Pandemic cooking involves a lot of dried, canned and frozen foods, so I was excited when I found this recipe for pasta with garbanzo beans and spinach in The New York Times. I had all the ingredients in my pantry and fridge. No shopping necessary.
I adapted the recipe to make it gluten-free and dairy-free, but otherwise, why mess with perfection? Sometimes simple is fabulous, and this recipe is proof of that.
The recipe calls for a can of garbanzo beans, some pasta and a bag of baby spinach. If you’ve also got dried rosemary, cashew cream and dairy-free Parmesan cheese, you’re in business.
I swapped out heavy cream for cashew cream, which is simple to make from soaked cashews and water in a high-speed blender or food processor. An astute Times reader suggested making cashew cream with the water from the can of garbanzo beans, and wow, does that make a difference. The cashew cream is thick, smooth and of course, delicious.
You can use any type of gluten-free pasta you have on hand for this recipe. I used red lentil penne, which worked well. The recipe calls for fresh baby spinach, but frozen spinach should work fine. In this pandemic, fresh produce can be hard to come by.
My entire family, including ravenous teenager, is home for the duration, so I tripled the original recipe. Shrink it back to its original size, or expand it further as needed. It will all get eaten.
Pasta with Garbanzo Beans and Spinach
Canned garbanzo beans are dressed up with dried rosemary, cashew cream and fresh baby spinach in this delicious one-dish meal.
- 3 cups raw cashews soaked in 3-4 cups water for at least an hour
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 3 cans garbanzo beans, drained (save the water from the cans)
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (to taste)
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 cups cashew cream
- 11 ounces fresh baby spinach (or frozen spinach)
- 1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean water (plus extra for thinning sauce)
- 1 cup grated dairy-free parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- 24 ounces gluten-free penne
Drain the cashews, and blend with 1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean water in a high-speed blender or food processor. Set aside.
Heat water in a large pot to boiling, turn down the heat to medium, and stir in pasta.
Cook gluten-free pasta for 7-9 minutes.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of pasta water.
Heat the oils over medium-high heat in a large, deep saucepan.
Add the garbanzo beans, rosemary and cayenne pepper.
Sprinkle with salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the beans turn light brown, about 5-10 minutes.
Remove 1 cup of beans, and set aside to use as garnish.
Turn the heat down to medium, add the onion, sprinkle with more salt and black pepper, and sauté, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute.
Stir in the cashew cream. (See NOTE)
Add the spinach, and stir until blended.
Cover, and cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in the cooked pasta, adding pasta water, a tablespoon at a time as needed, to thin the sauce if it's too thick.
Stir in 1 cup grated non-dairy parmesan cheese.
Garnish with cooked garbanzo beans and extra non-dairy parmesan cheese, and serve immediately.
To make the cashew cream for this recipe, soak 3 cups raw cashews in 2-3 cups filtered water for at least an hour. Blend the drained cashews with 1 1/2 cups liquid from the can of garbanzo beans in a high-speed blender or food processor. The cashew cream should be as thick as heavy cream.
Cook the pasta, drain, saving a cup of pasta water, and set it aside. To make the cashew cream, blend three cups of raw, soaked cashews with 1 1/2 cups of garbanzo bean water.
Blend until the cashew cream is thick and creamy.
Set the cashew cream aside.
Sauté the garbanzo beans with the rosemary over medium-high heat until they’re golden brown.
Take one cup of the cooked garbanzo beans out of the pan, and set aside.
Stir in the cashew cream.
Add the baby spinach. Cover for a few minutes to allow the spinach to wilt.
Stir in the cooked pasta.
Add the non-dairy Parmesan cheese.
Serve in bowls with reserved garbanzo beans and extra Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.