"Plain" Chickpea and Vegetable Penne Toss

Do you think that “plain” is a negative word? I know it has its connotations – Plain Jane, plain looking – but for me, it really isn’t an inherently bad adjective. I get into a little bit of trouble sometimes when I go to refer to something as plain without intending it to be interpreted as a bad thing. For example, plain food. That sounds bad, right? But it doesn’t have to be. It could just mean simple. Clean. Some people get offended when I call a food plain, or if I say that they tend to enjoy plainer foods. Apparently, it can be synonymous with bland – and that, my friends, is inherently negative. But as my 12th grade English teacher said, there’s no such thing as a synonym.

An overcooked chicken without anything on it is bland. Mashed potatoes are bland. Those really cool rice puffs from Wegmans or Whole Foods, without peanut butter spread on them, are very bland.

But a bowl of fresh pasta drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil is plain. A homemade dinner roll fresh from the oven is plain. Even a well-cooked fillet of tilapia with a side of steamed vegetables and a spritz of lemon juice is plain.

This Chickpea and Vegetable Penne Toss is also plain, but if you think that’s a reason not to make it (again and again and again), you would be sorely mistaken. This recipe is simple anddelicious. It’s far from extravagant, yet one of the most perfect meals I can think of around this time of year. It’s filling and quick to make, too.  And no one – and I mean no one – will call it bland. 

Two Years Ago: Israeli S’mores

Chickpea and Vegetable Penne Toss
This pasta dish is simple and light, yet will keep you full and satisfied. It’s the perfect dish for Spring or Summer, and can be infinitely adapted based on your taste preferences and what fresh produce is available in your area.

Yield: 3 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

The Ingredients1
1 cup whole wheat penne
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 ⅓ cups broccoli florets, coarsely chopped
¾ small zucchini, chopped
¼ cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup mushroom stems, sliced thin
¼ cup halved grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
14 ounces chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
¼ cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese

The Method
Set a pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, prepare all of the vegetables as indicated. When the water is boiling, add the pasta and lower the heat to medium-high. Cook until al dente, approximately 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, broccoli, zucchini, and pepper and allow to soften, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, tomatoes and oregano and cook, continuing to stir occasionally, for 3-4 minutes. Add in the chickpeas and toss to combine, cooking another 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are tender and the tomatoes have begun to break down.

When the pasta finishes cooking, drain and add to the vegetable mixture. Toss together to incorporate well, then sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.

Source, adapted: Diabetic Cooking Magazine

1I served L’s with sliced chicken, which you can certainly do, but personally I loved it as a vegetarian dish.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS


Post a Comment