Brown Rice Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas

The other night I cooked pasta for the first time in I don’t even know how long. This used to be my specialty (OK, I’ll admit it was all I knew to cook). I remember making rigatoni noodles and marinara sauce about once a week in high school. These days though I try to keep a gluten free diet as best I can since being advised. If you’re in the same boat, you know this is hard to do. And if you’re not, then I’m sure you can imagine. When I first heard the words “gluten free,” my life of turkey sandwiches and rigatoni pasta flashed before my eyes. It sounded like a fate worse than death. Well so far I’ve survived. I’m not going to lie and tell you I’ve got this down and never slip up. I ate pizza this weekend. I’m far from perfect. But I will say that with practice it’s gotten much easier to avoid gluten and I’ve come to know a whole new gluten-free world that exists out there. You know the old adage “when you close a door, you open a window?” It’s so true here. Steering clear of typical breads and pastas has made me get to know new foods like quinoa and brown rice pasta. I love these foods now. I made this with brown rice spaghetti pasta. There isn’t much of a difference in taste other than it’s a bit chewier than wheat pasta. What I love about this recipe is that it has so much flavor cooked in that you don’t even need a sauce. The seasoning is the sauce.  Makes for a light and flavorful dish.

Pasta with Broccoli and Chickpeas

What you need:

6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large head broccoli, in florets
1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
handful basil, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
brown rice (or whole wheat) pasta (4 servings)
1/2 lemon
red pepper flakes (optional)

What you do:

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add broccoli and salt. Cook 7-8 minutes until broccoli is tender and crisp. Add a little water to help cook and cover for a few minutes. Add chickpeas and cook 4-5 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Cook pasta according to instructions on the package. Add pasta and 1/4-1/2 cup water to the pan mixture and cook for 1 minute. Stir to combine. Add basil and stir. Add lemon juice and drizzle olive oil over pasta before serving. Add red pepper flakes, or serve without and let others add as they like.

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