Dinner Tonight: Pesto Pasta with Sautéed Veggies, Chickpeas, and Arugula

by phoenixortheflame

In less than two weeks I’ll be a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding. She’s the first of my friends to get married so this is a whole new ballgame for us as a group. I’m extremely excited … and terrified. Walking down the aisle in heels, speeches, booze: there are literally dozens of opportunities for me to embarrass myself. Hopefully everyone will be doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and that is watching the bride (read: not me).

Although my dress zips up, I wouldn’t say it does so without effort. Thus, I’ve decided to go on a 10-day cabbage soup/fruit smoothie diet prior to the nuptials. Now, I’m not really one for “diets.” And just to prove that to you all I’ll tell you what I bought today after rolling into town post 1h 10min commute home: a 220 g bag of Old Dutch Sour Cream & Green Onion potato chips and a $13 bottle of Cono Sur Gewürztraminer. It’s 8:11 pm and both are very nearly gone. I’m preparing for the 10 days of torture I’m about to endure.

But alas, I’m not yet on my fast diet, so (after downing two glasses of cheap wine and half a bag of chips) I whipped up something oily and carby to shove down my throat as I mourn the food that I will not pass through my longing mouth for 10 days.

Dinner tonight was inspired by a beautifully styled dish from Donna Hay magazine, issue #56. The star of the dish is the humble chickpea, an ingredient I like to eat often. I chose to make the dish for two reasons: one, because I had most of the ingredients already stocked in my kitchen and two, because Connor picked some fresh green beans (another key ingredient) from our garden (which is actually at his parent’s so not easily accessible).

However, when he said, “I went to my parents. We have a crapload of nearly overripe green beans,” I should have not assumed that he actually picked them and brought them home. Riiiiigggghhht …

Anyway, add a few this, substitute a few that and voila! you’ve got a fantastic green-beanless pasta dish!

Pesto Pasta with Sautéed Veggies, Chickpeas, and Arugula
adapted from Donna Hay magazine

1 box whole wheat spaghettini
1 Tbsp Earth Balance butter
2 large carrots, julienned
1 red pepper, julienned
Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 large can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 handfuls arugula or spinach (I used a mix)
1/2 cup store-bought pesto
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Shredded parmesan
Parsley for garnish

  1. Bring pot of water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, add Earth Balance butter to cast iron skillet and heat over medium heat. Add carrots and sauté for 5 minutes. Add pepper and sauté for another 5 minutes until veggies become tender. Toss with chopped parsley, top with cracked fresh pepper and remove from heat.
  3. Once pasta is done, return to pot along with chickpeas, arugula, pesto, lemon zest and juice, and salt and pepper. Toss until everything is incorporated.
  4. To plate, spoon veggies onto bottom of bowl and top with pasta mixture. Garnish with cheese and parsley.
Serves 6