So I’m kind of having a moment with artichokes.
Just even writing that out makes me almost be able to taste their tangy-deliciousness in my mouth, even though I just ate a nice big breakfast of peanut butter pancakes and coffee and somehow it seems like a terrible time to be thinking about the tang of artichokes. But is there ever a terrible time for artichokes? NEVERRRRRR.
These little toasts are piled high with the most simple, summery, 10 minute artichoke + spinach + chickpea salad that is basically an open invitation for any and all of your fresh summer herbs. The acidic tang of the artichokes and the lemon plus the smooth, velvety, rich flavor of the olive oil and the freshness of the basil with some cracked black pepper over the whole thing? Ugh. These are the addicting flavors of summer.
It’s healthy, it’s easy, and it requires no stove or oven time whatsoever, so obviously I make it weekly because it’s just that simple and that necessary.
You guys, I have some big news. I’m starting a garden! HA HA. But I’m not kidding.
If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time and read about my black thumb issues when it comes to growing anything, or if you’ve been to my house lately and seen my poor little saggy basil plant, or if you actually knew how many times I’ve even so much as lifted a finger to do any sort of yard work (zero), you might be silently judging me. I know, and it’s totally justified, and I’m leading the charge of judgement against myself. Follow me, guys!
But last week, within that self-judgement for having never even given more than a 2% effort to grow anything in my yard, I somehow found motivation in the form of a delicious meal of grilled marinated portobello and Provolone burgers with sweet potato fries and grilled veggie skewers with homemade basil pesto and fresh mint and nectarine sangria. ARE YOU OBSESSED? I was obsessed.
This motivational meal was prepared for me by my most incredible and lovely friends, Alex and Sonja of the beautiful blog, A Couple Cooks. When I was in Indianapolis to teach a small photography workshop this week, they let me stay at their adorable old and charming + modern-ly decorated house (it’s Pinterest in real life) and they made me eat all this delicious food, lots of which was jazzed up by herbs from their garden. THEY MADE ME. It was sooo rough.
Every so often during the dinner-making-process, one of them would just pop outside to their garden and grab a handful of something delicious and come back in to infuse the garden magic into our dinner. I am totally enamored with this idea, especially because in my head it involves the hippie version of myself that makes everything from scratch, invites all the neighbors over for dinner every night, and never makes frozen pizzas. Goals.
When you garden (garden is a verb, right? I’m what you might call a NOVICE), in addition to being able to wear the badge of Person Who Grows Edible Things From The Ground, more importantly, you get to take advantage of the straight up deliciousness of fresh basil, thyme, mint, rosemary, green beans, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, and more right outside your window. That is something I NEED in my life. I’m an adult. I am a capable person. I can do this. I can do this. I can really do this.
I think they could see my heart-eyes-emoji face as I gawked at the garden, so Alex gave me a 10 minute garden and compost tutorial and recommended a gardening book to me, and I bought it and devoured it on the plane ride home and currently have a small compost collection started from yesterday’s pesto and veggie scraps.
No, hold the phone.
ME. And a NONFICTION GARDENING BOOK. And COMPOST.
There is so much wrong with this picture, but let’s just roll.
And roll I will, right into the arms of this easy, tangy, fresh, herb-loaded meal that is everything summer right before I head out the door this weekend to buy all my gardening stuffs.
You guys, I don’t even need any advice, so don’t worry about leaving any in the comments. –> LIES. Tell me everything.
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 14-ounce can chickpeas or white beans, rinsed and drained
- a handful of fresh basil
- juice of one lemon (or two, if you love tangy like me!)
- a generous drizzle of good quality olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 heaping cup canned or jarred artichoke hearts, drained
- about 2 cups fresh baby spinach or other greens
- 10 small pieces of whole wheat bread, toasted
- Pulse the garlic and chickpeas and about half of the basil in a food processor until finely minced and crumbly (see picture in post).
- Cut the remaining basil into ribbons and chop the artichokes. Toss the chickpea mixture with the lemon, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper, and artichoke hearts. Taste and adjust to your liking.
- Add the spinach or greens just before serving. Serve on the toasted bread. You can also serve this with chips or in a wrap... endless possibilities, really.
For the nutrition label, I used ⅓ cup olive oil and ½ teaspoon salt.
PS. I used my food processor for this recipe, which I am totally obsessed with. Check out this post to find out my 12 Magical Ways to use a food processor and which brands/sizes I recommend.