This deliciously creamy pasta with spinach, carrots and chickpeas is wholesome, nutritious, vegan and guilt-free, too! The flavor of the chickpeas complemented by cashew cream will get even the pickiest kid to crave for this pasta. The chickpeas also make this recipe a high-protein one, ideal for vegans and vegetarians as a meat substitute. Use roasted vegetables as a side and you get a healthy balanced meal. As you can see, I have roasted pumpkin with rosemary and oregano.
We saw the health benefits of chickpeas in this chickpea soup recipe.
Here are some interesting facts about chickpeas-
Chickpea flour can be used to make fritters, desserts and crepes.
The brine from chickpeas can be used as an egg white replacement to make meringue.
Fight wrinkles, age spots and even acne with a chickpea flour topical paste.
Chickpea flour can be used to wash away dandruff from your hair.
Chickpea coffee was first discovered in 1793 and adopted in areas of Germany in WWI.
Chickpeas were fed to Roman stallions to increase their virility.
The Ancient Romans believed that chickpeas were a gift from the Goddess Venus to help with fertility.
In traditional Jewish birth celebrations like Shalom Zakhar, chickpeas are consumed as they represent the circle of life.
Now the Recipe-
Ingredients (serves 3)
elbow macaroni ( or shells) – 1 cup
water to cook the pasta
dry chickpeas – 1/2 cup (3/4 cup if you are using canned)
spinach – chopped, 1/2 cup loosely packed
carrot – 1, medium, grated
cashews – 1/4 cup
almond milk – 1/2 cup
mixed pasta herbs (dried) – 1 teaspoon
garlic – 3 pods, minced
sundried tomatoes – about 4 big pieces, chopped
olive oil – 1 tablespoon
salt and pepper
- Boil a large pot of water, add the pasta and cook as per the package instructions.
- Drain the pasta, mix in 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and keep aside.
- If you are using dry chickpeas, soak them overnight and boil with one and a half cups of water in a pressure cooker. Once high pressure is reached, simmer and cook for another 15 minutes.
- After the pressure releases completely, open and drain the chickpeas.
- Warm the milk and soak cashews in it for 15 minutes.
- Blend the cashews into a smooth paste, first with a little milk, then mix in the rest of the milk.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet, add garlic and saute for a minute.
- Add spinach and saute until it wilts.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes, mixed herbs and cashew-milk mixture to the spinach and boil until you get a sauce consistency.
- Mix in the pasta, chickpeas, grated carrot, salt and pepper.
- Stir for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat.
- Serve and enjoy with your choice of roasted vegetables.
Non-vegans can use regular milk instead of almond milk and add some feta cheese.
If you like a bit of spicy heat in your pasta like me, you can add a minced chili pepper along with the garlic.
Remember to add grated carrots only at the end of cooking to retain the crunch.