Chickpea Pasta Sauce and Imposter Syndrome – They Totally Go Together


I made a pasta sauce out of chickpeas. How wild is that? The recipe is inspired by Cooking Light and it doesn’t have a ton of ingredients. Do you know what that means?

It means even starving writers can eat it! I’m talking to you, poets. Seriously. This is super cheap. Yay! Cooking With a Writer

Imposter Syndrome

So, a lot of writers have imposter syndrome. We think we aren’t a ‘real’ writer. That we somehow magically got published and everyone will find out we are a fraud.

This is a real thing.

Almost every writer I know has this. I blogged about it here.

When I was making this recipe, I was thinking about the chickpeas and how they are maybe feeling a little impostery when paired with penne. In the United States, we do our pasta with tomato sauce most of the time. Or sometimes pesto, which costs so much money. An occasional purist will do the olive oil/parmesan/lemon thing, but they are few… Too few… And maybe chickpeas are thinking, “Hey… are you sure about this? I mean… Maybe I don’t belong here in this pasta. I’m not a tomato. I’m not basil. I’m just a little beige cutie.”

Which is sort of how a lot of writers feel about their place in the writing world.

Well, here’s the truth: Chickpeas totally are the real thing. And so are you.

Don’t let yourself tell you otherwise.

There are Chick Peas in my Pasta Sauce because Weird Choices are Good Choices

In writing, we always here that it’s cool to surprise the reader with a nice, happy plot twist or quirky detail but it’s NOT GOOD to surprise the reader with something too wild and unexpected unless you’ve built up to that somehow, which is why Shaun the Meat Eater has no clue that there are chickpeas in this pasta sauce. And we’re going to keep it that way.

Also, the calories are for whole wheat pasta, but there was no way I was going to get that into the man’s gullet, honestly. We used regular bad-for-you pasta. Rebels. 

  • 3 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, all chopped up like my episodic story
  • 4 cloves of anti-vampire garlic
  • 1 cup carrot, all chopped up again because this recipe requires knives
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drain them first!!! (Really. Drain them.)
  • .75 cup water
  • .5 tsp pepper (Did you ever notice salt comes before pepper always? What is up with that? )
  • 1 tsp salt (Behind pepper for once)
  • 4 cups penne pasta, cook this and drain this too! (If you keep .75 cups of water you can use it up there)
  • .25 cup basic, fresh, chopped
  1. Cook the pasta in a big pot of water according to the directions on the pasta box. I always do this first because water takes FOREVER to boil and waiting for it to warm up reminds me of waiting for my agent or editor to email me back, which causes…. um… anxiety.

  2. On a totally separate place/burner/heating source, heat the olive oil on MEDIUM HEAT. 

    Medium heat sounds pretty bland. Halfway to hot. Halfway to cold. Worry that this is indicative of your muddy middle where the plot is just… it’s boring and medium. Worry that you are boring and medium. 


  3. Cry

  4. Buck up, little camper. The oil is warm in a medium way and now you must add the minced garlic, the carrots, the onion. Add it. ADD IT, DAMN IT! Now! Right now! Get over yourself and cook this thing!

  5. Cook that mess for 8  minutes. Set the timer in case you get lost in a scintillating inner monologue about positivity and writing and how Oprah visualizes herself as awesome and that somehow works for her. 

  6. Try to create a good mantra like, I am an amazing writer that everyone loves and I make amazing books. 

    Decide you need to edit that mantra. Worry about what it means if you can’t even make a mantra. 

  7. Realize you have imposter syndrome! Oh no! Not again! 

  8. Your eight minutes are up. Take the mixture and add the chickpeas and the pepper, salt and water and put it in a blender and mix it up there until it is smooth. 

  9. Look at you, mixing like a pro! Feel good about this. You did this! You are a cook! And a writer! And a human! Go you! 

  10. Toss the yummy penne pasta stuff (hopefully cooked and warm) and mix it with your amazing blender concoction. If you have enough money to buy fresh basil, sprinkle that on top like it’s magic fairy dust or pixie glitter. 

  11. Eat! You deserve to eat! You do! You are not an imposter. You made a pasta sauce out of chickpeas like a freaking boss. You can get an agent and finish your novel and make a NYT bestseller list. Look at you! 

    Feel powerful. 

    You are. 

Dog Verdict: Pasta is delicious.

Man Verdict: I could eat this forever.

Carrie Verdict: This is so bland. I need to put gochujang in it. Oh my gosh, where is the left-over feta cheese. Okay… okay… now it’s worth the calories.

I actually did squirt gochujang into it because I thought it was too bland. And even then, it needed a zing, which is why I added a tiny bit of feta. This absolutely increases both calories and cost. Recipes with a Writer. Cooking With a Writer


Okay. I hope you don’t mind me sharing this, but I earned out my picture book biography of Sara Emma Edmonds!!!!

This is such a huge thing for me that I can’t begin to tell you how cool it feels especially since it’s with this picture book. Sara was this cool woman who dressed like a man so she could fight in the U.S. Civil War, but then her superiors asked her to dress like a woman and spy on the other side. So, she was a woman dressed like a man dressed like a woman and taking names the entire time. So amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who bought it!




The awesome 6-month-long Writing Barn classthat they’ve let me be in charge of!? It’s happening again in July. Write! Submit! Support!is a pretty awesome class. It’s a bit like a mini MFA but way more supportive and way less money.


“Carrie has the fantastic gift as a mentor to give you honest feedback on what needs work in your manuscript without making you question your ability as a writer. She goes through the strengths and weaknesses of your submissions with thought, care and encouragement.”

I swear, I did not pay anyone to say that. I didn’t even ask them to say it. The Writing Barn just told me that the feedback had intensely kind things like that.


These books are out there in the world thanks to Tor.

What books? Well, cross Buffy with Men in Black and you get… you get a friends-powered action adventure based in the real world, but with a science fiction twist. More about it is here. But these are fun, fast books that are about identity, being a hero, and saying to heck with being defined by other people’s expectations.

This quick, lighthearted romp is a perfect choice for readers who like their romance served with a side of alien butt-kicking actionSchool Library Journal


Time Stoppers’s third book comes out this summer. It’s been called a cross between Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, but with heart. It takes place in Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I need to think of awesome ways to promote it because this little book series is the book series of my own middle grade heart. Plus, I wrote it for the Emster. Plus, it is fun.


And finally, the podcast DOGS ARE SMARTER THAN PEOPLE is still chugging along. Thanks to all of you who keep listening to our weirdness. We’re sorry we laugh so much… sort of.

Dogs are smarter than people - the podcast, writing tips, life tips, quirky humans, awesome dogs
The podcast of awesome
%d bloggers like this: