Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach and Chickpeas) recipe

A traditional recipe from Andalucía, Spain, Espinacas con Garbanzos is smoky, earthy, rich, and filling.

Espinacas con Garbanzos origin story

Spinach and chickpeas both arrived in Spain from the Moors who controlled the Iberian Peninsula starting in the 8th century. Flavored with lots of spices, this hearty stew is especially popular during Lent because it is 100% vegan.

I first tried making Espinacas con Garbanzos using my friend’s, Lauren Aloise of Spanish Sabores, recipe. Lauren’s recipe is terrific, but I have adapted it.

I love this recipe because it is smoky, rich, and filling. And, with a little prep work the day before, it’s easy and fast to make!

Notes about the recipe

Espinacas con Garbanzos (photo: Brent Petersen)

Canned chickpeas will work with this recipe but I like dried chickpeas better. That’s mainly because you can infuse the chickpeas with lots of flavor as you rehydrate them. If you use canned chickpeas, you will need to add the spices to the tomato sauce as you won’t be rehydrating the chickpeas.

If you like your stew “soupier,” add water or tomato sauce until you get the consistency you like.

Like all soups and stews, this dish is great (maybe even better) the next day.

Ingredients (serves 2-3, double for a larger gathering)

2-4 slices day-old bread

8 ounces dried chickpeas

8 ounces fresh spinach

1 cup tomato sauce

4 cloves garlic, chopped (more, if desired)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (separated)

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne (optional)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (more or less to taste)

1 teaspoon smoked paprika


Soak chickpeas in water in a covered medium saucepan overnight

The next day, add the salt, cumin, and smoked paprika to the chickpeas in the covered saucepan and bring the water to a simmer. Lower the heat slightly allow the chickpeas to rehydrate and infuse with the spices. Check occasionally for doneness. This will take at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Cut bread into cubes and lightly toss in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place bread on a cookie sheet and cook in the oven until crispy, about 5 minutes

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauce pan or stock pot. Add spinach and a pinch of salt and cook until wilted. Add chopped garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Drain chickpeas and add to spinach. Then, add tomato sauce and cayenne (if desired). Stir and heat through. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with toasted croutons and serve.

About the Author

Brent Petersen is the Editor-in-Chief of Destination Eat Drink. He currently resides in Setubal, Portugal. Brent has written the novel “Truffle Hunt” (Eckhartz Press) and the short story collection “That Bird.” He’s also written dozens of foodie travel guides to cities around the world on Destination Eat Drink, including in-depth eating and drinking guides to Lisbon, PortoSintraMonsaraz, and Evora in Portugal. Brent’s podcast, also called Destination Eat Drink, is available on all major podcasting platforms and is distributed by the Radio Misfits Podcast Network.

Author: Brent