Most people who love cooking or baking has a signature dish or recipe. My mom was known for her brownies. My stepmom has her cucumber and tomato salad. My aunt makes awesome green beans with ham. My grandma, well, she hates cooking. But she used to make some damn good pickles–does that count?
Now that I eat most of my meals at home, I’ve begun experimenting with recipes so I can come up with my own thang. Baking has always been easy for me and I already have my Citrus Crunch Layer Cake to claim as a signature. However, I needed more experience on the cooking front.
After experimenting in the kitchen for a few months, I can finally say I have a signature dish: Lemon Chick Pea Pasta. Read along for my recipe and to learn how I created this healthy vegetarian dish!
My motivation for creating this recipe was to have a quick, go-to dish that’s vegetarian and great for leftovers. While I’m not vegetarian, I aim to eat meat only once a day.
Italian food is my favorite, so I started experimenting by using other chick pea pasta recipes for a starting point. I didn’t want to use spaghetti sauce/marinara– it didn’t sound appealing to me. One recipe I tried combined lemon, chick peas, and a whole lotta butter. While it was tasty, I wanted veggies in it and less fat.
Finally, I came up with my very own dish that includes two tried and true food pairings: lemon and garlic plus tomato and basil. It’s a hearty, filling dish but the brightness from the lemon and cherry tomatoes gives a nice balance.
This is also very tasty without the pasta, making a great gluten-free option! Also, if you’re out of basil, flat-leaf parsley is a nice substitute.
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 dry pint cherry tomatoes
1-15 oz. can chick peas
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Zest from 1/2 lemon
Handful of fresh basil
8 oz. dry pasta (I used rotini)
Pinch of salt and black pepper (optional)
- Begin boiling water for the pasta.
- While the water is heating, chop the tomatoes in quarters.
- Drain and rinse the beans.
- Sauté the garlic in the olive oil on medium heat for 30-60 seconds.
- Add the beans and tomato to the pan, gently stirring to combine.
- Add the lemon zest and stir to combine. I zest the lemon right over the skillet=less dishes and less mess.
- Add the lemon juice, making sure to strain the seeds/pulp. Stir.
- Chop the basil and add to the pan. (I prefer to add this while cooking but most recipes call for fresh herbs at the end of cooking–either is OK!)
- Reduce heat to low-medium and simmer until the pasta is ready.
- Add salt and black pepper, if desired.
- If you find your beans are not saucy enough, add some water from the pasta until you have your desired consistency.
Makes 4 servings. With pasta, each serving=390 calories. Without pasta, each serving=190 calories.
Are you also a big fan of beans and legumes? Do you eat or cook vegetarian meals? What is your signature dish/recipe?