Whole Wheat Orecchiette Sweet Potato Mac n’ Cheese with Crunchy Chickpeas

 This recipe is the result of indecision.

Sweet Potato Pasta (6 of 7)

Story of my life.  Someone come and make all my decisions for me like now.  And while you’re making my decisions for me, please also fill my closet with brightly colored cropped pants and neutral-colored, flowy shirts.  Yes, that would be much appreciated.  I would show my gratitude with pasta.

Here is the indecisive thought process that went into the makings of this pasta: 

“Ugh I really want some mac n’ cheese.  But I just bought those cute, little orecchiette pasta noodles.  I do have those 4 boxes of Amy’s mac n’ cheese, maybe I should just make one of those.  They have to be healthier than Kraft, right?  I don’t know.  Ugh.  I’ll just make my own.  Yes.  I’ll just smoosh together the mac n’ cheese with the orecchiette so it’ll be like mac n’ cheese minus the macaroni and plus the orecchiette.  Orecchiette n’ cheese.  Hmm, no.  That doesn’t should as catchy as “mac n’ cheese.”  Oh well, it’ll probably still taste like mac n’ cheese.”

Those are the things I think.

People tend to hate on carbs.  Which is silly because sweet potatoes are a carb and everyone knows that sweet potatoes are delicious and filled with healthy vegetable-ness.  So sweet potatoes aren’t typically in mac n’ cheese but there is always cheese and umm well cheese is perfect.  Hooray calcium. 

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I remember my love for mac n’ cheese actually started at Luby’s.  Whenever I was little and my cousins, sisters and I would stay with our grandparents for the weekend, they would always take us to Luby’s or Mexican food on Friday night.  My grandpa referred to Luby’s as “The Club.”  Like he would come home from work and ask my grandma, “so dear, are we going to The Club tonight?”  And we would all go and I would eat macaroni with baked fish and a roll.  All with ketchup.  It was like the best.  And then we would all go back to my grandparents house and spend the entire night decorating their dining room with streamers that we cut out of paper for an imaginary party we were having the next day.  And then we would sleep until 11am and wake up and eat oatmeal with far too much sugar.  Oh childhood.

It’s funny.  I was so good at planning imaginary parties when I was little but I’m not quite excelling at this whole wedding planning.  I’m sure it’s because I’ve been hardened by the world and had my creative spirit crushed along the way.  The 8-year old version of myself would have this entire wedding planned by now.  Complete with a wedding registry devoted to all things Barbie.

I did make some wedding planning process because I ordered my wedding invitations.  So that’s pretty super exciting.  Also super exciting, I went to salata for the first time and pretty much loved it.  So many salad toppings to choose from.  And you could choose them ALL if you wanted to.  It’s not one of those places where they charge you $0.50 for every.single.topping.  That like totally limits creativity.  And that is a bummer.

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Obviously this recipe has gluten in it.  About two years ago, my doctor suggested I transition to a gluten free lifestyle to try to fix a thyroid problem.  After 8 months following the gluten free lifestyle, it didn’t fix my messed up thyroid.  So I’ve since reintroduced gluten into my diet.  However, this blog has remained gluten free.  Lately I’ve been feeling a disconnect between my lifestyle in real life and the recipes on this blog.  So some recipes on the blog are going to begin containing gluten.  Just wanted to let you know.  However, this recipe is easy to make gluten free by just using a gluten free pasta instead of a whole wheat pasta.

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Whole Wheat Orecchiette Sweet Potato Mac n' Cheese with Crunchy Chickpeas

Yield: serves 1

Ingredients:

sweet potato orecchiette mac n' cheese
2/3 cup whole wheat orecchiette pasta
heaping 1/3 cup broccoli florets
1/3 cup sweet potato, roasted and mashed
1/4 cup milk (I used unsweetened, vanilla almond milk)
3 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
salt/pepper

crunchy chickpeas
2 tablespoons chickpeas
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt/pepper
garnish: paprika
 

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F and line a small baking dish with foil. In a small bowl, toss together chickpeas, olive oil and salt/pepper. Pour out your chickpeas into your baking dish and place in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare your pasta according to package directions. Also, steam your broccoli in a steamer over a pot of boiling water.

Then, prepare your sweet potato-parmesan sauce. In a sauce pan, whisk together mashed sweet potatoes and milk until smooth. Add in parmesan cheese, dijon mustard, and salt/pepper. Whisk together. The sauce will be thick. If you want a thinner sauce, add more milk.

Now combine all your ingredients. In a bowl, mix together cooked pasta, sweet potato-parmesan sauce and steamed broccoli. Top with roasted, crunchy chickpeas. Garnish with a sprinkle of paprika.