Pasta with garbanzos, tomatoes, feta, and mint

Ever since I discovered them, I think that garbanzo beans (i.e. chickpeas) have been one of my favorite beans. They are SO versatile – they work well with so many different flavors & preparations. I tried this recipe because it combines two of my loves – chickpeas AND orecchiette – my favorite shape of pasta! This is a tasty, easy recipe that everyone loves! Enjoy!

Pasta with garbanzos, tomatoes, feta, and mint
Adapted from Bon Appetit, Aug 2005
Serves 8

Ingredients:
1 pound whole wheat orecchiette (ear-shaped pasta), or other medium-sized whole wheat pasta

1 pound Golden Grape or cherry tomatoes (scant 4 cups), halved
8 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint plus sprigs for garnish
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus sprigs for garnish
2 garlic cloves, minced

1 15 -ounce can salt-free garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained, patted dry
4 ounces fat-free feta cheese, coarsely crumbled

Directions:
Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, 2 tablespoons (6 teaspoons) olive oil, chopped mint, green onions, chopped cilantro, and garlic in large bowl. Season to taste with salt.

Heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add garbanzo beans and sauté until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Add garbanzo beans and pasta to tomato mixture in bowl; toss to coat. Add feta; toss briefly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with mint and cilantro sprigs. Serve warm or let stand at room temperature up to 2 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

**Note** For a milder garlic flavor, cook the minced garlic with the garbanzo beans instead of using raw.

Nutritional info:
Calories: 326.6
Total Fat: 5.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 406.4 mg
Total Carbs: 59.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.3 g
Protein: 12.4 g

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