Life is so busy, I am loving my new job and as you know I am currently sorting travels plans to Abergavenny and Newquay, both of which I am so excited about, but I really need to up my fitness over the next few weeks and also come up with some great meals that I can make in advance to take with me, this recipe for Chickpeas in Spiced Smokey Tomato Sauce is just perfect to take away with me, I can make the sauce, pop it into a Tupperware container and just warm it up on the stove when needed. Perfect!

Someone asked me the other day how do I manage everything, career, home, social life, travel, etc! I simply just said that I have too, even though its been 9 months since ‘He’ left I still carry the pain of it all with me, its like a deep wound that may never heal, yes I have made an amazing life for myself, but I do still have down days and days when I am just so scared, especially of things like losing our home. Time is not a healer, you just get better at masking your feelings to the outside world!

To help, I have just filled every waking moment with as many new adventures and excitement as I can, I have become a whole new person, I have found me. I didn’t realise that I had such a strong person inside of me, yes I have been through some horrific things in the past, but this nearly killed me, but I have crawled my way back via my career, my fantastic support network, my diet and health, now I can take on the World and boy do I intend to.

Enough bleating I hear you say, and you are so right ! Lets talk about this fabulous recipe instead. Chickpeas in Spiced Smokey Tomato Sauce is a revelation, Its simple, so quick, so good for you and has one of my favourite ingredients in…. Smoked Paprika! I just love the stuff, it gives such depth to a recipe and I use it in so many of my dishes. This dish is also Vegan which makes me a really happy bunny, plus please use wholewheat pasta rather than the nasty over refined stuff, its well worth the extra money and so much better for you. Just remember to cook it a little longer and you will be surprised how quickly everyones taste buds adapt, my lot don’t even notice anymore, even when Rosie is cooking when I am working lates, she still asked for wholewheat pasta/rice.

Well its a bank holiday weekend, I have so much planned, but will definitely be cooking up a storm, I have some great new recipes to try, so hopefully some will be blog worthy, these Chickpeas in Spiced Smokey Tomato Sauce definitely were and I know I will be making this dish over & over again, I love it !!!

Buon appetito

Chickpeas in Spiced Smokey Tomato Sauce

1/2 cup chopped onion (about 1 small onion)
1 can chickpeas
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup crushed tomatoes (I used tinned, but if you have fresh really ripe ones just pop them in the blender & use them instead, it will give the recipe a really fresh taste.
1 teaspoon dried Oregano
1 teaspoon dried Thyme (again you could use fresh, it would add a very different level of flavour)
2-3 teaspoons Smoked Paprika, depending on how smoky you like it, I used 3 as I absolutely love the stuff.
1-3 teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, depending on how spicy you like it, I only used one as my lots do not like it to hot!
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
6 cups spinach
Enough Wholewheat penne pasta to serve 4 (make sure its egg free if wanting a vegan option)
20-30 roasted garlic cloves, for toping (optional)

Roast garlic by mixing with a splash of veggie broth and some salt. Wrap in tin foil , and
or parchment and roast at 400F/200C for 20-25 minutes until garlic is browning and
looks caramelized – I must confess that I was in a hurry and totally skipped this, if you do
try it and its fab, please let me know.

Chop onions.

Pulse chickpeas in a food processor until coarsely chopped, only 2-3 times.
You can also crush them a bit with your hands if you prefer.

Saute onions and ¼ teaspoon salt in a pan over medium heat until they begin to brown
and get fragrant. Add chickpeas and tomato paste and sauté a few more minutes.

Add crushed tomatoes and spices and mix again for a few minutes. Add spinach and rest
of salt, cover and cook about 10 minutes. Mix to make it saucy. It will be thick versus a
thinner marinara type of sauce.

Meanwhile cook your penne according to package directions.
Mix penne into the sauce, then serve topped with roasted garlic if using and Parmesan.