RECIPE: Spinach with Chickpeas Tapa

Ordering food in a foreign country is often 1/3 guesswork (thank goodness for cognates!), 1/3 experimentation and 1/3 luck.  Sometimes the luck part works out in your favor, which was absolutely the case at Casa Tomate in Sevilla where I had arguably one of my favorite meals in Spain.

Handwritten chalkboard menus lined the street, boasting a special for 7 tapas for 17 euros – a perfect opportunity to try several different items (including my newfound Spanish indulgence of brie with caramelized onions).  Everything we ordered was delicious, but what stood out the most was the espinacas con garbanzos.  Simple in concept, this tapa is exactly what it sounds like, spinach and garbanzo beans cooked together with delicious spices and served with toasts or bread.

Espinacas con garbanzos at Casa Tomate in Sevilla, Spain

After returning home, I tried to recreate this seemingly easy tapa.  While it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get the technique and spice ratio exactly right, this recipe is a close substitute that will have to suffice until my next trip to Spain.  :)

One note, this recipe makes a LOT so it’s definitely a meal in itself or perfect for sharing with a group of friends alongside good Spanish wine.

Espinacas con Garbanzos
Makes 6-8 appetizer servings

Extra virgin olive oil
1 cup water
16-20 oz baby spinach, washed, dried and chopped
1 15 oz can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Cayenne pepper (optional, if you like it spicy)
Crusty bread or toasts for serving

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray a medium skillet with cooking spray and add chickpeas, seasoning with salt and pepper. Lightly toast over medium high heat, shaking occasionally until slightly golden, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile in a large cast iron skillet heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat, then add the garlic and sauté until lightly brown.
  4. Add spinach and water and simmer until the spinach is wilted and cooked, about 5 minutes. (Note: You may need to add the spinach in several batches depending on the size of your skillet.  It may seem like there is way too much spinach but don’t worry, it will reduce quite a bit.)
  5. Stir in cumin, coriander and sweet paprika, and add salt and pepper to desired taste.
  6. Add the chickpeas and an additional tablespoon of olive oil. Stir to combine and bring to a gentle simmer, about 15 minutes.  (Note: If there is not enough liquid in the skillet, you may need to add a little more water so the mixture does not dry out.)
  7. Cover the skillet with foil (or transfer to an ovenproof casserole dish) and place in oven for 10-15 minutes until the chickpeas have softened and the liquids have and nearly evaporated.
  8. Serve immediately with bread.

Recipe adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen.

Spanish tapas with tinto de verano.
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4 comments

  1. […] 7:00 pm – Barrio Santa Cruz We did a little more shopping as we wandered through the maze of streets in the old Santa Cruz neighborhood.  At this point, it was time to stop for a quick bite before heading back to the train station.  We were enticed by the tall handwritten menu boards at Casa Tomate, advertising a special for 7 tapas for 17 euros.  We grabbed an outside table under an orange tree (when in Spain…), and had arguably one of the best meals of our trip.  The portions were hearty, the service was friendly and we left determined to recreate one particular dish when we returned home – espinacas con garbanzos (check out the recipe here). […]

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