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We discovered chickpea pasta about 2-3 years ago, and have been hooked since. It offers close to an identical consistency and comfort food-feel as ‘real’ pasta (oh I can hear all you pasta puritans roar!), but (naturally) packs in a a lot more protein and fibers. Now, regular pasta is NOT bad food. It’s great, especially if you happen to live an active lifestyle and need lots of energy. But sometimes, if you want to, let’s say, get away with just vegetables for your ‘sauce’, using the chickpea version will make it more of a complete meal. And what’s better than just topping your bowl with some seasonal veggies? Our garden is producing pounds and pounds worth of dino kale, rainbow chard and zucchini right now, so the choice for this dish was simple. In a month from now, it’ll most likely be broccoli instead, and maybe bell peppers (but those little guys better speed up, since fall is around the corner and they’re yet to ripen), and a month after that, we’re probably using green kale and carrots. But back to the vegetables in focus here. Dino kale is, as a matter of fact, one of our favorite crops, all categories. Easy to grow, magnificently beautiful to look at (you really understand where they got the name ‘dino’ from, when admiring the blue-black bubbly leaves) and so, so delicious. It is the hybrid of green curly kale and savoy cabbage, and boy, did they get that baby right. The tiniest, most anonymous splash of something sweet (e.g. maple syrup) works wonders with dino kale, and can really be worth a try. Anyway, this is as simple as cooking gets, and the outcome is quite awesome. Enjoy!
1 lb chickpea pasta (for the US: we love the Banza brand)
1 lb dino kale (about 1-2 bunches)
1 lb rainbow chard (about 1-2 bunches)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lb zucchini, cubed (1 medium)
1/2-1 tbsp maple syrup
Black pepper, salt and red pepper flakes for seasoning
De-stem the kale and rainbow chard. Reserve chard stems for another day and dish (and kale stems too, if you’re hard core). Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, blanch kale and chard leaves quickly, approx. 1 min. Then drain, let cool and chop roughly. Set aside. Start the water for the pasta. Sauté onion in a little bit of olive oil in a big pan over medium heat, about 5 min. Add garlic and continue sautéing for another min, before stirring in the zucchini cubes. Continue cooking for roughly 10 min. The pasta water should be boiling around now, so add pasta and set the timer (chickpea pasta likes to be a little al dente). When pasta is cooking, wrap up the vegetable topping by stirring in maple syrup, adding about 1/2-1 tsp red pepper flakes (this depends on your preferred level of spiciness) and seasoning with black pepper and salt. Taste to make sure all flavors are balanced. Drain pasta, add a splash of olive oil, give it a sprinkle of salt and stir together. Serve with a generous scoop of vegetables on top.