Today’s recipe is another delicious variation on one of my favorite dishes: pasta with fresh vegetables. There’s a million ways to make it, and the pasta and vegetables lend each other flavor. It’s super easy to boil pasta and sautee vegetables, and in the long run it’s cheaper and healthier than buying jars of over-salted pre-made sauce.
Total preparation and cook time: 40 minutes to an hour.
Serves: 3 people.
Nutritional facts: chickpeas are very high in protein: half a cup contains 7.5 grams, which mostly satisfies the 8 grams the average person should eat per day. (Combating the myth that it’s hard for vegans and vegetarians to eat enough protein.) Spinach is very high in iron and other nutrients, and the whole meal is very low in calories, except for the pasta. If you’re on a diet, just adjust the ratio of the recipe to include more chickpeas and less pasta.
A note on canned versus dried chickpeas: I personally prefer dried chickpeas because 1), you can cook them to your desired level of tenderness, and 2), they take up less space than cans, and on a pound-by-pound basis you get more bang for your buck. That said, it will take at least 45 minutes to get them soft enough to eat, so if you’re in a rush then canned might be the way to go.
1/2 cup dried chickpeas, or 1 lb can of chickpeas.
3 ozs of fresh spinach, rinsed well.
1/2 a box of pasta.
3 cloves of garlic, minced.
1-2 tablespoons of oil.
Salt and pepper.
- If you’re preparing this in advance and using dried chickpeas, soak them for as long as possible (aim for 6-8 hours). This step isn’t necessary, it just means you can boil them for less time.
- If using canned chickpeas, discard packing water and rinse. Put in a bowl.
- Peel and mince the garlic.
- Rinse the spinach carefully.
1. For dried chickpeas, boil a pot of water and add a spoonful of salt. Once the water is boiling, add the chickpeas, then lower the heat to a steady boil and cover, stirring every 10 minutes. Your cooking time will vary depending on whether you’ve soaked them in advance, and how tender you want them to be. If soaked overnight, 10-20 minutes is probably enough time. If you’re starting from completely dried chickpeas, aim for 40 minutes to an hour. Then remove to a bowl once cooked.
2. Add pasta to boiling water, and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until soft, then drain and remove to a bowl.
3. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan on medium low heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until browned.
4. Add slightly wet spinach to pan, and slightly lower heat. Cook for about 6 minutes, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. In a bowl, combine pasta with chickpeas and spinach. Toss, then eat!