Spanish chickpea and spinach stew

Spanish chickpea and spinach stew

Spanish chickpea and spinach stew in a pan

The spring might have finally graced us with its presence and next week’s weather is looking positively beachy, but the evenings are still quite cold so I thought that a warm, comforting stew is still quite a fitting recipe.

Today’s inspiration came from Spain. I made you my own version of a Spanish classic: garbanzos con espinacas (chickpeas and spinach stew). There are lots of different versions of this dish, some are drier than others, but I went for chickpeas swimming in lots of rich tomato sauce generously spiced with my beloved cumin, smoked paprika and a hint (I really had to restrain myself 🙂 ) of cayenne pepper.

Apart from being delicious (especially a day after it has been made), this dish really packs a nutritional punch. Both chickpeas and spinach are good sources of calcium and iron, plus chickpeas are also rich in protein, which most meat eaters are so concerned about you not getting enough of. Tomatoes are rich in a powerful antioxidant, lycopene, as well as a whole army of other nutritional do-gooders, such as vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin K.

To top it all off, if you pair the stew up with brown rice, you’ll get plenty of heart-healthy minerals, antioxidants, lignans, and dietary fiber too. The last one should keep you full for longer and curb your desire to snack.

Spanish chickpea and spinach stew close up

Spanish chickpea and spinach stew lunch

Spanish chickpea and spinach stew top down

Spanish chickpea and spinach stew

Spanish chickpea and spinach stew portion

serves
4
PREP
10 min
COOKING
30 min
serves
4
PREPARATION
10 min
COOKING
30 min
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tbsp / 30 ml oil (I used olive oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tsp cumin (ground)
  • 1½ tsp smoked paprika (ground)
  • ¼-½ tsp cayenne pepper or hot chilli powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 x 400 g tins of peeled plum tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1½ cups of cooked chickpeas
  • 200 g of spinach
  • a handful of almond flakes, toasted
  • fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
  • cooked rice (I used brown), to serve with
METHOD
  1. Heat up the oil in a large frying pan (ideally with a lid). Add chopped onion and fry on a low heat until almost translucent, stirring from time to time.
  2. Add chopped garlic. Keep on stirring frequently until the onion is translucent and garlic softens completely and releases its beautiful aroma.
  3. Add all the ground spices to the fried onion and garlic mixture and stir them around well. Fry them off gently for a minute or two stirring the whole time as they burn easily.
  4. Add tomato paste to the pan and stir it into the onion and garlic mixture.
  5. Squash plum tomatoes with a potato masher in a separate bowl before adding them to the pan. Add tomatoes to the pan, salt and half of the sugar. Let the sauce thicken by simmering it on a low heat with no lid on. Give the sauce a good stir from time to time.
  6. Once the sauce thickens, taste it and season with some black pepper and more sugar if needed. I used 3 tsp of sugar in this recipe as my tomatoes were quite tangy, but you may not need as much.
  7. Stir in cooked chickpeas and let them warm through. Now add in the spinach and place the lid on to let spinach wilt and cook in the steam. If you are not in a rush, you can gently pan-fry the spinach in a little olive oil and garlic separately and then add it to the dish, but that’s optional.
  8. Serve over rice, sprinkled with toasted almonds and fresh parsley.
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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
339
17%
sugars
15 g
17%
fats
14 g
20%
saturates
2 g
8%
proteins
13 g
27%
carbs
43 g
17%
*per serving
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4.9
54 reviews, 93 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Mary:
Really tasty. I made with good quality tinned tomatoes, but only used one 400 g tin as I thought 2 would be too much. I didn't have a red onion handy, so I used a yellow one which worked fine. And I only needed 1 tsp of sugar. Definitely a recipe I will come back to again.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Mary, I am delighted that you enjoyed it and plan to make it again! Ania
Natalie:
This was bloody lovely! I annotated it a bit… added more sugar to the sauce and swapped almonds for cream cheese on top. Absolutely loved it!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Great to hear that you enjoyed it, Natalie! x Ania
Prasad:
Simple and delicious!
I added some garam masala in the end before turning off the stove and served it over quinoa. Definitely a must try. Thanks for this awesome recipe.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed it! x Ania
Danielle:
This is the first meal I ever made for my vegan boyfriend 4 years ago, being completely new to vegan cooking at the time. It’s become a staple part of our diet and we return to it regularly as it’s always comforting and just really, really tasty. We’re engaged now and it sounds silly but it’s become an oddly special recipe to me!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, Danielle!!! That is so lovely to hear and massive congratulations to you both! Finding someone you want to spend your life with who also shares your ethics is extra special. I don't want to take too much credit, but pretty sure that chickpea stew has had something to do with your relationship blossoming the way it did ;) . xxx Ania
Kerry:
Hi Ania, whenever this recipe is cooked, can it stay in the fridge and if so for how many days?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yes, it sure can. It should keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container. It's also perfect for freezing. Hope this helps! Ania
erin:
this was lovely! i'm relatively new to cooking and vegan so i've been looking to find some easy but tasty recipes. i subbed the spinach for kale, used smoked olive oil (best purchase ever, btw!) and added a touch of vegan butter to the rice. it's amazing!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Sounds great, Erin. I'm really happy to hear that you enjoyed it. And I love the sound of that smoked olive oil - will look out for it! x Ania
Lilly:
Hi! Would it be ok to sub the plum tomatoes for a can of diced tomatoes ? Thank you !
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lilly,
    Sure, they are typically a little less flavoursome as plum tomatoes are higher quality/sweeter tomatoes but they will still work well. Hope that helps! Ania
Anna Camboni:
Loved it!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Anna! I'm delighted to hear that! Ania
Natalie:
Awesome recipe – simple, quick and very tasty!
I used frozen spinach and served with a dollop of natural yoghurt.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Great to hear, Natalie! I'm very happy you enjoyed it! x Ania
Ruth:
Would this recipe work in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Ruth,
    I don't own a slow cooker so I am not sure, to be completely honest. Chickpeas usually require 1.25 hrs of cooking only, not sure how they would fare after 8 hrs - they may be delicious though. x Ania
Rae:
Can you use frozen spinach
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Rae,
    I suspect so (assume you mean whole leaves, not minced), but it may not be as nice as fresh. I'm guessing as I have not tried it myself. Ania
Ian:
This was my first ever vegetarian meal attempt and was rather satisfying. Thank you for sharing. I did however go a bit overboard with the Cheyenne pepper, but now I know for next time.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Ian, I am delighted to hear that it was a success and glad that you are giving veggie options a go. Yes, cayenne is fierce! Ania
Nigel:
I'm puzzled by the ratio of liquid / tomatoes to chickpeas here, and also by the 'serves 4' -- ie, it's a small quantity of chickpeas (325g) to a lot of tomato. However, I was quadrupling to make a large quantity. My question to Ania is, are you using drained tins of whole tomatoes? or are you also using the juice from the tin? I just found that (even though I was quadrupling everything) that this produced far too much sauce.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Nigel,
    Yes, I use peeled plum tomatoes including juices. The sauce reduces a lot in the process of cooking and you can always use more chickpeas (or other beans) if you like. It's not a cake so you can safely make small alterations to suit your taste. Hope that helps! Ania
Lucie:
Hello from the Czech Republic!
I just finished this dish and it was fabulous. An ideal comfort meal for cold winter.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lucie, that's lovely to hear!! Thank you for letting me know that you enjoyed it so much!! xx Ania
Marleen:
My favorite stew! Thanks so much for sharing Ania! It's easy, quick and just delicious. Real comfort food. Everyone loves it!
Probably the dish I made most often in the past year :)
And that it's vegan is a big + too!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I am so pleased to hear that, thank you! x Ania
Natalia:
Such a good recipe! And so quick to put together. Thank you so much for sharing :).
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Natalia! I am really pleased to hear that you enjoyed it! x Ania
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks Natalia! I am so glad to hear that! Ania
Claire Holloway:
I tried this last night for the first time and it is delicious!!! I am not vegan but came across the recipe via a Pinterest search and so pleased I did find it and this site! Fabulous and really filling! I will be back for more :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    I am delighted to hear that, Claire! And thanks for taking the time to comment and rate the recipe - much appreciated! x Ania
Sarah:
Quick to make, tastes amazing... even my four year old loved this. What’s not to like?!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Yay! I'm delighted to hear that, especially that I hear that four year olds are not the easiest to please ;) x Ania
Chantell:
This recipe looks absolutely lovely! can’t wait to try it out, thank you for providing! Just a question, I’m not a big fan of tomatoes that haven’t been made into a paste but I see the recipe has mashed tomatoes, would it be alright to leave them out or would this affect the taste or the entire dish?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi,
    Yes, it will affect both taste and texture, I am afraid as it's the tomatoes that are the base for the sauce. Ania
Symone:
Made this for the first time this evening. I really enjoyed it. It was simple and tasty. Thank you!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Symone! Thanks for taking the time to review and rate my recipe! Ania
Mirela:
Love this meal! I add extra fresh ginger, 2 bay leaves and a little of grounded cloves.
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks, Mirela! I'm very pleased to hear that! Ania
Bev:
Hi - this sounds really delicious! Would it be ok to freeze a couple of portions do you think?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Bev,
    Yes, absolutely! I tend to make a double portion and freeze leftovers all the time. Hope that helps! Ania
Daniela:
I just made this for the first time and it worked out so well! The flavors are excellent, and I love how quickly this comes together. I served it with a side of naan, just because I love stews paired with bread. Thanks a lot for sharing this!
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm delighted to hear that, Daniela! And thank you for taking the time to let me know that you've enjoyed this dish, I appreciate it! Ania
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