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"We're going to do a chickpea orecchiette," says Rach. "This is a plant-based insanely delicious meal!" It's also healthy, vegetarian and high-protein, thanks to the chickpeas. The sauce is really interesting, too, she adds, because it's creamy without any cream. She uses tahini instead, thinning it out with a little water and spicing it with harissa. The finished pasta is topped with lots of herbs, scallions, EVOO and za'atar. Yum!
Pro Tip from Rach: You can buy za'atar, but it's really easy to make your own. My blend makes one cup and keeps a few months in a tight container in a cool place. In a small bowl, stir together ¼ cup sumac, ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, 2 tablespoons dried thyme, 2 tablespoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon ground coriander and 1 tablespoon Urfa chili.
Heat water for pasta.
Heat EVOO in large deep skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
Add carrots, celery, onion and salt and pepper to taste and soften 5 minutes. Add garlic. Stir in chickpeas and fire-roasted tomatoes. Mix together tahini and broth or water in a cup to thin out, then mix in harissa and add to the pan. Lower heat to gentle simmer.
Salt pasta water and cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions. Drain and save 1 cup starchy water.
Toss pasta with sauce, half of the chopped herbs, starchy water and some EVOO. Top with za'atar or sumac, remaining chopped herbs and green or white onions (if using).