Penne Pasta with Vegetables & Chickpea Meatballs

When I make pasta for dinner (which my husband loves) I always try to make it extra healthy by squeezing in as many vegetables as I possibly can. Basically this is just a simple penne pasta with a store bought marinara sauce, but the addition of lots of vegetables and the chickpea “meatballs” makes it a colorful & healthy vegetarian entree.

Ingredients:

  • 4 – 5 cups of cooked pasta
  • 2 – 3 cups of marinara sauce (your favorite brand)
  • 5 – 6 cups of mixed cut-up vegetables (I used broccolini, cherry tomatoes, red onions, peppers, spinach – but almost any combination will work)
  • 2 TB. of minced herbs (thyme, basil & oregano would all work well)
  • 1/2 cup of mozzarella (torn into pieces)
  • 1/4 cup of grated parmesan

For the Chickpea Meatballs:

  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup of crushed nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 2 TB. of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup of minced herbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup of bread crumbs
  • 1 – 2 TB. of oil for the pan

* using a large knife chop the chickpeas & nuts into tiny pieces. In a medium bowl crack the egg and whisk it together with the oil & worcestershire sauce. Add the garlic, herbs and bread crumbs, then stir in the chopped chick peas & nuts.

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Form the mixture into small balls and place on a well oiled baking pan. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes in  a 350 degree oven until golden. While these are in the oven, cook the pasta to “al dente” according to the directions on the box.

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Cut your vegetables into bitesize pieces and saute in the olive oil until lightly cooked.

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Add the pasta sauce to the sauteed vegetables and heat until warm. (I like to reserve some of the vegetables to place on the top later) Place the cooked pasta on a platter and pour the vegetable marinara sauce over it. Add the pieces of mozzarella over that, along with the chick pea meatballs. Next place the reserved vegetables on top with some extra pepper, parmesan and minced herbs.

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Serve while warm, and Enjoy!

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