Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas)

An unlikely combination that took a trip to Seville to discover– Spanish spinach and chickpeas (espinacas con garbanzos) is a must-try Andalusian dish that’s easy to make at home. Recipe below!

Espinacas con garbanzos recipe

It’s one of those dishes that you keep thinking about long after you’ve taken the last bite.

I first ordered espinacas con garbanzos in Seville, convinced by a friend that this simple sounding spinach and chickpea stew was a Spanish culinary masterpiece. Served piping hot, it was as comforting as any homemade stew should be, and I immediately understood her obsession.

Watch how to make espinacas con garbanzos here (1 minute)

 

Espinacas con garbanzos are a traditional tapa in Seville, especially popular during the chilly winter months and during lent. But the dish’s history goes far beyond Andalusia. Spinach comes from Ancient Persia (modern Iran), where Arab traders got their hands on it and eventually introduced it to the Mediterranean. There are records of spinach being a popular Spanish vegetable by the end of the 12th century, and it was an important ingredient in Moorish and Sephardic Jewish cuisine in Spain

Heading to Seville? Don’t miss my Seville dining guide here!

Chickpeas (also called garbanzos) originally came from the Middle East as well, and made their way into the Spanish kitchen by way of the Phoenicians. Their importance in Spanish cuisine is paramount, and  they are a primary ingredient in many popular Spanish dishes, such as the delicious Cocido Madrileño

This recipe for espinacas con garbanzos strays a wee bit from the traditional version, but the addition of tomato and almonds enhances the heartiness of the dish in my humble opinion. The best part? This is easily a 30-minute meal, and a healthy, filling, and delicious one at that.

Seville style spinach and chickpea stew (Espinacas con Garbanzos)

4.9 from 17 reviews
Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas)
 
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Cook time
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A Spanish style espinacas con garbanzos recipe (spinach and chickpea stew) that will have you craving another bite!
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Spanish
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 jar (around 500g or 18 ounces) of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (note: you could also soak and cook dried garbanzos for even more delicious results, but I find that good quality canned beans do the trick nearly as well)
  • 1 large bag (around 300 grams/10 ounces) fresh spinach, washed
  • 2 thick slices of day old bread (sourdough works well) with crusts removed and cut into cubes
  • 15 blanched unsalted Marcona almonds
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar (or red wine vinegar if sherry vinegar is hard to come by)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Ground cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Smoked Spanish paprika (I use pimentón dulce, but you could also use pimentón picante)
Instructions
  1. Coat a large saucepan with extra virgin olive oil (approx. 2 T) and heat to medium high
  2. Before the oil gets too hot, add the spinach (in batches if necessary)
  3. Sauté the spinach until just wilted and remove to strain in a colander
  4. Re-coat the pan with olive oil and add in the bread cubes and raw almonds. Fry until the bread and almonds are browned and crispy on each side
  5. Add the chopped garlic, cumin, cayenne and black pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and turning brown
  6. Transfer the ingredients to a blender/food processor and add the sherry vinegar
  7. Blend the ingredients together until you have a thick paste (don't over blend and make it gooey)
  8. Return the paste to the saucepan and add your garbanzo beans and tomato sauce
  9. Stir gently until the chickpeas are fully coated by the sauce and add a bit of water to thin things out
  10. Add the spinach and stir gently until it is evenly incorporated and hot
  11. Season with salt and pepper
  12. Once plated, drizzle a swirl of extra virgin olive oil on top of each dish, then sprinkle a small amount of smoked Spanish paprika on top
  13. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4

This delicious spinach and chickpea stew is best served as a tapa or a first course in handmade cazuelas (clay dishes). You can serve some fried bread as a garnish, but I honestly think it’s perfect on its own!

Will you be trying espinacas con garbanzos for your next tapas evening?

More delicious tapas recipes!

If you make my spinach and chickpeas recipe, please let me know how it turned out in the comments!

Comments

  1. Mmmmmm this sounds delicious, healthy, and easy to make! I loved those tidbits about this dish’s ancient roots in Phoenicia and Persia. Will be making this when I move back to Spain in the fall—thanks for the recipe!

  2. I got really into garbanzos while I was in Spain and often just had garbanzos with tomate frito, but that’s gotten a bit boring, so this looks like it would really spice things up!

    1. Hi, I’m from Seville, definitely not ketchup!!!!! In Sevilla we use a fried tomato sauce, but probably you won’t find it so instead you can add a bit of pasata for example.

  3. It’s great! I’m living in Sevilla for 9 months and finding it a bit challenging to figure out what and how to cook. Thank you so much for this easy and delicious recipe!

  4. This is exactly the recipe that I’ve been looking for! We ate this many times at our local tapas bar in Nervión on our trip to Sevilla this past September. We’re recreating our favorite Spanish dishes tonight for an Xmas Eve dinner and I think your recipe will be a hit. I just made it (a double batch) and it’s mmmm… Thanks!

  5. Thank you for the recipe Lauren. I made this dish today and it was delicious. My guests wiped the pot clean in minutes 🙂 The paste with 2 slices of bread was a bit thick so I had to add a cup and a half of water to balance it (to match it with the photo above). For next time I think I’ll put less bread and less cumin.

    Harsh

  6. I will be trying this recipe. I did not have spinach nor chickpeas today, but I made the garlic-bread-almond-tomato sauce, added white cooking wine instead of the vinager, and simmered hake fillets and roasted red peppers in it. I loved the taste. My husband is not a fan of sauces, but today he cleaned up the plate with bread.

  7. A few years ago my wife and I travelled around Andalusia and went to Ronda. We walked around the old town on a very hot day, found a bar with tables outside in the shade and ordered a couple of cervezas. I looked at the menu and remembered my Spanish Auntie mentioning Espinocas when I asked her about vegetarian meals in Spain, so I took a chance and ordered two Espinacos con Garbanzos. That cold beer and tapas is one of our abiding memories of many times spent in Spain, such a delicious dish. In the evening we had a meal in a pasta restaurant, watching from our table, as the dusk came, the lights coming on and illuminating the new bridge. My wife still refers to it as her dream day. I have made espinocas myself many times since.

    1. Esta receta es muy muy buena, y su vegano !!! Recomiendo este plato a personas que están buscando una comida fácil y saludable.

  8. Made this dish tonight based on your recipe. It was delicious. Very savory, but with brightness from the spinach and sherry vinegar. The vinegar is very important for this dish, as it provides the dominant flavor.

    I didn’t have enough spinach, so I tossed in some fresh sauted fava beans. A nice addition.

    Anyway, thank you! I will make this again.

  9. Just wondering. Would this keep? I mean if I made it today could I serve it tomorrow (by reheating and adding the spinach then?

    I panic if I have to do too much on the day of visitors.

    Thanks.

    1. Yes, of course! You can even make the whole thing and then just warm it in a pan or in the microwave (that is very common in Spain). The spinach may lose its vibrant color, but it tastes great!

  10. I would say we are normally a traditional “meat and potatoes” family, so I was definitely taking a chance when I made your spinach and chickpea recipe today. I’m happy to report that everyone loved it! Thank you for sharing. We did not have tomato sauce so I substituted salsa and it was great. I’m looking forward to making it again. Thanks!

  11. Awesome recipe Lauren. I substituted pine nuts for the almonds – it was still great!

    Thanks for this one – it was just what was needed for a cold winter’s night in Perth, Western Australia.

    Keep up the great recipes. Your Rabo de Torro was sensational as well!

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  13. I made a version of this tonight but swapped a few ingredients in there and it is absolutely amazing!

    Too busy to go food shopping so it was one of those “use the last ingredients in the cupboards” kind of thing. I had a jar of spinach & garbanzos, so just cooked some garlic and onions, added cumin, pimento pecante, oregano, cayenne peppers, sal con hierbas and cracked black pepper. Unfortunately after the 5 cayenne peppers went in the lid came off my pimiento picante, but I think that actually made the dish!

    Added the jar after that, but didn’t have any other ingredients, so chopped and boiled a few large potatoes and ended up adding them to the mix, followed by some tomate frito…

    Okay I may have accidentally made some kind of chickpea curry, but it’s absolutely gorgeous, the healthiest and tastiest poor-mans meal I could have dreamed for <3

    Also I have enough to chill and reheat some and freeze the rest! It all cost me but a few euros 😉

    Thanks your recipe saved me! I will try it your way another time when I go food shopping 🙂

  14. I made your spinach and garbanzo bean recipe last night for an International Dinner with friends. It’s an amazing combination of flavors! Even the guy who doesn’t like spinach, finished all of his! Thank you for sharing!

  15. Made this today and it was delicious. I never thought the ground almonds and bread crumbs would add such flavour. Delicious!

  16. Hi, Thanks for sharing this great recipe.
    I have a query related to this one. Can you please clarify the term ‘medium-high heat’? please be specific with the temperature.

  17. This recipe looks and sounds amazing!! I decided to make this dish for a Spanish potluck at my son’s school this week, but just remembered they are totally NUT FREE. Help! I still want to make it, but is there anything I can use in place of the almonds or do you think it would be best just to leave them out? I realize I could just use another recipe, but I already got all of the ingredients and yours sounds the most delicious by far! THANKS!! 🙂

      1. Not too late actually – They rescheduled it to tomorrow. Thanks for your response!! I’ll just add more bread as you mentioned. Can’t wait to try it! 🙂

          1. Oh, it definitely was! I made 5x the recipe and it worked out perfectly because I was able to save some for myself for later. I might get into it again tonight even! Soooo yummy. Thanks for the awesome recipe!! 🙂

  18. This looks amazing and I want to make it for a tapas party next week. The ingredients for the recipe say 1 tsp of cumin and cayenne “to taste” however the video indicates 1 tbsp of cumin and 1 tsp of cayenne. Can you please clarify? Thanks!

    1. I prefer to add less cumin – but it’s also to taste! My husband likes more towards 1T (start with 1t and see what you think). As for the cayenne, it’s totally optional, but I like 1t as a like a kick of spice!

  19. Hi. I am going away with friends on the weekend and we have a Europe theme for a shared meal on Saturday night. Has anyone experience of freezing this dish. I was thinking I could make it ahead of weekend without spinach, freeze it letting it defrost slowly from Friday night and then add wilted spinach when I reheat Saturday night. Alternatively I could ditch freezing and make without spinach Friday morning and add wilted spinach Saturday. Sorry to be so wordy but I would be grateful for your opinion

    1. I haven’t tried doing this but I can imagine it would work! My mother in law freezes the dish (spinach and all) – but I think making the spinach at the last minute is key for top presentation.

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