big ol’ mess of happiness: potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce

big ol' green bowl of happiness

I’m not sure how long I can coast on the “ack, we just moved!” excuse. There are boxes of books lining our hallway ready to give away or sell. Our art prints are stacked up against the floor in the dining room. Even all my beloved cookbooks are still packed away. We’re not sure where to put our dozens and dozens of board games. A housewarming party? Not even in the near future! Let’s face it, things are moving slowly. I know it’s silly in a world of blogs and pretty pinterest boards to try to even think of keeping up with what others have done, but I just want a pretty house too!

potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce

I’m pretty social by nature. I love to surround myself with good food, good friends, and great conversations. Meaning, I love having people over! So after our move I was really hesitant with my invites. First, of course, came our in-laws and everything went smoothly. I remembered how much fun it was to cook for others and how much of a home it makes to share the laughter and good times with more than just the two of us. Then my friends slowly started to trickle in. I made slaws and crumb bars and was forgetting about the idea of The Perfect Home. My friends came over and oooh’d and aahhh’d at our new space and congratulated us on our first home. They didn’t care about the boxes or the fact that we hadn’t found the perfect hoosier cabinet for my kitchen.

potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce

This lovely looking meal is one I put together for a friend. It comes from Heidi who says that this dish is a non-fancy affair. Well, for me, it was a bit of a fuss. Sure, I changed her recipe a lot, but there were quite a few elements to prepare. While I may not have the patience to put together a home, putting together a spectacular lunch is totally within my realm of expertise!

potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce

The key here is to give yourself time. Have your quinoa steamed and fluffed (or brown rice). Set up little bowls of julienned carrots, sliced green onions, and toasted almonds. While the potatoes are roasting, mix up your mint sauce. Pour your drinks! I made a lovely whiskey sour with some of the leftover mint leaves. It was perfect! The last thing you should do is roast the asparagus since it can go to mush super quick. You want them bright green and snappy.

potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce

If I was serving this meal with just me and the husband, I’d serve this in deep bowls. Quinoa on the bottom, potato & chickpeas next and the asparagus last. But since I was having a friend over, I served it Heidi-style, on a pretty vintage platter. It certainly made the meal look even lovelier, I think.

potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce

I liked the addition of carrots and onions sprinkled over top of everything since it made this more into a salad bowl and less wintery. I liked the crunch and textures of everything all combined. The original recipe called for chopped dates to be sprinkled over top. I wish I had set out my dates on the table because I’m sure it would have been a tasty addition. Next time. If you add the dates, let me know how it goes!

potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce

So I don’t have the ideal storage solutions yet. I’m still checking Craigslist and I’m even dreaming about all the potential thrifting goods that we’ll stumble over on our summer road trip. It’s okay, because I’ve got a good weekend lunch at the ready. So get over your insecurities and have some pals over, okay? Okay!

elsewhere: Over at Poppytalk I make a quinoa & kale tabbouleh and it’s awesome. More power and happiness in a bowl, hip hip!

24 comments to “big ol’ mess of happiness: potato, asparagus & chickpea bowl with mint sauce”

  1. 1
    Louisa   June 11, 2012 at 1:15 am

    Rad! I’m so going to make a wintery version of this tomorrow.

  2. 2
    Mary Aronson   June 11, 2012 at 3:42 am

    Yum!! This looks fantastic, and I have a bunch of mint in my garden I can use! LOL Will definitely be making this later on this week. Thanks for posting!

  3. 3
    Ashlae   June 11, 2012 at 6:21 am

    I was all about the thought of entertaining people in our new place that I unpacked 100+ boxes from 6am-2am, the night after we moved into our new apartment. Thinking back, that was one of the worst days I’ve had in awhile (not to mention, my body ached for days) – but it was so nice having the apartment come together.

    This big ol’ mess looks delicious! I’m big on quinoa bowls + boat loads of veggies. But the dates I picked up are dry, so I think I’ll try it with raisins? Maybe?

    PS – we’re going to be out of town 23-26 June.. fingers crossed that’s not when you’re planning on being in Denver. AHHHHH!

  4. 4
    Joanne (Bijoux)   June 11, 2012 at 6:24 am

    J, Try not to fret too much. I’ve been in my house for almost 4 years now and things still don’t look the way I want them to. At this point I’ve already given up with the notion of having an organized & lovely home. I hear the same thing from other home owners. The list of things to fix and do are ongoing. Welcome to home ownership 🙂

    The asparagus and potatoes dish looks just delicious! And the mint sauce, I will definitely have to make. Yum! I have mint in my backyard growing like mad.

    Is that bowl of olives on the table? If yes, you are so Greek 😉

  5. 5
    Joanne   June 11, 2012 at 6:48 am

    I think I’ve finally learned that you can wait forever until your place is “perfect” to have people over…but that will actually never happen! And your real friends will love you no matter the state of your house. This big bowl sounds so delicious! I love how many different components of tastiness it contains.

  6. 6
    Gretchen @   June 11, 2012 at 7:01 am

    When we bought our first house I kept a running list of all the projects that I wanted to do to make the place “perfect.” That list stressed me out. After 7 years I realized that no matter what I did to that place, it really wasn’t making me happy. We’ve been in our new house for over a year now, and while there are projects that I’d like to do, I much happier living in the moment of how things are right now. So don’t worry, the boxes will go away eventually and you definitely know how to host a fabulous lunch!

  7. 7
    Donna   June 11, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I’m with Joanne as far as sharing time with friends goes. I also like your take on a Heidi recipe. I have a very precious jar of her rhubarb rosewater syrup in my refrigerator right now. And, love that vintage…

  8. 8
    Cortnie   June 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I always feel so accomplished when I pull off a nice lunch or dinner for guests – it’s the best!

    Can’t wait to try this and the sweet and sour cucumber salad as well.

    p.s. Love your kitchen table.


  9. 9
    dramatic pancake   June 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    When my fiance and I moved into our current apartment, I was obsessed with making everything PERFECT. That dream died fairly quickly, and I’ve learned to accept that my home can never compete with pinterest. Oh well! We can still have nice parties and serve beautiful meals like this one 🙂

  10. 10
    klygrrrrl   June 11, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    This came through my email today and I realized I had all the needed ingredients and *nothing* planned for dinner. We enjoyed it immensely and I was able to take my first harvest from our mint plant and use it for this dinner! Thanks for the yumminess.


  11. 11
    lori   June 11, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Hope you guys have an awesome trip! This meal looks nice too 🙂

  12. 12
    Jacqui   June 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    So my kind of meal! And I’m right there with you on the whole boxes still everywhere and things without a place yet. I’ve found that everyone who’s been over so far really doesn’t mind either, especially when there’s good food around!

  13. 13
    Rachel   June 11, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    There’s nothing like a big mess of happiness to christen your new home! This is my kind of sophisticated spring comfort food! I particularly love the sauce (I’m eyeing the mint in my mini garden deviously).
    It’s tough to reconcile your ideals of perfection when moving into your own house! I know I grimace every time I look at my walls and realize that I haven’t hung a single picture in my house yet…and it’s been 6 months since we moved in.

  14. 14
    Nicole   June 12, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I think most of us can relate to those same feelings. The good news is that guests don’t seem to notice as much as we do 🙂 The spread you made for your friend looks fantastic!

  15. 15
    Piper   June 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I love your photos so much! Your dishes are awesome and incredible. I love the way they just seem to accent your healthy dishes. Thanks for always making amazing combinations to inspire us all.

  16. 16
    Holly Parsons   June 14, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Looks delicious! I’m dreading our move to Kentucky in the fall. Good luck on the unpacking, and getting your house put together. Being a military family, we move all the time. The kitchen is always the first thing I unpack. I can’t stand not having my cookbooks and kitchen gadgetry!

  17. 17
    A Chow Life   June 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    It does look lovely. So lovely. All your food does. I love coming here because it makes me feel inspired. I just need to open up the fridge and pantry and start cooking. I’ve been such a mess lately though. Gotta get back on that horse! Thanks, J. xo

  18. 18
    Kasey   June 15, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Oh, don’t we all wish we lived in some of those Pinterest boards? From the few pics you’ve snapped with Instagram, your new place looks amazing! I think that you totally have every reason to take things slow…it’ll all fall into place soon enough 🙂 What a beautiful spread, btw! Wish I could swing by for dinner 😉

  19. 19
    hag   June 19, 2012 at 10:27 am

    I’ve got an enormous amount of mint growing on my balcony…so this salad sounds like a great idea. I also have a great amount of thyme…got any ideas about how to use that up?

  20. 20
    eviedee   June 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    That salad looks like a glorious mix of textures and tastes, just like a half unpacked home. Love it!

  21. 21
    kickpleat   July 3, 2012 at 10:57 am

    Sorry for the late follow up, but thank you all for your comments!!

    hag, for all your extra thyme, use it for roasting chicken (just stick a few leaves under the skin). It’s also good with most meats and for roasting vegetables. Maybe even in a buttermilk dressing for salad! Let me know!

  22. 22
    Robert F   July 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    I made this. The real standout is the mint dressing, which is a keeper. In lieu of crushed peppers I used 1 tsp of Aleppo pepper – not quite enough kick. Anyway, the dressing works well with roasted veggies and the flavors were great. But although I get the chili-like idea behind the toppings, the raw flavors of carrots/almonds/green onions didn’t compliment the rest of the dish.

  23. 23
    kickpleat   July 9, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Robert, yes the mint dressing is a keeper for sure! Glad you enjoyed the dish.

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