Chickpea Pasta with Sweet Potato

One of the best inventions ever was the one pot meal. All you have to do is chop and measure the ingredients, put it all in a pot together, leave it to simmer, and voila, a deeply flavorful meal with minimal effort and clean up. I’d been meaning to try Smitten Kitchen’s Quick Pasta and Chickpeas recipe for a while now because it seemed like the ideal one pot dinner. Plus, it was featured on the Girls Night In weekly newsletter a few weeks ago, and reading that email on Friday mornings is one of my favorite parts of the week. This recipe of chickpeas, pasta, tomato paste, garlic, and herbs is also very kitchen pantry friendly, melding stock staples together into delicious bliss.

Another reason I wanted to make this for tonight’s dinner is because I had brought home a paper bag full of day old bagels left over from a work event, and I was planning to make bagel chips while dinner was cooking. I needed something relatively hands-free so that I could multitask while dinner was simmering away on the stove. In addition to cutting a dozen bagels to make bagel chips while dinner was cooking, I also washed up the tupperware from lunch and all of measuring utensils and cutting boards used to prep dinner. By the time I actually got to eating, almost all the clean up was already done!

To return to the beginning of the story, when I went to start making this dish, I saw that one of my sweet potatoes was on its way to rotting, so I decided to chop it up and add it into the mix to add a little extra vegetable vitamin power. I also planned to throw in a handful of spinach at the end for color, flavor, and all those health benefits of dark greens.

The recipe starts with two cloves of chopped garlic in olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat until the garlic is just starting to brown. Then you add about a half a can of tomato paste and some salt and pepper and stir briefly before adding a can of chickpeas, a handful of pasta, in my case peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, and about two to three cups of water (or until the pasta is just peeking through the top of the water’s surface). Stir well to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan, and after bringing it to a boil, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked and some of the water has evaporated. If you so desire, you can also warm up some olive oil, chopped garlic, and rosemary in a small saucepan and then drizzle over each plated dish, if you’re feeling fancy! This step did add a nice touch and elevated the flavor to another level. And who ever said no to more garlic?!

My verdict: this one pot meal will most definitely be a repeat in our household, especially on busy weeknights. The protein and texture from the chickpeas are a welcome addition to what would have already been a nice and simple, comforting pasta dish. And pasta and chickpeas, although two of my all time favorites, are two that I wouldn’t have normally tried together. It brought me out of my comfort zone! I enjoyed the ease and versatility of this recipe, as I could easily see myself adding whatever veggies or herbs I have on hand in the future.

4 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
3-4 Tbsp tomato paste
1 can of chickpeas
½ cup any small shape of pasta
Chopped veggies as you wish
Crushed red pepper
Handful of spinach if desired

Serves 2 generously

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