Pasta with Broccoli Romanesco and Chickpeas

For reasons I cannot quite pinpoint, my cooking mojo has disappeared the past few weeks. Maybe it is the neither-here-nor-there winter we are having in Northern California, or the inevitable decline in innovation that comes at the tail end of a season. But whatever the case may be, thank goodness that some variation of pasta with vegetables and legumes always works for a quick weekday dinner. The beauty of this meal is that it primarily relies on ingredients you typically have on hand, and exact proportions don’t matter. Cooking these humble basics together elevates them to something far more special, with very little effort.

As I’ve probably mentioned too many times, my cooking inspiration usually comes from the CSA box and the crisper drawer. Grounding a meal around a (preferably local and organic) vegetable is somehow easier than starting with any other pantry staples. Not to mention healthier. This simple meal begins with the bumpy, lumpy, gorgeously lime green broccoli romanesco, which appears to have landed in the 21st century straight from the Jurassic era.

But any broccoli would be a perfect substitute, as would a combo of other cruciferous vegetables. I throw in olives and capers for a salty tang, and chickpeas for protein. This is a great “transition” dish for kids who prefer their food components separate but are willing to try a more “adult” meal where everything is tossed together.

On a separate note, in honor of my one-year anniversary of blogging at A Happier Meal, I made some updates to the design and functionality of the site, including a direct to Pinterest button. Enjoy!

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