And you can only bake your tofu and tempeh in it so many times. This week, after a long day at work and after tackling a sinkful of dishes (our dishwasher is on the blink), I wanted to spend as little time in the kitchen as I humanly could and make a fun, healthy dish we would enjoy. That’s when it hit me: I’d cook up some pasta and mix it up with some barbeque sauce. Splendido!

Of course, I wasn’t as confident then as I sound now, because I had no idea how it would turn out. To make the dish more substantial, I threw in some kala chana, deep-brown chickpeas found in Indian stores that cook up more al-dente than regular chickpeas do and have a great, meaty flavor. Use regular chickpeas or any legume if you would rather. I also added some cauliflowers and some biting-green capers for more texture and flavor.

I was really surprised by how wonderful this dish tasted. The barbeque sauce was  perfect with the whole-wheat shell pasta I used, and it coated the cauliflower nicely, giving this bland but delicious vegetable a smoky richness that was amazing.

Time for the recipe now. I’ve been slow with blogging these last few days because I’ve been really busy at work– thanks to those of you who missed me and wrote in to ask. But I am back now, and hope to keep writing as often as I can.

Ciao, all, and enjoy the recipe!

Pasta in Barbecue Sauce


Shell Pasta In Barbeque Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian fusion
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound shell pasta (use any other shape)
  • ½ large head or 1 small head of cauliflower, separated into small florets
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked until tender.
  • 1 to 1½ cups of barbeque sauce (adjust per your tastebuds)
  • ¼ cup of capers.
  • For Barbeque Sauce:
  • 1 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup tamari (use soy sauce if you can't find this)
  1. Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions, or until al dente.
  3. In the last five minutes of cooking add to it the cauliflower separated into small florets.
  4. Add the cauliflower and pasta in a bowl. Add to it the kala chana, barbecue sauce and capers.
  5. Mix well and serve.

Pasta in Barbecue Sauce
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  1. says

    Brilliant! I love doing things like that. I once put soy sauce in my balsamic vinegrette, and it was really good-LOL! Barbecue pasta sounds great!

  2. says

    I am afraid this sounds just awful to my taste. You said you wanted to hear all the comments! I am not a barbecue fan…never ate it and the smell is just wrong to me some how. The combo of pasta and chickpeas and cauliflower sounds good and I could see a tomato-curry sauce on it.

  3. says

    Blogger crashed last week, taking some of your comments with it. I didn’t want you to think your words are lost, so I’m pasting them below. Thanks, all!

    Barbecue pasta looks inviting, love the way u prepared ur sauce, thanks for sharing.–Priya

    Wow yummy pasta –Sharmilee

    Brilliant! I love doing things like that. I once put soy sauce in my balsamic vinegrette, and it was really good-LOL! Barbecue pasta sounds great! –VegSpinz

  4. says

    Anthony, glad you liked it. :) Thanks for the feedback.

    Elizabeth, that’s really a matter of personal opinion, and there are many people in this world who do love barbeque sauce, me included. Personally, I am not a fan of tomato sauce. To each his/her own, I guess

  5. Anonymous says

    Hey vaishali,

    Where are you dear? Its been long longgggggggggggg time that we have seen you on the blog with your motivating and lipsmacking recipes.And also, brainstorming articles.

    Sorry, if I was too casual in addressing you, but i just felt to do that.
    Come soon,
    God Bless,

  6. says

    Bess K. sent me to your blog since I’m vegan too and I love it!! I haven’t tried any recipes yet but keep an eye on them… This one looks like a simple one to keep in mind for my BBQ sauce cravings too (which I get far too often right now.) Thanks!

  7. says

    I finally got around to making this, now that it’s warming up in Australia! I ended up using the backyard BBQ recipe from veganomicon and using kale as my veggie (along with some soy curls), but the inspiration was all you! This was such a great idea – so simple, but something I wouldn’t have thought to do myself. My husband was skeptical of the concept, but we both loved it!

  8. says

    Blasfemia! it comes another Italian with “weird” tastes.. 😛
    Well, after eating and loving the Japanese “naporitan” (spaghetti with ketchup, corn and other things an Italian would never ever put onto his pasta)..I am proud to say that I’m fighting against my Italian blood by trying out new sauces for my pasta!
    Thanks for the recipe! ^^

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