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Spinach, Chickpea and Feta Pasta in a Mug

The creamy, slightly briny flavor of feta adds an assertive edge to this Greek-inspired pasta, though milder cheeses (such as shredded Monterey Jack or Swiss) are also fine. Makes one 16-ounce mug serving.

1    cup frozen chopped spinach
½   cup ditalini or elbow macaroni
?   teaspoon salt
?   cup water
½   cup canned diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, with juice
?   cup rinsed and drained canned chickpeas
2    tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Salt
Ground black pepper

1. In the mug, microwave spinach on high for 1–2 minutes or until thawed and warm. Using the tines of a fork, press down firmly on the spinach and drain off excess liquid. Transfer to a small plate or bowl.

2. In the mug, combine pasta, 1/8-teaspoon salt and the water. Place in the microwave atop a doubled paper towel. Microwave on high for 2 minutes. Stir. Microwave on high for 3 minutes. If the mixture appears dry, add 1 tablespoon of water to the mug. Microwave for 1½–2 minutes or until pasta is tender.

3. Stir in spinach, tomatoes and chickpeas. Microwave on high for 60–90 seconds or until heated through. Let stand for 1 minute, and then stir in feta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

VARIATION
Spinach, Chicken and Feta Pasta: Use an equal amount of diced cooked chicken breast (or canned, water-packed chunk chicken, drained and flaked) in place of the chickpeas.


Recipe and image reprinted with permission from “250 Best Meals in a Mug” by Camilla V. Saulsbury (www.robertrose.ca,  ©2014).

TIPS
  • Opt for bags, as opposed to boxes, of frozen chopped spinach, as it is easier to remove small amounts at a time.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of your favorite dried herbs or herb blend (basil, oregano, Italian seasoning) with the feta.
  • Freeze the remaining tomatoes and chickpeas in separate freezer bags. You can freeze the entire amount in one bag, or portion out ½ cup per bag (for the tomatoes) or ? cup per bag (for the chickpeas) so that they are recipe-ready. Store for up to 3 months. Defrost before using.
  • To make this recipe gluten free, use quinoa macaroni in place of the ditalini and decrease the final cooking time in step 2 by 30 seconds.