Leeks and bacon are a perfect match. Add some pasta to the mix, and you have a salty, savory, slightly sweet crave-worthy dinner on your hands.
Monday night dinners = keep it simple. Who am I kidding, that’s pretty much every night at our house. But I must admit yesterday was a “hit the ground running” kind of Monday and I came home extra exhausted. This little bowl of pasta comfort was just what the doctor ordered. It was delicious and extremely quick and easy to make before I collapsed on the sofa for the evening.
I think of leeks as the more subtle, more sophisticated relative of the allium family. They are an excellent source of vitamin C as well as iron and fiber. They offer many of the health benefits associated with garlic and onions, such as promoting the functioning of the blood and the heart. And, of course, I probably wrecked their health benefits by cooking them with bacon. Whatever. Life is all about balance and some days you need bacon.
If you haven’t cooked with leeks before, it’s important to know that they grow in sandy soil, so they can be gritty and need to be thoroughly cleaned. Here’s my easy method for getting them recipe ready. Fill a large bowl with cool water. Cut off the leek’s dark green end, trimming to the part where the color is pale green. Trim off the root end and slice the leek in half lengthwise. Then proceed to slice the leeks into half rounds. Place the slices into the bowl of water and swish around. The dirt will sink to the bottom and the leek slices will float. Then just scoop out the leek slices and pat them dry. Now they are ready to use.
For this recipe, I used Explore Cuisine organic chickpea fusilli from this month’s Degustabox. Made with four certified organic ingredients (chickpea flour, brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and pea protein), it’s gluten-free and high in protein, with 11 grams per serving. Cooked al dente, it has a nice texture and mild taste. Overall, I’ve found Explore Cuisine pasta to be a delicious, good quality alternative option to traditional pasta. (You can check out my recipe using their edamame spaghetti here.)
Even with the extra cleaning time for the leeks, this recipe comes together in under 30 minutes from start to finish. Simple, comforting, and delicious. This combination may easily become one of your favorite weeknight meals.
Bacon + Leek Chickpea Pasta
- 1, 8 oz. box Explore Cuisine Organic Chickpea Fusilli
- 2 bacon strips, diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 large leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flake
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
- Meanwhile, cook the diced bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until crisp.
- Remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon and reserve for later.
- Add three tablespoons olive oil to the bacon fat in the pan.
- Add the sliced leeks and minced garlic to the pan. Cook until softened.
- Toss in the cooked pasta. Sprinkle in the crushed red pepper flakes and lemon zest.
- Stir to combine and serve.