Pasta with chickpeas and greens

I have so many half-prepared recipe posts in my Google Drive and have been derelict in getting them up here. My main issue is I do not have great images to accompany the recipes and that just isn’t fun for blogging. Food photography is hard, especially in the winter months when I’m usually cooking as night falls and the natural light is waning. Casseroles just don’t look too hot under the dim, fluorescent light of my kitchen.

But the spring rain is here in Santa Fe! And our evenings are becoming what I like to call “margarita evenings” again, when the light lasts long enough for you to linger, margarita in hand, out on the portal. Which reminds me, I really need some outdoor seating this year. My overturned clay pots and mildewed chairs need to be updated.

Travis left last Friday for the humid, coastal landscape of California. He presented at a conference on Saturday and is spending a few days researching at the Bancroft Library, at UC Berkeley.

Two major things happened after Trav left:

1. Lupe returned to his gremlin self – demanding things of me in his high-pitched yelp. “Open the door!” “Open the door again!” “Move this gate!” “Feed me!” “There’s leaves blowing out there!” Travis has somehow managed to “train” Lupe – something I have failed at for the entire 7 years he’s lived with me. But the training appears to be entirely fickle and have nothing to do with me. Or everything to do with me. It really bewildered me how quickly he returned to his tyrant ways once Trav was out the door. Seriously dude? I saved you from the streets! He is such a difficult dog. Mesa on the other hand, is an angel. (And has been very happy to be able to snuggle me all day without interference.)

2. Nothing. I did so much nothing this weekend and it was fabulous. I didn’t shower, I moved the television to the bedroom, and drank tea called “Breakfast in Paris” with milk and sugar. I piled a stack of paperbacks on the nightstand and alternated between reading, walking with Mesa, and watching Fixer Upper on HGTV. I texted Katie about furniture refinishing and Pinterest. I cleaned out the vacuum schnozzle thing. I took a nap.

And then I started to miss Travis. We Facetimed while he walked down a Berkeley street and I saw the familiar gray skies of northern California. I spent a semester in Sonoma, California as an undergraduate and can still remember the prehistoric swampy smell of the air. I’m not anywhere close to a California girl, but I did love imagining scenes from Steinbeck novels taking place on the green hills and craggy coasts.

By Sunday night I was feeling pretty slovenly, so I took a hot shower and prepared this healthy meal. It’s sort of an upgraded pasta salad – more vegetables, no mayo, chickpeas for protein. I also used gluten-free brown rice pasta. If you haven’t tried rice pasta in a while, it’s really improved. Just be careful not to overcook it and you probably won’t discern any difference in taste.

Pasta with chickpeas and greens

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. pasta (I used brown rice fusilli)
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced very thin (if you have a mandolin, this a great time to use it!)
  • 2 scallions, sliced diagonally
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, rough chopped
  • 3/4 cup chickpeas, drained
  • 1/3  cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cups delicate greens (ex. arugula, baby kale), chopped chiffonade-style
  • 4 oz light feta, chopped or crumbled
  • 3 – 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs rice wine vinegar
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Cook pasta and drain. Do not overcook! Drizzle with a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. Let cool.
  2. Place zucchini, scallions, olives, chickpeas, parsley, and greens in large bowl.
  3. Assemble dressing: In small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and zest, basil, mint and dill. Add a pinch (or more) each of salt and black pepper.
  4. Once pasta is cooled, combine with zucchini mixture.
  5. Add feta and prepared dressing and stir gently to combine.
  6. Serve warm or chilled.