So after the past few weeks, I've come to the conclusion that with a few exceptions (such as fettucini alfredo and a really authentic marinara dish), anything you can do with pasta, you can do with chickpeas. But chickpeas are healthier (less processed, higher protein). Let's face it, pasta, especially white pasta is not that great for you. But it's tasty and a large part of that is due to it's versatility. Enter chickpeas, another bland, and hence versatile starch/protein (whole wheat pasta has a decent amount of protein). The idea struck when a friend and I tried to find a use for pesto that wasn't pasta, so we paired it with chickpeas and cauliflower. That was tasty and satisfying. It wasn't anything worth posting on it's own, and it's something we probably won't make again, but it's a throw together meal that didn't take much time or many ingredients. Food blogs buzz with Greek salads with chickpeas, olives, feta, garlic, onions, spinach, etc, etc. This sounds exactly like a pasta salad, but with chickpeas, am I right? And after thinking about this, I'm not altogether opposed to somehow working out a chickpea type lasagna, though I'll have to think about it more. But last night's creation, assured me that chickpeas and tomato sauce do work together, it just might take a little creativity. I was inspired by a few posts I saw a while back about chickpeas and spinach. One was in a Spanish style and used chorizo and one was from my favorite blog Smitten Kitchen. The recipes called for fresh spinach, but this is the kind of thing that is just as good with frozen and hey, this is a blog about saving money and convenience, right? This might be better doubled, but I was working with what I had.
I loved this creation because it was a one pot meal. A little dicing, and of course, soaking the chickpeas ahead, but it was pretty simple to throw together. And one of the best uses of frozen spinach I have found so far.
Chickpeas with Spinach (serves 2-3)
1 can chickpeas (I think this is roughly 1/2 c dried and cooked, which is what I do)
5 oz frozen spinach
3 (small) cloves of garlic, sliced thin/minced
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp thyme?
1 4 oz can tomato sauce
cayenne pepper to taste
salt to taste
sausage sliced thin, if desired
Throw everything in a pot, cook until flavors blend 15-20 minutes.
Sounds a little like spaghetti with spinach, right?