Spinach and Chickpeas (Espinacas con Garbanzos) - Spanish Sabores

Spinach and Chickpeas (Espinacas con Garbanzos)

Spanish spinach and chickpeas (espinacas con garbanzos) is a must-try Andalusian dish that’s easy to make at home. This traditional spinach and chickpea stew is popular in Seville, Spain where it’s served in all the local tapas bars. It’s super simple and quick to prepare — on the table in only 30 minutes!

Spanish espinacas con garbanzos (spinach and chickpeas) in a clay bowl.

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.

Spinach and chickpea stew in a clay dish in front of a pan full of more.
Delicious spinach and chickpeas!

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.

Key Ingredients

Ingredients for spinach and chickpea stew in a grid

Key Ingredients: Spinach, chickpeas, stale bread, Marcona almonds, tomato sauce, sherry vinegar, olive oil, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, and minced garlic.

Ingredient Notes & Substitutions

  • Spinach: While I wouldn’t recommend substituting spinach (it is spinach and chickpea stew, after all!) if you must I would try this with another leafy green such as kale or chard. Both versions will be delicious (though not quite the same!).
  • Chickpeas: Use great quality chickpeas that aren’t too mushy (if canned/jarred).
  • Almonds: Marcona almonds have a wonderful flavor for this dish, but any almonds will do in a pinch.
  • Sherry vinegar: Substitute red wine vinegar if you must.

Spinach and Chickpeas: Step by Step

Steps 1-2: This recipe is SO EASY! Start by sautéing the spinach in a bit of olive oil until wilted and reserve.

Steps 1-4 of making spinach and chickpea stew in a grid.

Steps 3-4: Then add another couple of tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and brown the bread cubes, minced garlic, all spices, and almonds.

Steps 5-6: Put the browned bread and almonds into the blender and blend until you have a paste.

Steps 5-8 of making Spanish espinacas con garbanzos in a grid.

Steps 7-8: Add the drained chickpeas, almond paste, and tomato sauce to the pan and mix until combined.

Spinach and chickpea stew step 9, adding the spinach to the pan.

Step 9: Finally, add the spinach back to the pan and stir until fully combined. Serve in small clay bowls and enjoy!

Recipe Tips & FAQs

Are chickpeas and garbanzo beans the same?

Yes! Chickpeas and garbanzo beans are the same food. Chickpeas is the English word for garbanzos (which is Spanish). But we’ve adapted the Spanish name in English as well, leaving us with two options.

What can I serve with spinach and chickpeas?

In Spain, this is often served as a tapa, which means you’d have another couple of dishes along with it to make a full meal. You can serve anything you’d like — I especially like to serve Spanish ham croquettes and my favorite marinated carrots.

Is this dish vegan?

Yes! This Spanish spinach and chickpea stew is naturally vegan. It’s one of my favorite vegetarian and vegan tapas.

Can I make this in advance?

You can make this in advance and it will last up to four days in the fridge (and two months in the freezer). Like most stews, the flavor gets even better after resting.

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve my espinacas con garbanzos as part of a tapas feast (but you can also serve it as a side dish to roasted meat). Some of my favorite tapas to go with it are:

Spinach and chickpea stew in a frying pan on the stovetop.
A healthy and hearty dish that never fails!

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Espinacas con garbanzos recipe

Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas)

A Spanish style espinacas con garbanzos recipe (spinach and chickpea stew) that will have you craving another bite!
4.92 from 23 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 121.93kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 jar garbanzo beans (chickpeas) (around 500g or 18 ounces) 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.
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach washed. (One large bag or around 300 grams/10 ounces).
  • 2 thick slices of day old bread sourdough works well with crusts removed and cut into cubes
  • 15 blanched unsalted Marcona almonds
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce (60ml)
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar if sherry vinegar is hard to come by
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Ground cayenne pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Salt (more to taste)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Smoked Spanish paprika I use pimentón dulce, but you could also use pimentón picante

Instructions

  • Coat a large saucepan with extra virgin olive oil (approx. 2 tbsp) and heat to medium high
    A frying pan with olive oil to prepare espinacas con garbanzos
  • Before the oil gets too hot, add the spinach (in batches if necessary)
    Fresh spinach wilting in a frying pan
  • Sauté the spinach until just wilted and remove to strain in a colander
    Spinach straining in a colander
  • 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
    Cubed bread and almonds in a frying pan with olive oil
  • Add the chopped garlic, cumin, cayenne and black pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and turning brown
    Sauteed bread cubes, garlic and almonds in a frying pan
  • Transfer the ingredients to a blender/food processor and add the sherry vinegar
    Fried garlic, almonds and bread cubes in an immersion blender
  • Blend the ingredients together until you have a thick paste (you can add a few tablespoons of water if needed to blend easier, but don't over blend and make it gooey)
    A light brown paste of almonds, garlic and bread cubes in a blender base
  • Return the paste to the saucepan and add your garbanzo beans and tomato sauce
    A frying pan with almond, garlic and bread paste next to garbanzo beans and tomato sauce
  • Stir gently until the chickpeas are fully coated by the sauce and add a bit of water to thin things out
    Coating the chickpeas with almond paste in a large pan
  • Add the spinach and stir gently until it is evenly incorporated and hot
    Spinach and chickpea stew mixed together in a frying pan
  • Season with salt and pepper
    Seasoning the pan of spinach and chickpea stew with salt and pepper
  • 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
    Spinach and chickpea stew in a clay dish
  • Enjoy!
    Close up of Spinach and chickpea stew in a clay dish

Notes

Substitutions
  • Spinach: If you prefer, you can substitute the spinach for kale or chard. 
  • Chickpeas: Use great quality chickpeas that aren’t too mushy (if canned/jarred).
  • Almonds: Marcona almonds have a wonderful flavor for this dish, but any almonds will do in a pinch.
  • Sherry vinegar: Substitute red wine vinegar if you must.
Storage
  • Lasts up to four days in the fridge. 
  • You can freeze for up to two months.

Nutrition

Calories: 121.93kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.88g | Protein: 5.05g | Fat: 6.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.87g | Cholesterol: 0.18mg | Sodium: 289.07mg | Potassium: 561.87mg | Fiber: 3.27g | Sugar: 2.1g | Vitamin A: 7615IU | Vitamin C: 22.85mg | Calcium: 112.2mg | Iron: 3.37mg
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Update Notice: This recipe was originally published on August 17, 2014. It was republished with new photos and text on February 21, 2021.

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?

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

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