Spanish chickpeas with spinach promise the delicious taste of Spain. You can enjoy this easy vegan meal on its own, with couscous, with pasta, or on a thick slice of toasted whole wheat bread . In Seville, Spanish chickpeas with spinach, in Spanish „espinacas con garbanzos“ can be found in many traditional restaurants. Every Spaniard loves it, even those of you who don’t really like vegetables, especially if you use lots of fresh spinach.
It’s common to use lots of olive oil to cook this delicious meal, but I prefer a lighter version as it tastes just as amazing and is healthier. To make chickpeas with spinach, you only need a few ingredients that you probably already have at home: olive oil, garlic, paprika, chickpeas, and spinach.
On the menu it seems like the simplest thing in the world – chickpeas and spinach. But Catalans have a traditional way of preparing this dish that is totally unique and simple and delicious. Loads of fresh spinach is wilted into a simple roast with garlic, onions, cumin and peppers. Hot chickpeas are then mixed in and intentionally overcooked so they are soft and juicy. The entire mixture is then sprinkled with a generous handful of toasted pine nuts, adding the perfect buttery flavor and crunch to the tender roast. But the dish’s secret lies in that favorite Catalan ingredient hiding there – raisins! Catalans love to add raisins to their dishes for a touch of sweetness. And once they start soaking up those hot juices in this roast, they all get plump and tender and absolutely make this dish. Trust me.
Spanish chickpeas with spinach the ingredients:
Chickpeas: So, if you like the chickpeas to be extra soft and juicy, simply boil them in lightly salted water for 10 to 20 minutes before using them in this recipe. It’s an extra step, but you’ll feel the difference. You can also just skip this step and use them right out of the can but rinsed.
Baby Spinach: Feel free to double the amount of fresh spinach if you like.
Garlic and Onion: Add flavor to the dish.
Raisins: The typical raisins from Spain are the golden raisins, but unfortunately they are not available everywhere. But no matter which raisins you choose, the difference is small.
Almonds: Originally, Spanish chefs used toasted pine nuts in this recipe, but I went with toasted almonds to cook a cheaper version.
Olive oil: When it comes to olive oil, I always take the slightly cheaper one for frying or braising and the good one to drizzle some over the finished dish at the end.
Spices: Serve this dish with either smoked paprika and/or cumin, which I think is a great flavor combination, or spice it up with curry or pink paprika if you decide to cook it again.
Another tip for buttery soft chickpeas
So, if you like the chickpeas to be extra soft and juicy, simply boil them in lightly salted water for 10 to 20 minutes before using them in this recipe. It’s an easy extra step, but you’ll feel the difference.
Spanish chickpeas with spinach
- Wash the spinach carefully and drain in a colander.
- Peel the onion and cut into narrow wedges.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic.
- Pour the chickpeas into a colander, rinse and drain.
- Roast the almonds in a pan without adding fat until golden brown. Put aside.
- Heat olive oil in a deep pan or saucepan.
- Sauté onions until translucent. Then add the garlic, smoked paprika and cumin and mix while stirring and toast slightly.
- Reduce the heat slightly and add the spinach, which is still wet, to the pan. Cover the pan and wait for the spinach to wilt (about 1-2 minutes).
- Now stir in the chickpeas and raisins and cook for 2-3 minutes until the chickpeas are hot.
- Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper and taste.
- It is garnished with roasted almonds, a little drizzle of olive oil and maybe a pinch of smoked paprika powder.
- Serve warm.