I'm feeling real sneaky right about now with this dish. Having vegan kids means I'm always thinking about their nutrition and one thing I've been obsessing over lately is protein. One can only offer so many bean burritos without expecting a riot to break out so I thought I'd try some sneaky kitchen ninja
moves this time.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are so easy to disguise whether it be in hummus spread on a sandwich with some vegan mayo or even baked into a chocolate chip cookie (ever try Jessica Seinfeld's Chickpea Cookie recipe from her first cookbook "Deceptively Delicious"?-super good...just veganize it, of course). But another great way to hide these lil' protein powerhouses is in pasta.
And if you've transitioned your family into whole wheat pasta then you're in even better shape because the pasta itself is rich in protein (and fiber-yay!). Plus, the chickpeas themselves are incredibly high in beneficial fiber so it's a win-win.
I like to use rotini or fusilli or some sort of fun pasta shape that's able to hold more of the protein paste made from the chickpeas.
Sneaky Protein Packed Pasta
1 package whole wheat pasta (I used fusilli)
1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, plus the liquid from the can
1 small garlic clove (or 1/2 large)
1 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C. Earth Balance butter
1 Tb. nutritional yeast
ground black pepper to taste
Start by boiling some water to cook the pasta according to package directions.
Add chickpeas and liquid from the can to food processor or high powered blender. Process the chickpeas for about 10 seconds, then add in the garlic, olive oil, salt, garlic powder and lemon juice, blending it all together until smooth. Scrape down the sides as you go if necessary to be sure there are no larger bits that didn't get mixed in.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and return to pan.
Add in your blended chickpea mixture (protein paste) to the warm pasta.
Add in the butter and nutritional yeast.
Add optional pepper and more salt as needed.
Mix everything through until the pasta is coated with the paste.
Add more olive oil as necessary for a less creamy consistency.
Eat as is or add tomato sauce or Nacheez for a quick protein-packed mac'n cheese.
If you're not ready for whole wheat, try 1/3 whole wheat + 2/3 white, then 1/2 + 1/2...you get the idea.
Just dump the chickpeas into the food processor.
Then add raw garlic.
Process garlic, chickpeas and liquid.
Add "protein paste" to cooked, drained pasta.
Add in Earth Balance butter, nutritional yeast and olive oil.
This pasta is so versatile! It can be eaten as is or add tomato sauce or that Nacheez I told you about
in the last post or even pesto!
These little guys are also great sprinkled over a green salad, added to a pasta salad, or try roasted them in the oven with a bit of salt and olive oil-they turn out crunchy and can be a great snack for the kids!
COOL CHICKPEA/GARBANZO BEAN FACT:
These legumes are one of the earliest cultivated foods, dating back to 3500 BC! (You know if something's been around and eaten with a great track record for that long it must be a winner.)