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Lemony Pasta with Garbanzo Beans

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

I was inspired to make this recipe after reading the description of a different recipe that said “so much arugula is practically a salad.” You can use spring mix or baby spinach here too but I really like how the arugula wilts down a little when tossed with the warm pasta.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
  • 14 cup Capers
  • 1 head Cauliflower
  • 2 cloves Garlic (chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (plus more for cooking the pasta)
  • 14 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 15-ounce can Garbanzo Beans
  • 14 cup Unsalted Butter (divided)
  • 8 ounces Fusilli Pasta (or preferred shape)
  • 1 Lemon
  • 6 cups Arugula (baby, if you can find it)
  • 4 ounces Parmesan Cheese

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. BRING A LARGE POT OF WATER TO A BOIL
  • 2. CAPERS

    Heat 4 Tablespoons of the oil in a large deep-sided skillet over medium-high. Add the capers and cook, swirling the pan occasionally until they burst open and are crispy, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the capers to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside. Reserve oil in skillet.

  • 3. CAULIFLOWER

    Slice cauliflower into florets. Then dice up the core and most of the leaves too - only remove the leaves that are yellowed or with holes, and slice off the bottom most ¼” of the core. The rest is great to cook!

    Add the cauliflower to the same skillet over medium-high heat, and stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.

  • 4. GARLIC

    Mince the garlic while cauliflower is cooking. Then reduce the heat to low and add garlic, the salt, and the black pepper, to taste. Cover and cook until cauliflower begins to soften throughout, about 4 minutes long.

  • 5. GARBANZOS

    Uncover and increase heat to high. Drain the beans and add them. Add 2 Tablespoons butter, and remaining 2 Tablespoon oil and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower and garbanzos are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

  • 6. PASTA

    Meanwhile, cook pasta in the water, with a tablespoon or so of salt. Stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, but reserve 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.

  • 7. FINISH

    Remove the pan with the cauliflower from the heat. Zest and lemon and set aside. Add lemon juice, ½ cup pasta cooking liquid, and remaining 2 Tablespoon butter. Add the drained pasta, tossing and adding a little more pasta cooking liquid as needed, until nicely coated.

  • 8. SERVING

    If serving right now, toss the hot pasta/cauliflower combo with the arugula then divide among bowls, stirring to combine. Top with reserved crispy capers and heaps of parmesan cheese and zest.

    If serving anytime after 5 minutes from now, keep the arugula separate. This includes if you expect to have leftovers. You can toss with arugula once the pasta and sauce have cooled to about room temperature, that will be enough to slightly wilt but not brown the fresh greens.

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Substitutions

  • GLUTEN FREE:
    use GF pasta, or omit pasta and make this with lentils, quinoa, or rice noodles
  • PESCATARIAN:
    seared shrimp, flaked white fish or salmon, scallops
  • CAPERS:
    green olives, pepperoncini, or green peas
  • FUSILLI:
    use any shape you have or like
  • ARUGULA:
    baby spinach, mixed greens mix, kale, chard, or use something frozen
  • BUTTER:
    this dish has lots of butter. coconut milk would taste different, but delicious - a Tablespoon of cashew cream, miso, or tahini works to give you creaminess but less butter
  • GARBANZO BEANS:
    allergic? omit beans and use roasted diced potatoes or yams or eggplant. Use frozen corn or peas. Use chopped almonds or walnuts. Not allergic to beans, you can use white beans or cooked lentils too
  • PARMESAN:
    optional topping - dotted with goat cheese is amazing too
  • CAULIFLOWER:
    broccoli, green beans, eggplant, yams, any roasted veggie is great
  • MUST HAVE MEAT:
    this is a perfect "Leftover Reinvention" base - add sliced or shredded chicken, sliced steak, crumble a turkey burger over top, bacon, sausages. Or you could purposefully cook those meats first and toss them in or serve this on the side

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Divide out the components - cooked cauliflower, pasta, beans. Serve in separate piles.
  • Try tossing some beans with oil and salt and roast at 400 until crispy and fun!
  • Using spinach might be better than arugula, which can be quite peppery, but if they're unlikely to eat either don't worry about this part. Though you could also cook some spinach down on the side too.
  • Try using a fun pasta shape - either just for kids or make this shape for adults too. Dinosaur pasta for the win!

For Toddlers

  • Consider steaming the cauliflower further in the microwave (cover add a bit of water and power on high in the microwave for a minute or so) and mash it with some garbanzo beans for a nice consistency.

For Choosy Eaters

  • Serve plain pasta and cooked cauliflower.
  • For the beans - try either mashing them while warm with some butter and salt, maybe garlic powder. Or, toss with oil and salt and roast at 400 until crispy and fun!

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. This dish is best cooked and served right away, or cooked ahead and served cold, like a pasta salad
  2. However, you could cook the mushrooms or roast the cauliflower ahead of time and let it cool before finishing the pasta later
Rate this recipe:
5 votes, average: 4.60 out of 55 votes, average: 4.60 out of 55 votes, average: 4.60 out of 55 votes, average: 4.60 out of 55 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5 (5 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)
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