If you're looking for a fantastic, incredibly easy, and delicious Andalusian dish, this Spanish recipe for sauteed chickpeas with spinach, also known as "garbanzos con espinacas," is the one. This popular spinach and chickpea loose stew is a traditional dish here in Málaga and Seville, Spain, and can be found in most local tapas bars.
💚 Why you will love it
- Nutrient-Packed: Ideal for vegetarians and vegans.
- Quick to Make: Only 30 minutes from start to finish.
- Highly Customizable: Experiment with different spices and herbs.
- Potluck Perfect: A hit at gatherings.
- Pantry-Friendly: Uses common ingredients.
Although here in Spain, this traditional dish is served as a tapa (the Spanish word for an appetizer or small dishes like garlic tomato and pickled roasted red peppers, served with a caña (beer), this dish can be served as a side dish or as a complete meal or main course to your weekly rotation of healthy meals.
The dish is a well-balanced treat, as it features high-protein chickpeas with super nutritional spinach, minimal oil, and flavored with non-caloric spices, boosting a flavorful yet simple meal.
🧾 Key ingredients
- Chickpeas - (garbanzo beans) add tons of protein and a creamy texture.
- Spinach - adds a delicious, earthy flavor to any dish.
- Garlic - adds a flavor kick to bring up all the flavors of the chickpeas.
- Ground cumin - adds a delicious flavor and aroma to the dish.
- Extra virgin olive oil - adds a delicious flavor to this chickpea stew. Try using a good quality, aromatic one.
- Tomato - adds acidity and flavor while helping to blend nicely with the rest of the spices.
- Smoked paprika - adds a distinctive Spanish cuisine flavor.
- Hot paprika - brings a spicy note to this awesome recipe.
Sherry vinegar - adds a mild acidity to the dish.
See the recipe card for quantities.
- Cooked chickpeas - we love chickpeas and use them a lot. So we always prefer making our Instant Pot Chickpeas with our own dried beans and keeping batches to use to make Lebanese hummus or chickpea curry, but you can also use garbanzo beans jars. Aim for brands that sell chickpeas in water and without preservatives.
- Tomato sauce - you can use tomato paste for a more intense flavor or even canned diced tomatoes.
- Hot paprika - you may use cayenne pepper instead.
- Sherry vinegar - use red wine vinegar instead.
- No oil - to make this dressing compliant with a WFPB diet, you can substitute oil with aquafaba, or chickpeas water or simply leave the oil out.
Step 1: Stir fry the garlic in olive oil on medium heat.
Step 2: Add the ground cumin and paprika, and stir in the tomato paste or puree.
Hint: to make this recipe oil-free, skip the olive oil and stir-fry the garlic with a tablespoon of cold water. Don't let it burn.
Step 3: Add the drained canned chickpeas.
Step 4: Saute until the chickpeas are evenly coated with the tomato and spices mix.
Step 5: Add spinach, stir carefully, and keep sauteing.
Step 6: Put a lid on so the spinach wilts.
Hint: You may need to stir in the spinach separated in 2 or 3 batches, depending on how large the saucepan you are using is. Simply put a lid on, wait 1-2 minutes until slightly wilted, and continue adding the spinach.
Step 7: Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add one or two tablespoons of water—salt, and pepper.
Step 8: Taste, adjust, and remove from heat.
💡 If you feel like the water from the spinach isn't enough to prevent them from sticking, add 1-2 tablespoons of water at a time.
💡 Top tip
Don't over-mix the chickpeas; they could become soggy and become a paste. You want the garbanzo beans to keep their texture.
Frozen spinach is a game-changer in the kitchen and works wonders with this recipe too!
Not only is it a time-saver, but it also retains most of the nutrients found in fresh spinach. To make the most of it, remember to thaw and squeeze: Before using, simply thaw the spinach and give it a good squeeze to remove excess water. This step is crucial to prevent your dishes from becoming watery.
🥢 How to serve
Serve with optional extra olive oil when ready to plate, and sprinkle sweet or spicy smoked paprika on top.
Optionally, serve with a wedge of lemon juice to be added on top.
We like serving this naturally vegan chickpea recipe with crusty bread (like artisan bread) and next to other tapas and small dishes like broken olives (aceitunas partidas), spiced onions, and white asparagus.
Pairing with Rice Varieties
This dish pairs wonderfully with either Basmati Rice or Cauliflower Rice, offering versatility to suit different tastes and dietary needs.
- Basmati Rice: Its aromatic and fluffy texture makes Basmati rice an excellent companion to this dish. For detailed cooking instructions, check out our "How to Cook Basmati Rice" guide.
- Cauliflower Rice: A fantastic low-carb alternative, cauliflower rice adds a delightful texture and lightness to the meal. For preparation tips, see our "How to Make Cauliflower Rice" recipe.
Both options provide a delightful base, enhancing the flavors and making your meal both nutritious and satisfying. Choose your favorite or alternate between the two for variety in your culinary adventures!
Store this spinach and chickpeas recipe in a BPA-free (affiliate link), tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I don't recommend freezing this stew, as the spinach texture will change, but if you don't have an option, you can totally do it. Store for up to three months, then let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Espinacas con garbanzos, a traditional tapa in Seville, is particularly favored during the chilly winter months and lent. However, the origins of this dish go beyond Andalusia.
Spinach, originally from Ancient Persia (modern Iran), was introduced to the Mediterranean by Arab traders. By the end of the 12th century, spinach had become a well-liked vegetable in Spain and was a key ingredient in Moorish and Sephardic Jewish cuisine.
Similarly, chickpeas, also known as garbanzos, originated from the Middle East and were brought to the Spanish kitchen by the Phoenicians. Chickpeas are essential to Spanish cuisine and play a primary role in many popular Spanish dishes, including the delectable Cocido Madrileño.
📚 More chickpea recipes
Another Spanish-inspired and highly proteic dish is our saffron garbanzo beans stew; it is super easy to make and can make an easy lunch.
Make a fantastic healthy vegan burger with chickpeas and celery.
⭐ If you try this Spinach and Chickpeas Spanish recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Sautéed Chickpeas with Spinach - Spanish Recipe
- pinch hot paprika more to serve
- ¼ cup tomato sauce or tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoons parsley chopped
- Sautée the chopped garlic and optional parsley with olive oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.
- Stir in the spices. Cumin, tomato puree, smoked and sweet paprika, and stir fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the drained chickpeas, mix, and coat them well.
- Stir in the fresh spinach, mix and place a lid on top and leave it on for 2-3 minutes until the spinach is slightly wilted and you can stir it well.You may need to stir in the spinach separated into 2 or 3 batches, depending on how large is the saucepan you are using. Simply put a lid on, wait 1-2 minutes until it is slightly wilted, and continue adding the spinach.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and add the optional sherry vinegar and remaining olive oil.
- Serve. Once plated, drizzle a swirl of extra virgin olive oil on top of each dish, then sprinkle a small amount of smoked Spanish paprika.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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