Make your valentine swoon with artichoke pesto pasta and fried chickpeas…
It’s interesting how much more important something seems when you feel like you’re missing out on it. For example, Valentine’s Day. When I was a kid and into my teens, I imagined that everyone else was having a super romantic day – flowers, candies, kisses, cards… Couples were meeting at the top of skyscrapers, and impromptu violins were playing. But now that I’ve been married for a decade, February 14th is a bit more perfunctory.
That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy romance. I do. But romance finds itself in other ways…
It’s when David sees that I’ve left my slippers in a corner and puts them in front of the heater instead, so that they’ll be warm when I go to slip them on. Romance is when he knows that I need a blanket for some evening TV-viewing without saying a word. It’s when he laughs at my corny jokes, or surprises me with a record that I’d mentioned in passing. When I hear him grinding coffee beans in the kitchen, that’s romance, or when he brings me a glass of cucumber water as I’m writing this post. They may sound like little things, but they matter, because they show that he cares and he’s thinking of me.
In our house, oversized boxes of chocolates and roses wrapped in plastic don’t make a Valentine’s Day appearance. (Also, Avon would eat the flowers. So that would be a lose all around.) One exception, there’s always a card. I love stationery, and a mushy note never went amiss.
And even though David and I both adore a fine vegan meal, when it comes to fancy Valentine’s Day dinners, we usually skip those too. Restaurants are crowded on the 14th, and multi-course dinners are overpriced. Usually we make a meal at home instead – often something as simple as a nibbly night. Cashew cheese, crackers, dolmas, and wine do just fine.
Artichoke Pesto Pasta
Today I’m offering another choice for your Valentine’s Day dinner – artichoke pesto pasta with fried chickpeas.
Artichoke hearts have the word “heart” built right into the name, and some claim that it’s an aphrodisiac. (Doesn’t hurt to test that theory, right?) The artichoke hearts are whirled into a pesto with fresh basil and pumpkin seeds. It’s then tossed with pasta.
For this recipe I used handmade rustic pappardelle from my favorite Iowa pasta maker, but use any vegan pasta that you prefer. To amp up the romantic tension, you could even slurp the noodles Lady and the Tramp-style. 😉
Even though this dish is holiday-worthy, it’s also great for an easy lunch or dinner. It reheats well for leftovers, and I packed some for David’s lunch this week. (He assured me it was very romantic as he ate lunch at his desk.)
This time of year when it’s day after day of gray outside, the brightness of the basil and freshness of the lemon shines. The artichoke pesto pasta is topped with chickpeas for added protein and texture. They can either be roasted in the oven or fried in the air fryer, as I shared earlier this week.
For garnish, I added some fresh basil leaves and the remaining artichoke hearts from the jar that I browned in a skillet. That part is optional, but it does add to the eye appeal.
Make this artichoke pesto pasta for your sweetie, and forget about hiring string instruments. Peace-loving vegans are against violins anyway. Oh, wait. I think that’s violence… 😉 (See? I warned you they were corny.)