This recipe for Spanish spinach and chickpeas tapas is a fairly traditional recipe for espinacas con garbanzos. This vegan chickpea recipe can be served as a main course or as part of a Spanish tapas spread!
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One Of Our Favorite Andalusian Tapas
We love living in Spain. It gives us the chance to frequent some of our favorite foodie cities, like San Sebastian in the north and Seville in the south. Seville is the largest city in Andalusia. It’s also one of the unofficial tapas capitals of Spain. There are so many great tapas bars in the city.
When we are in Seville, I find myself elbow deep in classic Andalusian tapas, including bowls of salmorejo (cold tomato soup) and small plates of pork loin stewed in the local sherry wine. I love cazon en adobo, which is a white fish marinated in vinegar and then breaded and fried.
One of my favorites, though, is a Spanish chickpea and spinach stew. Maybe because I feel like it is at least a little healthier than deep-fried fish and plates of sliced cured jamon. When in Seville, we eat this dish almost every day.
What Is Espinacas Con Garbanzos
Espinacas con garbanzos means spinach and chickpeas in Spanish. This is what the dish is called on restaurant menus. The best place to eat this dish in Seville is at the city’s oldest tapas bar, El Rinconcillo. But you don’t need to travel to Seville for this tapas dish.
The version at El Rinconcillo is about 75% spinach with a smattering of chickpeas. I sort of switch up that ratio because I want the beans! I want this dish to be filling enough on its own – and that comes from the chickpeas (garbanzo beans).
Check out our other Spanish recipes that I learned living in Spain:
Ingredients For Spanish Chickpeas And Spinach Tapas
In addition to fresh spinach and canned chickpeas, this dish includes the typical Spanish starter ingredients – olive oil and garlic.
Bread And Spices
This is not an easy chickpea recipe and this ingredient is why. The base of the dish comes from day-old bread. This is a great way to use day-old bread (or stale bread) that doesn’t involve a dessert.
Cut the crusts off of the bread and then cube them into small pieces. I used an artisan-style sliced white bread, but any white bread will do. I would avoid bread with a strong flavor, like multi-grain or honey wheat.
This bread will be almost toasted in the pan. It is then seasoned with the garlic. I like to use a garlic press too so that there aren’t big chunks of garlic in the dish. Try the Zulay stainless steel garlic press, which is easy to use. There’s no need to even peel the garlic ahead of time.
The spices will come from cumin and cayenne pepper, as well as salt and pepper. Don’t be afraid to use salt! It won’t make the dish salty but will help to season the dish and pull all of the flavors together.
To offset the spinach and chickpeas, there is a good amount of acidity that comes from a small bit of tomato sauce and some vinegar. The tomato sauce can be simple from a can, preferably unseasoned.
At the end, add a bit of red wine vinegar. The traditional recipe calls for sherry vinegar because this dish comes from the land of sherry wine.
But, I normally use red wine vinegar because it’s more likely I have red wine vinegar at home.
How To Make Spanish Garbanzo Beans And Spinach
This recipe is not as simple or straightforward as most of our bean recipes. That tends to be the case with a lot of Spanish recipes, though.
They are often made with simple ingredients. But, because the recipes are so traditional they tend to be a bit more work. I’ll try to explain each step as best as I can.
I make this dish with my Le Creuset Non-Stick Skillet, which you can find on Amazon here. Because this dish involves, essentially, making bread crumbs it’s important to use non-stick cookware if you can.
Start by adding one tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add the spinach and cook until it starts to wilt.
Add the spinach a bit at a time if need be using cooking tongs to toss the spinach. Once the spinach is done, place it in a colander and put it aside.
Making The Breadcrumbs
Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the cubed breadcrumbs to the pan. Fry them until they are brown and crispy.
Take your time and watch them closely. They can go from brown and crispy to burnt pretty quickly.
Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper. Sautee the ingredients until the garlic starts to brown.
Transfer the toasted bread mixture to a blender or a food processor. Add the red wine vinegar and start to blend.
The ingredients should be moist but not gooey. If needed add a tablespoon of olive oil or a tablespoon of warm water to get the mixture moist and crumbly.
Cooking The Chickpeas And Spinach
Add the breadcrumb mixture back into the pan. Add the chickpeas and tomato sauce and stir well. Heat for 3-5 minutes or until the chickpeas are warmed through.
If it seems dry, then add a tablespoon or two of warm water. You can use more than one cup of tomato sauce, but the dish shouldn’t be soupy or have the feeling of a stew. The tomato sauce is really just to wet and flavor the dish.
Fold in the spinach and cook until the spinach is warm about 2-3 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
- 4 tablespoons Spanish olive oil
- 1 large bag of fresh spinach
- 2-3 slices of day-old bread, without crusts, cubed
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
- 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup tomato sauce
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add the spinach and cook until it starts to wilt but before it gets soggy. Once the spinach is done, place it in a colander and put it aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the breadcrumbs to the pan. Fry them until they are brown and crispy.
- Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, paprika, salt, and pepper. Sautee the ingredients until the garlic starts to brown.
- Transfer the toasted bread mixture to a blender or a food processor. Add the red wine vinegar and start to blend. If needed add a tablespoon of olive oil or a tablespoon of warm water to get the mixture moist and crumbly.
- Add the breadcrumb mixture back into the pan. Add the chickpeas and tomato sauce and stir well. Heat for 3-5 minutes or until the chickpeas are warmed through.
- Fold in the spinach and cook until the spinach is warm about 2-3 minutes.
- Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
This recipe is not as easy as some of our other bean recipes, so be sure to see the notes above. This recipe serves 4-5 tapas-sized portions or 2-3 main course portions.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 333Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 648mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 10gSugar: 6gProtein: 11g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
How To Serve Chickpeas And Spinach Tapas
This recipe prepares 4-6 servings when prepared as part of a tapas spread. Serve the spinach and chickpeas tapas in small bowls or on small plates along with other Spanish treats.
This tapa pairs well with warm, crusty bread drizzled with Spanish olive oil and a bowl of mixed Spanish olives.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, consider pairing it with our vegetarian Spanish white bean stew. There’s nothing wrong with serving two bean dishes at a time. It’s like going to a traditional tapas bar in Andalusia!