Two beloved dark leafy greens, spinach and lacinato kale, combine to bring deep, earthy flavor to this updated take on classic creamed spinach. We include a crunchy, oven-crisped chickpea and almond topping that takes this side dish from everyday to special occasion. You can make the chickpea-almond mixture ahead, but cool it completely first and store for up to 3 days in an airtight container. If needed, you can re-crisp the topping in a 300°F oven before adding to the dish. If you happen to have any leftovers of this family favorite, reheat gently in a covered saucepan over low heat, and stir occasionally to prevent the creamy sauce from breaking.
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 400°F. Spread chickpeas in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet; pat dry with a paper towel. Rub with the palm of your hand to loosen chickpea skins. (Do not remove skins from pan.) Coat chickpeas with cooking spray. Bake at 400°F until almost dry and slightly crunchy, about 20 minutes. Stir in almonds; bake until chickpeas and nuts are toasted and crunchy, about 5 minutes.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Add leek and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and starting to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add flour, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Stir in milk; bring to a boil, and boil 2 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat. Add cream cheese, mozzarella, and salt; stir until cheeses melt.
Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add kale and spinach to Dutch oven; cover and cook until starting to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add milk mixture to spinach mixture; reduce heat to low, and cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir just until combined. Transfer to a serving bowl, and top with toasted chickpeas and almonds.