NY Times Chickpeas with Baby Spinach recipe. I was hoping for a chickpea recipe (cause my kids love chickpeas), so it seemed perfect. But I felt it wasn’t enough of a meal in and of itself. So, for protein, I added garlic shrimp, which I love. And I altered the recipe quite a bit, making it into more of a chickpea-tomato sauce. By then, the dish was just screaming for a grain to absorb the sauce. So, I added quinoa to the whole mix. The result: a deliciously saucy, chickpea recipe!
Kids’ ReactionsI’ll tell you what my kids thought of this meal. They loved the individual parts, but didn’t want to combine everything. I plated their quinoa, shrimp, and chickpea sauce separate. Both my kids love quinoa, so that was a winner. My 4 yo loves shrimp. As far as the sauce, both kids loved the chickpeas and picked those out. My 6 yo loves tomatoes, so he ate those too. But the spinach and onions from the sauce were strategically left on the plates. Lol. I can’t complain, though. Overall, it was a crowd pleaser.
Time is of the EssenceWorth mentioning is that this recipe uses every minute of the 28 minutes allotted. If your quinoa is cooking slowly or your oven burners don’t heat up very fast (like mine!), this recipe may take a little over 28 minutes. A great way to save time is to divide and conquer. Lol. Some ideas: (1) Have your little one halve the tomatoes and chop the onion right away. If your kid complains about their eyes, have them wear goggles while chopping the onion! (2) Show your kid how to use measuring spoons and have them measure the sauce spices into a little bowl together, ahead of time. (3) Your kid can probably rinse the chickpeas on their own. Mine loved that task.
🌈 KIDIFY THE MEAL 🌈tri-color quinoa, like this one from Bob’s Red Mill. 🍅Switch the grain! If you know your kids won’t eat quinoa, swap it for rice, pasta, polenta, or whatever they like.
🍴 MODIFY THE MEAL🍴This is a great option. (2) Take out the parmesan cheese. We actually only added this into the sauce, after some trial and error, to thicken it. The sauce was flavorful enough without the cheese. (3) Skip the shrimp, obvs. 🍅Make it Dairy Free! Eliminate the cheese, and and use a non-dairy butter for the shrimp.
- 1 lb frozen shrimp (deveined & shelled)
- 2 T butter
- 1/2 t salt
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1/2 lemon
- 1-2 T olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 T tomato paste
- 1/2 t ground cumin
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/4 t paprika
- 1/4 t black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 15 oz can chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- 3 big handfuls baby spinach
- 1 1/2 cups cherry/grape tomatoes (halved)
Bring 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Add quinoa, stir and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can fluff it with a fork and all liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat your oven to 350. Place frozen shrimp in colander in sink and run cold water over them for 5 mins. Heat butter in a Pyrex or small bowl in the microwave. Add salt and minced garlic to the butter. Mix together. Place shrimp in a rimmed baking sheet and pour butter mix on top. Stir the pan contents evenly with a spatula and squirt the half lemon over everything. Bake for ~9 mins, until shrimp is pink and cooked through.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in medium skillet. Add onion and cook for 5 mins, stirring often. Add garlic, tomato paste and spices, and cook for 2 mins. Add broth, chickpeas and cheese, and cook for 5 mins. Broth should be simmering. Then add spinach and tomatoes. Cook for 2 mins more.
You can serve this several ways. We poured the chickpea sauce over a pile of quinoa, and then topped it off with shrimp. You can also mix the shrimp into the sauce before serving, or even mix all the ingredients together in the pan.
We recommend that all meals for children be served with milk.