Pasta with Garlic Chickpeas

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The world is upside down right now. As of a week ago, Toronto is on lockdown – our province is in a state of emergency, schools, restaurants and stores (except grocery stores) are closed, and people are staying indoors and avoiding others. Almost overnight, it feels like our whole society has shut down. It’s  hard to manage my busy hospital shifts, working from home for my community health job, trying to take care of family members I can no longer safely see in person, and trying to stay sane when I can’t interact with anyone in person. The whole world feels depressed, anxious, and isolated, and it feels like we can’t do much to help each other.

So with that in mind, I wanted to make something that is tasty, easy to make, and can be made using things you probably have in your kitchen already. Food is comfort, and especially at uncertain times like these, I think we’re all searching for some comfort and connection.

What else am I doing to try to hold on to my mental heath? Virtual hangouts with my friends, trying to cut down on news and social media consumption, smiling at people in the street or grocery store from afar. Things that make me feel especially hopeful: all the people sharing workouts on instagram, sharing ways to stave off boredom for kids (or adults with dementia), artists live streaming music shows; all these little actions feel like we’re all trying to hold each other together until this passes. I hope you’re all staying well.

Makes 3-4 servings

Ingredients
About half a box (454g box) of pasta
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
1/2-1 tsp chili flakes
salt and pepper
1 cup baby spinach
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about 2 cups if you’re using cooked dried chickpeas)

Directions
1. Cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

2. While the pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add chili flakes and cook another minute or two, until just about to get golden. Add spinach and season with salt and pepper. Cook until spinach wilts. Add chickpeas and cook, stirring, another 3-4 minutes. Add pasta and toss to mix it all together.

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