Spinach and chickpea skillet

We’re still (just barely) in pre-baby time, yet for a good while now meal planning has been making a steady and subtle shift. The name of the new game is Healthy, Quick & Easy. At least, that’s the goal. It’s been a little more difficult this last week, when I’ve suddenly been struck by bouts of strong cravings, after having been largely immune to them throughout the whole going-on ten months. Mostly for bread. And ice cream. I especially want warm Panera bagels…cinnamon crunch (or maybe apple pie except it’s still too early and they’re not available), not toasted, but microwaved so it’s fat and soft and comforting.

Bagel love pangs aside, though, I’ve been lucky enough to mostly want good-for-you  things that happen to require little effort or preparation. Weeks ago now, we had this sauteed spinach and chickpea blend over baked sweet potatoes…sooo easy, soothing, and nutritious to boot. It was such a simple fix I really questioned whether it was worth writing down at all, but in the end I decided that sometimes it’s these kind of recipe ideas that could most use the note, even just scribbled in the corner of a related page in a cookbook. It’s as easy to forget how good and versatile they are as it is to throw them together.

The day after our baked sweet potato meal, the rest of the mix made for a great soup, and all I had to do was defrost some chicken stock. The next week, we ate it again  with the addition or chopped red pepper over cooked millet, and again the leftovers made for another easy day to follow.

I’m liking this Quick & Easy challenge a bit more than I expected. I thought I’d just feel guilty and lazy, but other demands have kept those feelings mostly at bay. When the tossed-together ingredients are also healthy and delicious, I get a real glow inside that definitely exceeds the 20 minutes or so that go into creating it. Eventually, I hope I can add “kid-friendly” to the line of adjectives, but just being pregnant has brought me a long way in recognizing that years of teaching experience mean nothing when it comes to predicting what kids will eat. He hasn’t even entered the world yet, and I’m very much anticipating how much his individual preferences may differ from mine; even more, how much he might even hate my cooking one day.

But we’re 40 weeks on Tuesday, with enough to think about, including a just-now broken boiler. There will be plenty of time to wonder and discover, and to cross those bridges as they come.

Spinach and chickpea skillet

  •  2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water, or chicken or vegetable stock
  • approximately 3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans, rinsed)
  • roughly 8 cups fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 good squeeze fresh lemon juice (about a tablespoon)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Stir in spices. 
  2. Add water or stock and chickpeas and heat through. 
  3. Stir in spinach. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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