The Year in Food is one colorful, lush
food blog. If there are times in the week when you need a little jumpstart in
cooking inspiration, here is the first place to begin. A talented photographer, Kimberly Hasselbrink writes simple, seasonal recipes using lots
of fresh fruits and vegetables. This recipe is a particularly good one—it’s
packed with healthy spinach, protein-packed chickpeas and almonds, and topped
with a delightful homemade parsley pesto. You’ll never look at pesto the same
way again. While you will likely take over the chopping chores on this one, young
kitchen helpers can mix the whole thing together and help get it to the table.
8 ounces pasta of
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
15 ounce can of chickpeas, thoroughly drained
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups coarsely chopped, fresh parsley
1/3 cup toasted almonds, roughly chopped
2 cups loosely packed baby spinach
2 quarters preserved lemon, chopped (equal to 1/2 lemon; substitute zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice if no
preserved lemons on hand)
1/3 cup reserved pasta water
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add a drizzle of olive oil and
then cook pasta according to directions. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water
and then drain. Set aside in pot to keep warm.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat a medium skillet over a medium low
flame. Add two teaspoons olive oil. Add one clove of the minced garlic and stir
for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the chickpeas. Saute for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto. Combine the remaining clove of
garlic with the 1/3 cup of olive oil, the parsley and the almonds. Puree in a food
processor until a coarse paste has formed.
4. Toss the warm pasta with the spinach leaves to wilt them. Add
the pesto, chickpeas, preserved lemons and gently toss. If a little dry, add
some of the reserved pasta water for creaminess.
5. Taste to see if the preserved lemons provide enough salt.
Season to taste with sea salt if desired, along with freshly cracked black
pepper. Best served immediately.