Chickpea spinach gigli pasta with za’atar is a flavorful, lovely dish. Gigli means “lilies” in Italian, and this pasta is very pretty, wavy and swirled like little flowers. Its shape also helps it to hold sauces or herbs. If you can find a vegetable gigli pasta, you can also get the gorgeous red and green from tomatoes and spinach in the pasta color.
A while back, a friend gave me a HUGE jar of za’atar. At the time I hadn’t heard of it, but I looked it up and started sprinkling it on my veggies, especially potatoes. Za’atar (sometimes just “zaatar”) is an herb or blend from Mediterranean Middle East countries. It has a unique savory flavor. When researching za’atar, I found it can be a number of different herbs, or blend of herbs. Some herbs you will find in za’atar blends are thyme, oregano, marjoram, or sumac, and even cumin, coriander, or fennel. You’ll want to try different brands of za’atar and find one that you like. I moved my za’atar from its huge jar into smaller kitchen jars, so I don’t know the brand I have, or I would recommend it!
This recipe can be made without the za’atar, but Mr. Key Lime and I both agree that it definitely adds some satisfying finishing flavors to this dish.
I use my own homemade vegetable broth for all recipes now. It just tastes so much better than the store bought kind. You can have a look at the recipe here: Kitchen Basics Homemade Vegetable Broth.
If you aren’t familiar with crushing garlic with a large knife, it’s simple. Place the garlic on any cutting board or flat surface. There’s no need to peel it first. Using the flat side of a broad knife, just smash the garlic down toward the cutting board. Remove the knife and pull all of the garlic peeling off. For this recipe, you also want to chop up the garlic a little bit. Don’t fuss over it too much.
When using dried thyme, I recommend crushing it, too. You can just crush it between your hands over the pan, or you can use a mortar and pestle. This releases the flavor and aromas a little bit more and keeps the dried herb bits from being to large in your bites.
This recipe is adapted from delicious.