31 January 2013

Maggie's Garbanzo Pasta

I've been very lucky to have people in my life who love to cook, but more lucky that they've looked at the possibility of cooking vegan foods as a new challenge. For example, early on in my vegan days, my dad always seemed really proud when he could figure out how to make a traditional family dish vegan or when he could figure out a way to make something that would satisfy everyone in the family. Another example is my aunt, who also really likes to cook, and will regularly send me emails containing recipes, new ideas/products, or vegan-related questions. Also relatively early on in my vegan days, we were over at this aunt and uncle's house for dinner. My aunt asked questions about things I could eat and what I liked so that she could make foods for me. She ended up making a dish that I have since referred to as "garbanzo pasta." It was delicious, which surprised me because it included garbanzo beans (chickpeas).

Beans are a really important element of a well-balanced vegan diet. Over the past nearly twelve years (since I went vegan in March 2001), I've slowly learned to incorporate more beans into my diet. Beans are a wonderfully healthy and delicious food to eat, but they were never really something I ate frequently. However, knowing that beans are packed full of protein and fiber, I knew I had to eat more of them. Luckily, garbanzo beans are a great place to start. They have a slightly different texture than most other beans and they pair amazingly with so many foods. Even Shana says she likes them! To bring the story back around, I asked my aunt for the "garbanzo pasta" recipe, tweaked it to what is articulated below, and used it as a springboard to the realization that beans are awesome!


PS. This dish is SO good that when I made it before blogging about it, Shana and I ate all of it before I could even snap a picture (no joke; the one above was added later). So instead, here's the empty pot.
so good, so gone


Maggie's Garbanzo Pasta
Ingredients
2 T. olive oil
2 med. onions, chopped
3-4 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 bay leaf
3 1/2 c. veggie broth (I used Better Than Bouillon's Vegetable)
1, 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
3 T. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. dried red pepper
1/2 c. uncooked macaroni (I used whole wheat)

Directions
1. In a large skillet (or wok), saute the onion and celery over medium-high heat. Next, add the garlic and bay leaf, saute for another couple of minutes.
2. Add the broth, garbanzos, tomato paste, and red pepper, bring to a boil.
3. Turn down the heat to medium or a bit lower, then add the pasta, stirring occasionally until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. (You may need to add a bit more liquid at the end, but the liquid should be nearly gone.)

Helpful Hints
  • This dinner is relatively quick, so it's a great one for nights where you don't have much time. From start to finish, including chopping veggies, it's probably no more than 25 minutes. 
  • The amounts in this recipe were enough for the two of us for only dinner (although we were both starving). Thus, if you'd like leftovers or would like to feed more than two hungry adults, I would double this recipe. If you opt to double this, reduce the water and only add 6 cups (rather than 7 for a true doubling).
  • Want a fun hint for tomato paste? I learned that many recipes call for 1-3 T. of tomato paste, but even the small cans have about 6 T. in them. I used to use what I needed, put the rest in the fridge, and then eventually find something growing when I finally uncovered it later. Then, I figured out that it freezes perfectly! So, I started putting 1 T. in each section of an ice cube tray, wrapping the tray in a layer of plastic wrap and then foil, and freezing until solid. Then I take each frozen paste cube and wrap it in a bit of foil and put them all in a freezer bag. Then, I know I can grab it in increments of 1 T. and I don't waste any. I just threw 3 frozen cubes in tonight's dinner. 

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