Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tasty Meat-free Pasta

I have been experimenting more with meatless dinners to kill 3 birds with one stone: the budget bird, the busy schedule bird, and the questionable history of farm animals bird (without killing any birds at all since vegetarian - oh the irony). Going meatless saves a lot of money and since a lot of the alternatives (canned beans, dehydrated lentils, beans, and grains, etc.) can keep much longer than meat, you can buy in bulk (saving even more money) and keep them conveniently on hand to save trips to the store.
So the other night I made a pasta dish by combining two different recipes from Quick-fix Vegetarian, and am happy to report it was an overall crowd pleaser. It also happened to work out that we already had all of the ingredients in the pantry.
Here's the recipe:
1 bunch baby spinach
1 T olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1 24oz can diced tomatoes
1 oz sun dried tomatoes (the dehydrated kind, not in oil)
1 15 oz can chickpeas
15 pitted kalamata olives, cut into halves lengthwise
1 T capers, drained
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and fresh ground pepper
fresh parsley, chopped
12 oz penne pasta (I mixed whole wheat and regular b/c that's what we had but any tube
pasta will work fine)

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
Add garlic and cook about 30 seconds before adding spinach until wilted.
Then add both tomatoes, chickpeas, and spices. Simmer for 5-7 minutes.
Add olives, capers, and parsley.
Toss with the cooked pasta.
Garnish with additional parsley if desired and voila! Dinner is served.
Yields 6 servings at 335 cals each.