Espinacas con Garbanzos - Andalusian Spinach & Chickpeas
Level: Easy
Cuisine: Spanish
Serves: 4
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Spinach with chickpeas is a dish that is very common in Andalucía and the south of Spain. Although it may seem boring at first glance, the spices, garlic and vinegar that go into the dish make it comforting and full of flavor.
  • 1 cup of dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) or 19 oz of cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb fresh spinach
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • a baguette, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp pimentón de La Vera (Spanish paprika) - sweet, semi-sweet or spicy, your choice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of vinagre de Jerez (sherry vinegar)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cayenne to taste (optional)
  1. If you are not using pre-cooked chickpeas, soak your chickpeas overnight with a bit of baking soda. Rinse and drain the chickpeas when you are ready to cook them and simmer for about 2 hours or until tender, making sure there is enough water to cover them throughout the process. When they are done, drain and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium.
  3. Once the oil is hot, fry the garlic cloves, whole, until they reach a golden brown, set aside.
  4. Fry two slices of the bread and set aside.
  5. Take the pan off of the heat but do not discard the oil.
  6. Cook the spinach in simmering water for 5 minutes and allow to drain very well.
  7. In the meantime, combine the garlic, fried bread, cumin, vinagre de Jerez, salt, pepper and cayenne (if using) with a mortar and pestle or hand blender until they form a thick paste.
  8. Return the pan to the burner and lightly cook the pimentón over low heat, being careful not to burn it.
  9. Add the chickpeas and paste to the oil and sauté over medium, mixing until the chickpeas are uniformly coated in spices. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  10. Mix in the spinach, stirring so that it gets distributed throughout the chickpeas. At first, it's easier to approach this as if you are trying to get the chickpeas on top of the spinach.
  11. Taste for seasoning, adjust if necessary and cook until the spinach has darkened in color and everything is hot.
  12. Serve with slices of baguette (fried, toasted or normal), a light drizzle of fresh olive oil and a sprinkle of pimentón.
When you first add the spinach in with everything, it will look like there are way too many chickpeas. As you continue to mix the spinach and it looses some excess water, it will spread around the chickpeas and magically your ratio of spinach to chickpeas will seem to even out. If you are worried that the dish is drying out, add a little more olive oil.

Cooking time does not account for cooking of the chickpeas, so make sure you take that into consideration. Many people make this recipe with canned chickpeas and frozen spinach, but we prefer to use fresh products. A pressure cooker can also be used to cook the chickpeas if you want to save on time.

Although it's not traditional, and the dish is still excellent without it, we like to give a squeeze of lemon over our espinacas con garbanzos once in a while to brighten it up a bit.