Spinach & Artichoke Dip Quinoa with Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas
& combatting cooking burnout
Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’ve made it here and aren’t yet a subscriber, come join! You can expect recipes, musings, and faves in your inbox every Wednesday! Paid subscribers get even more! Learn more about my paid membership here. You can also try a week for free!
It’s so funny to me that some weeks, I’m bursting with things to say, and then other weeks roll around, and I’m drawing a blank. The internet was pissing me off last week, but this week I’m not even thinking about online life — I’m just in my kitchen cooking and at my computer writing. We went to Palm Springs over the weekend for a wedding, and ever since we got back, I’ve been laser-focused on reaching those end-of-the-month deadlines.
As far as food goes, I started to realize that I was only buying groceries for pre-planned recipes I’d scheduled for work, which meant for all other meals, I was scrambling to put something together or just caving and ordering in takeout. For many months now, I’ve lost the joy of cooking dinner because and all my energy and creativity were going into making recipes for work during the day. My friend Anela Malik talked about something similar last week on her Instagram.
My love for cooking grew in college when I’d come home after a stressful day and make a nourishing, tasty meal. It felt great to unwind; the chopping felt meditative, the smells putting me at ease. And of course, the actual act of eating food always brings me pleasure. But cooking all day for work often leaves me feeling burnt out by the end of the day, so making more food doesn’t exactly feel relaxing.
I’ve always found that I’m most experimental without expectation, and I wanted to get back to those roots. Part of the problem, I discovered, was that I just didn’t have ingredients to play with. I thrive when faced with the challenge of pairing leftover food in the fridge, but so often I send Grant out with a grocery list that I don’t buy ingredients just to buy them, which means I don’t have food just hanging around waiting to be cooked. So, I’m now correcting the problem by going to the store myself and purchasing food without the intent of making a specific recipe. So far so good — I can feel that spark of joy coming back.
THINGS I’M LOVING!
I am knee-deep in the wedding season of my life, so I’ve been on a mission to get really good at doing my own hair and makeup. After seeing the Revlon Hot Air Brush all over TikTok, I decided to go for it. At only $45 dollars, it’s a really good and affordable hair tool! I struggle with doing my own hair, and it was really easy to use! I would recommend only using it on low and with a heat protectant (as I’ve heard it can damage hair if you use it too much, although to me, that’s expected since it’s a heat product), but it’s perfect for my needs, which is special events! Way cheaper than getting a blowout over and over (and wayyy easier than using a blowdryer and brush lol).
I am a proud member of the Rancho Gordo Bean Club Facebook Group, and these Smoky Confit Beans have been the talk of the town lately. I finally gave them a try, and they are SO easy and delicious. I left out the olives — because I just can’t — but I was obsessed with their flavor and loved how they got all crisp around the edges. I also added a little habanero hot sauce to mine for a kick. I plan to make these again this week! So easy.
Speaking of beans… if you’re someone who gets a little, ahem, gassy after eating them (okay let’s be honest who doesn’t lol), it is time to try Hilma’s Gas & Bloat Relief! It’s made with 5 different herbs that help aid digestion — I like that it has a slight hint of fennel when you swallow it. I’d seen this brand on Instagram and I finally decided to try them out, and I am quite pleased!! Grant and I have now been taking them every time we have a bean meal to help with any bloating and gas. You can also use code KALEMEMAYBE20 for 20 percent off until 1/30 (full disclosure that they are a sponsor of mine this month on Instagram, but they did not sponsor this newsletter write-up)!!
Think of this dish as a spinach and artichoke dip, but the full meal version!! The “dip” gets kicked up a notch with the addition of quinoa as the base and crispy chickpeas on top, both of which provide plenty of plant-based protein. I love to use Greek yogurt as the base for all my creamy recipes, and this one is no exception. It, too, provides a good source of protein as well as a rich flavor and creamy texture. The crispy chickpeas on top finish off the dish with a little added crunch and savoriness from the Parmesan.
I use canned artichoke hearts here, but you can always use the marinated jarred kind for a little extra flavor. For this recipe, I also cooked the quinoa in some veggie broth to make it richer tasting as well!
Spinach & Artichoke Dip Quinoa with Crispy Parmesan Chickpeas
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp grated Parmesan
Salt & pepper
Spinach & Artichoke Quinoa
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups plus 1 tbsp vegetable broth, divided
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1 cup Greek yogurt
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more to top
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
9 oz baby spinach leaves (about 4-5 cups)
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Add chickpeas, olive oil and Parmesan to a small bowl, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together until the chickpeas are evenly coated, and then spread in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until chickpeas are golden and crispy.
2. While chickpeas are baking, add quinoa and 2 cups veggie broth to a small/medium pot. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until is fully cooked and fluffy.
3. Heat up olive oil in a large pan on medium-low heat. Add onions, and cook for 5-6 minutes until onions are soft and translucent. Add the spinach and remaining 1 tbsp vegetable broth and sauté until the spinach has cooked down. Add the garlic and artichoke hearts, and mix together.
4. Turn the heat to low and add the Greek yogurt, grated Parmesan, garlic and onion powder, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Mix together, and then add in your quinoa, and mix again.
5. Transfer to two bowls and top with crispy chickpeas and another sprinkle of Parmesan.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!
Last week, paid subscribers received an exclusive recipe for Spiced Cauliflower with Mint & Pomegranate! Each month, I’m focusing on a fruit or vegetable that’s in season and creating a recipe around it, and this month we focused on cauli!