Weekend Recipe: Balsamic Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas with Orzo Pasta


This simple, healthy pasta dish features an interesting medley of textures, including roasted broccoli with irresistibly crisp edges, roasted chickpeas that are still tender on the inside, smooth orzo pasta and toasted pine nuts. These base ingredients are tossed in a balsamic-olive oil blend for a quick, satisfying dinner.

Balsamic Roasted Broccoli and Chickpeas with Orzo Pasta
Serves 4
1 1/2 pounds broccoli (3 big florets), cut into small bite-sized florets
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or one 14 oz. can)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
sea salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 pound (8 ounces) whole grain orzo pasta (or any other small pasta shape)
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit and line a rimmed half-sheet baking pan with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar with a dash of sea salt, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional). Use a clean tea towel or paper towels to gently dry off the outer surface of your chickpeas (if you are using canned chickpeas, rinse and drain first). Some of the chickpea skins will come off so pick those off the beans as needed. 

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In a medium mixing bowl, toss the broccoli and chickpeas with the balsamic-olive oil mixture. Dump the broccoli and chickpeas onto the baking pan, including as much of the balsamic-olive oil mixture as possible. Spread the broccoli and chickpeas into a single layer. Bake, tossing halfway, until the broccoli is crispy at the edges and tender in the middle, about twenty minutes. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the pasta al dente as directed on the package and drain. Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon dijon mustard. Toss the balsamic-olive oil mixture with the cooked orzo, broccoli and chickpeas. Season with more salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar to taste. Add more olive oil if it seems dry.   

In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pine nuts until fragrant, stirring frequently. Stir the pine nuts into the orzo and sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve warm. Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days. Serve leftovers chilled or warmed. 

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