Pasta with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes, and Cabbage

Is this a crazy time of year, or what? Today marks 1 year of Delicious Balance! It's been such a fun year sharing my favorite recipes with you and getting to know the blogging community...including the Recipe Redux. If you're not familiar with the Recipe Redux, it's the first and only recipe challenge founded by registered dietitians. It is focused on taking delicious dishes, keeping them delicious, but making them better for you. The Recipe Redux was founded by Regan Jones, RDN of ReganMillerJones, Inc., Serena Ball, RDN and Deanna Segrave-Daly, RDN who are both from Teaspoon Communications, Inc. Each month, we are assigned a theme to create a recipe and blog post around. We all posts our recipes the 21st or 22nd of the month. This month's theme is to "Grab a Book and Cook". We were assigned to grab the nearest cookbook and makeover the recipe found on either page 54 or 154 of that book. 

I grabbed my America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two cookbook. On page 54 there was a delicious looking recipe for Pasta with Chicken, Butternut Squash, and Radicchio. I added a twist to the challenge and tried to use only things I had in my fridge and pantry. I also wanted to make this a plant-based meal. The original recipe called for chicken which I swapped out for chickpeas. Rather than cooking the veggies in butter, I used coconut oil. You could easily use any other vegetable oil but coconut oil was all I had at the time (my pantry needs some serious restocking!). The coconut oil gave the dish a slightly sweet flavor which I really enjoyed. Rather than using butternut squash and raddichio, I used sweet potatoes and purple cabbage because that's what I had on hand. I gave the dish a peppery flavor by using arugula in place of basil. 

This dish is perfect for this time of year...it is adaptable to what you have on hand and doesn't take much time to come together.

Pasta with Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes, and Cabbage

Serves 4 to 6

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons coconut oil

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 head of purple cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)

1 small onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup low-sodium broth

12 oz penne pasta (or other short pasta)

1/2 cup vegan parmesan

3 handfuls of arugula

1. Melt 1 teaspoon of the coconut oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas and cook without stirring for 1 minute. Stir the chickpeas and continue to cook until lightly browned. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside.

2. Melt another teaspoon of coconut oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potato and cook, stirring occasionally, until spotty brown and tender, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer the sweet potatoes to the bowl with the chickpeas. Add the cabbage to the skillet and cook until beginning to wilt and brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the cabbage to the bowl with the chickpeas and potatoes. 

3. Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, thyme, flour, and pepper flakes, and cook util fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth and wine, bring to a simmer, and cook until the sauce has thickened slightly and reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 10 minutes. 

4. While the sauce is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot. 

5. Return the vegetables and chickpeas, along with any accumulated juice, to the skillet along with the vegan parmesan. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 1 minute. 

6. Add the vegetable mixture and arugula to the pasta and toss to combine, adjusting the sauce consistency with the reserved pasta cooking water as desired. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with extra vegan parmesan.