I have really been trying to find some GOOD vegetarian meals that will satisfy my meat eating family and bring them around to the Meatless Monday idea. What better way to do that than to incorporate their favorite ingredients?
My kids are huge fans of pasta and creamy sauces. The only problem is that several of the recipes I have tried for meatless pasta dishes are not very hearty. I started thinking of maybe finding something with beans when I ran across this dish on Foodnetwork.com. Emeril Lagasse's recipes for Pasta with chickpeas and spinach seemed like a great place to start.
I tweaked the recipe a bit to fit more into what my kids would like and lightened it up a bit to make myself feel better.
Here are the changes I made.
1 pound fusilli or penne
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped red bell peppers
1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups vegetable stock, or canned vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
16 ounces fresh baby spinach, rinsed well and stems removed
1/2 cup grated asiago
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers and onions, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and cook for 1 minute. Add a bit of stock and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the rest of the vegetable stock and chickpeas and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, about 5 minutes, and almost all the broth is gone. Crush the peas lightly with the back of a spoon against the side of the pot. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss well to coat. Adjust seasoning, to taste.
Add the cheese and toss to combine.
Divide the pasta among serving plates and serve immediately.
The meal was very creamy and flavorful. The kids didn't miss the meat or the extra cream in the sauce. I will be making this one again!!