This is one of my favorite Spanish tapas from the Andalusian region. Espinacas con garbanzos is the traditional name for this Spanish spinach and chickpeas recipe. It’s a vegan dish that is so versatile and can be served as a starter, main, or part of a tapas night.
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My Favorite Tapas From Andalusia
Moving to Spain was one of the best decisions we ever made. One reason for this is because, being the foodies that we are, we can sample food from all over the country and in some of the most amazing cities. Some of our most memorable experiences involved eating pintxos in San Sebastian and tapas in Sevilla.
Seville is one of our favorite places to visit for ffod. It’s the largest city in Andalusia, in Southern Spain. It has some fantastic selections of food when it comes to tapas.
Whenever we visit Seville, we have to stop for tapas, it’s like tradition. We like to try out new dishes and sample as much variety as we can, such as salmorejo and cazon en adobo, which is white fish marinated in vinegar before being coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried (one of my personal favorites).
Another of my favorite Spanish tapa is Spanish chickpeas and spinach. I love this dish because it’s healthy, nutritious, hearty, and filling.
We will likely have this 3 or 4 times a week whenever we visit Seville.
What Is Espinacas Con Garbanzos
Espinacas Con Garbanzos translates to chickpeas in Spinach, and it’s how you might see this chickpea tapas dish listed on Spanish menus.
There is one restaurant where I recommend trying this dish if you’re visiting Seville. It is the city’s oldest and most authentic tapas bar, El Rinconcillo. Their take on this dish is concentrated heavily on spinach, with only a few chickpeas.
When I make this dish at home, I like to change the ratio slightly so that it has enough chickpeas to be a substantial and filling meal.
Espinacas Garbanzos Recipe – Ingredients
This chickpea and spinach tapas recipe is extremely simple when it comes to ingredients. Aside from the main ingredients, spinach and canned chickpeas, you will also need some good quality olive oil, garlic, a few spices, and dried bread.
This dish’s primary spice flavors come from earthy cumin and sweet paprika. Of course, you must also ensure this dish is heavily seasoned. The spinach and chickpeas don’t have a lot of flavors, but they carry them. So when salt is added, all the flavors of the dish are absorbed and elevated.
Although the ingredients are limited and straightforward, making this spinach chickpea tapas dish isn’t as easy as you might think. There are elements to it that you may not have encountered in cooking before, such as how the bread is used.
You will need to use a few-days-old bread to form the base of this dish. Cut off the crusts and cut them into small cubes. It’s up to you what kind of bread you use; white works the best as it holds its form. Personally, I like to use artisan bread or a crunchy baguette.
Toast the bread in a pan, taking care not to burn it, and then season it coating it with minced or pureed garlic.
Other Ingredients For Spinach And Chickpeas
As I said earlier, garbanzo beans and spinach don’t have an immense amount of flavor as stand-alone ingredients, so it’s all about the other flavors you use to bring this dish together. This includes quite a lot of acidity, so you should use good quality canned tomatoes and vinegar or lemon juice generously. You can also use canned tomato sauce instead of plum if you wish.
The traditional recipe for this spinach and chickpea tapas dish uses sherry vinegar at the end of cooking, but personally, I like to use red wine vinegar, which I think works just as well. It’s also more likely you will have red wine vinegar at home rather than sherry vinegar.
How To Make Spinach And Chickpea Tapas
This is quite a bit more complex than some of our other Spanish recipes, but this is quite common in Spanish cooking.
As I mentioned earlier, the ingredients themselves might look extremely basic, but the preparation and cooking techniques make this a bit more complicated. Don’t worry, though. I have broken it down as much as possible and tried to keep it as simple and easy to understand as possible.
Regarding equipment, you will need to make sure you’re using a heavy-based non-stick pan. This is because you’ll be cooking breadcrumbs, which tend to stick to the pan. I use a Le Creuset Non-Stick Skillet, which works great.
Wilting The Spinach
The cooking process of spinach is quick, easy, and straightforward. To start with, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, then throw in the spinach and cook until it’s wilted. You may want to do this in sections, as a lot of spinach doesn’t go very far. You’ll find it shrinks to around half its original size.
Add another tablespoon of oil to your pan. Add in the bread you had cubed earlier and fry it until golden brown and crispy. Keep an eye on them while cooking and ensure they don’t catch.
Next, add in the garlic and spices, season, and saute the mixture until the garlic starts to color. Transfer to a food processor, and add the red wine vinegar before blending.
The results should be a moist but crumbly consistency. If you need to, add in a little more oil or water till you get it right, but be careful, you don’t want it too wet.
Cooking The Spinach And Chickpeas
Now you need to add the breadcrumb mix back into the pan and the canned chickpeas and tomatoes (or tomato sauce). Heat the entire mixture for around 5 minutes.
If your stew is looking a little dry at this stage, add some more liquid to the pan. Just be careful not to add too much; you don’t want your stew to be a soupy consistency.
Finally, fold in the wilted spinach from earlier, and warm the whole dish for about 5 minutes. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil.
Espinacas Garbanzos Recipe
- 4 tbsp Spanish olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic
- 1 large bag of spinach
- 2-3 slices of bread (a day or two old)
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp red wine or sherry vinegar
- 1 15-ounce can of chickpeas
- ¼ cups tomato sauce or crushed canned plum tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to season
- Add a tbsp of olive oil to a skillet on medium-high heat.
- Add the spinach to the pan, and cook until wilted. Set to one side in a colander.
- Add another tbsp of olive to the pan, then add in the breadcrumbs and fry until golden.
- Add in your garlic, paprika, cayenne pepper, and cumin, combine and cook until the garlic has colored.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender, add the red wine vinegar, and blend. If the mixture is dry looking too dry, try adding a little olive oil or liquid, but not too much; you don't want to be too wet.
- Add the mixture back into the pan and the chickpeas and tomato sauce, and mix well. Heat for around 5 minutes until the chickpeas reach temperature.
- Fold in the wilted spinach, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Serve dressed with a drizzle of olive oil.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 387Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 303mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 11gSugar: 8gProtein: 14g
This nutritional data is provided by a third-party source and should not be relied on if you are on a strict diet.
Yes. It can be difficult to find vegan tapas recipes, with the Spanish love of all things pork. But, this is one of the vegan recipes. If you are not vegan, you could always add a bit of chorizo or lardons, which are almost like a Spanish pancetta. The key here is that there are no hidden ingredients in this spinach and chickpeas recipe – it’s vegan!
It takes around 45 minutes. This is mostly because you need to toast the breadcrumbs carefully and then blend them with vinegar. This step is important, though, to get the consistency right for the dish.