This Orecchiette with Chickpeas Spinach and Feta is a simple and quick dinner that tastes incredible! In the time it takes to boil the pasta, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients and have dinner on the table in a flash. Vegetarian | Vegan Options | Gluten Free Options
Servings 4- 6
1/4cupextra virgin olive oil
pinchor two red pepper flakes
15ouncecan1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3cupsor 3 to 4 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
4 - 6ouncesfeta cheesecubed and crumbled a bit
1tablespoonfresh lemon juice
lemon zestfresh basil, red pepper flakes and coarse salt for serving
Bring 4 quarts of water to a rapid boil over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt. Add the orecchiette, stirring gently and return to a boil. Cook the pasta, stirring frequently, for about 12 to 15 minutes, testing for doneness during the last two to three minutes. Just before draining, remove 1 cup of pasta water using a heat safe measuring cup. Set it aside.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for just a minute or so, just before the garlic begins to become golden. Add a few pinches of salt and pepper. Add the chickpeas and toss to coat. Cook the chickpeas for about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the spinach, and toss until it begins to wilt.
As soon as the pasta is done, drain it quickly in a colander just until drained. Immediately pour the pasta into the sauté pan and toss to coat. Add a 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Allow the pasta to cook in the sauce for a minute or two.
Remove from the heat, add the feta cheese, lemon juice and toss. Top with some lemon zest, basil and red pepper flakes, if desired, for serving.
As the pasta sits, you may want to add more of the pasta water. Keep it on hand for reheating, as well!
To make this gluten free, use a gluten free pasta. To make this vegan, either omit the feta cheese completely, replace it with vegan cheese or use a generous sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
Recipe by, Caroline Hurley, Taste Love and Nourish, www.tasteloveandnourish.com