As you may or may not realize, I am, quite literally, obsessed with chickpeas lately (okay, all the time, not just lately). I have been so hooked on cooking them myself instead of using canned, that I have considered buying them in bulk online to save some $$$. Canned chickpeas are fine in a pinch, but soaking and cooking them is definitely my favorite now. I'm thinking of starting to soak other beans now, too. Anyway, I had about a cup of cooked chickpeas sitting in my fridge that I wanted to get used up, so I asked a friend for inspiration. I was directed to this recipe, which I used as a guide, but also changed up a bit to fit my own tastes and on-hand ingredients. Well, friends, it was excellent!
To be honest, I was kind of (by "kind of" I mean very) skeptical of the addition of either orange juice or balsamic vinegar at the end of the cooking. Sounds bizarro and kind of gross, particularly the orange juice suggestion. I only had white balsamic vinegar, which is a little calmer in acidity and taste than regular balsamic vinegar, so I decided to use that. As soon as I poured it into the pan, I regretted it and got a little upset with myself for making such a foolish decision. But, after I mixed it up really well, I realized that it was awesome! The original recipe also called for kale, which I rarely buy as I don't really love it (except in stews). Maybe it's an acquired taste, I don't know, but I do know that I like spinach a lot, so I typically use that when recipes call for kale as it is lighter and less bitter in taste.
My version makes at least 2-3 main course-sized servings.
- 1/2 lb pasta (I used penne)
- 1 heaping cup of cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 of a medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (use less if you're fearful of the spice)
- 3-4 oz of fresh mushrooms (I had white mushrooms), sliced
- 2 TB tomato paste
- 1/2 tsp dried basil
- a shake or two of oregano
- 1 1/2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp olive oil for sauteing the veg
- salt and pepper to your tastes
- Put your pasta in a pot of salted pot of water. Cook per directions on the package.
- In a large skillet (preferably nonstick), heat your oil over medium heat. Add the onions and a few shakes of salt along with the red pepper flakes. A little red pepper goes a long way. So you may want to go easy on it if you don't like really spicy foods. Stir occasionally every couple of minutes until the onions are soft. 5-6 minutes or so.
- Then add in your mushrooms, garlic and a TB or two of water to keep the veg moist and not stick to the pan. Add in your basil and oregano now, too. Stir around and cook until the mushrooms are mostly done. 3-5 minutes or so.
- Add your tomato paste and the rest of the water and mix until the paste is incorporated. After a minute or two, your pasta should be mostly done. So, drain it, duh!
- Add in the spinach, pasta, and chickpeas and stir to combine. Cook about 4 minutes, until the spinach is wilted. Add any more salt and pepper you may want.
- Pour the vinegar in and toss well. Serve it up and enjoy :)