Italian-Style Zucchini and Chickpea Sauté

This colorful, classic Italian side dish features a saucy medley of fork-tender veggies. Look for 6- to 7-inch zucchini with a vibrant green color for best results: Large zucchini tend to have more seeds and less flavor.

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • 1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices (4 cups)
  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • 1 cup oil-free marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 8 to 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped


  • Heat an extra-large skillet over medium. Add the first five ingredients (through thyme); cook 10 minutes, stirring often and adding water, 1 to 2 Tbsp. at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Add zucchini; cook 10 minutes more or until zucchini is tender. Stir in chickpeas, marinara sauce, and vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper. Heat through. Serve immediately garnished with basil.

Comments (44)

(5 from 27 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Simple, healthy, and excellent


Just made this and LOVED it. Very flavorful and comforting.


Very good and comforting. I turned up the heat and used the vinegar more so to deglaze the pan, then turned the heat down to add in the sauce. I added a handful of spinach. I see someone below added yellow peppers and mushrooms! I will definitely try that! This was a perfect weeknight meal. Quick and easy clean up! I may experiment with lightly roasting the chickpeas with some seasoning and fennel seeds so give them a mini meatball taste.

Pamela Price

Every meal made by fork over knives are simply awesome.

Paul . Rastaman

Tried it tonight.... Added some chestnut mushrooms and a yellow pepper. result Beautiful


Just tried this last night and both my non-vegan husband and I absolutely loved it. Perfectly seasoned and enjoyable... and sooooo easy, that was the best part! You could throw it over rice or pasta, but it didn't need it if you are staying away from the carbs.



Jan Hall

Lovely recipe and typically Italian. When I lived in Sicily they harvested the olives by hand but I wouldn’t touch olive oil from the mainland as it is vacuumed from the trees killing millions of birds as they do it at night when the birds are roosting. So oil free it is.


What a delicious base recipe. I added a couple large handfuls of spinach, omitted the bell pepper and vinegar, and subbed in a can of diced tomatoes in lieu of the marinara sauce. The tomatoes were bright and acidic enough without the extra vinegar but the recipe as written would be excellent too. I’m eating this with a slice of crusty buttered bread on the side, and a drizzle of high quality finishing olive oil on top.

Ann Howard

Prepared it today. Tasted really good. Added about 1/2 cup of water to thin out the soup, had no thyme so I used Italian spices and didn’t add the vinegar. Can recommend it.


I've made this a few times and yesterday took it to a potluck, where it was a success! This time I added 1/2 tsp extra Thyme, 1 cup fire roasted tomatoes and chopped basil was stirred in, not a garnish. I even have leftovers as I upped the ingredients. Excited to eat over pasta, on whole grain bread and freeze a portion for another day.


I made this and it was fantastic! We had tons of leftovers and it’s also fantastic for breakfast! Enjoyed with 7 grain bread.


This recipe is easy to make and full of wonderful flavors. This is a versitile recipe and would taste great with other vegetables such as mushrooms or eggplant. I served it over pasta and it would also go well with crusty bread. I will definitely make this recipe again!


Delicious! The vinegar adds a nice flavor and as other commenters have mentioned, it is a great base for multiple modifications based on the veggies you have on hand.


We made this last night. It makes 4 servings. We ate it with a side salad and was plenty of food for the two of us. I am looking forward to leftovers. If you want four generous servings than I recommend adding in 8oz of sliced mushrooms.


We loved it! We added two cups of marina sauce and garlic salt. I wanted a little more spice.


I have never met anyone with my initials before! TvR Just to say we are cool to have the same. Looking forward to making this dish


A new go-to for me, I've made it multiple times this summer! Sometimes I'll leave out the zucchini and put in equal amounts eggplant –– if you can't find an oil-free marinara sauce, use leftover Bravo Sauce! The recipe is on this website. :)

Pauline S

We made the recipe as described tonight and it was terrific. Not knowing how much salt to add, I pinched a little in, then added ume plum paste at the table. Really brought the flavor up a notch. Next time we will probably try mushrooms, as suggested, and maybe pumfu. Seems the possibilities are endless. Thanks FOK!

Gretchen Toolan

Super easy and delicious! Always in the lookout for quick delicious meals and this one is a great one. My family loved it and I’m happy to have some leftovers for lunch


How many servings does it make? I live alone and need to make no more than 2 servings and I never know how much of each item I need to use. thank You


Same, please reply with this info :)


If you only need 2 servings, make the full recipe (4 servings) and freeze the extra portions for another day.


Added hot pepper flakes, a chopped tomato, fresh oregano and chives since that is what I had on hand...took out the vinegar since I was out! Still tasted great!

Lee Ann

Added cup of sliced mushrooms and shook the nutritional yeast over at the end. Served at a “pizza/salad” potluck and it was great. Only had 1/2 cup leftover to take home. This is a keeper!!!


Great dish! Added nutritional yeast and corn. Made a simple oil-free marinara. Overall, quick, easy, and tasty!


Where do you find oil free marinara?


I used this one:

Mark Leicester

Why vinegar? Ugh. Why oil free? Nothing wrong with monounsaturated fat unless one wants to loose weight, right? One can be vegan and consume healthy veg oils like olive and canola, right? Please explain.


Apparently you’ve never read their books. FOK believes Oil is not healthy. Oil is highly processed and it’s not necessary. You should try the recipe before criticizing it because if you followed FOK you would know their recipes are always good.

Tina B

Patrick: No, not all the FOK recipes are good. There have been some lousy ones I’ve tried. Mark: canola oil is one of the worst oils to consume. The problem with many olive oils is that the olive oil can be mixed with much cheaper oils (like canola) and it’s not required to be listed on the ingredients panel. That being said, FOK doesn’t think oils should be used at all. Clearly you are not familiar with FOK.

Scott Hamelin

the rationale is how these oils are processed.


A Whole Foods Plant Based (WFPB) diet is actually a bit stricter than vegan. Refined products such as oil and sugar are off the table. Watch the fork over knives documentary. Basically it’s for health reasons in helping to reverse cardiovascular disease and diabetes type two.


Very easy to make, very flavorful, and tasty. I will definitely make this recipe again. It was that good!


I also added nutritional yeast and some chipotle powder - awesome recipe and will definitely make again!

Suzette Goebel

Besides the nutritional yeast, I also added chipotle powder and avocado. It makes a delicious taco filler.

Suzette Goebel

I also added the nutritional yeast chipotle powder and avocado. It makes a delicious taco filler.


Super good! Give it a try everybody!! I took the suggestion and added nutritional yeast as well. So good!

Cathy Jones

I added nutritional yeast too and it was really tasty. I also sprinkled on some of Michael Gregger’s nutty parm. Excellent recipe!

Camille Casey

Can you make this and freeze it?


Made this tonight and added a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, was very good.


Made this today for lunch with the intention of taking half for lunch tomorrow (I halved the recipe to begin with) didn’t happen as I ate the entire thing. I also took the suggestion and added nutritional yeast. Super good! Give it a try everybody!!

Lisa Leone

Made this tonight. It was so simple but tasted AMAZING to me!! I did add some mushrooms and nutritional yeast at the end. Sooo good!!


Do you have nutrition info for this recipe?

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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