Spinach with chickpeas Seville style or espinacas con garbanzos al estilo sevillano is a simple vegetarian recipe that mixes spinach with chickpeas stewed with Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón), cumin, garlic, chili pepper, vinegar, olive oil, fried bread, and sometimes coriander seeds. One of the most famous tapas of the Andalusian city of Seville, although it can be tasted anywhere in the Spanish territory.
Legumes are especially relevant ingredients of traditional Spanish cuisine and, among a large variety of these, chickpeas have a privileged place throughout the Iberian geography. Its use in the kitchen ranges from the most substantial stews -like our famous cocido madrileño– to the simplest recipes such as our Chickpeas salad or the recipe that concerns us today.
Although in Spanish cuisine there is no profusion in the use of spices there are certain exceptions, as is often the case in Andalusian cuisine. The Arab influence after centuries of cultural mixture and domination have marked it, in fact, this recipe shows off that aromatic fusion.
This austere, nutritious and cheap, but very rich in flavor tapa can be enjoyed in any season of the year, but particularly during Lent time. Finally, If you are ever in Seville, we recommend you not to miss “El Rinconcillo“, a famous bar whose tapa of spinach with chickpeas is well known.
- 7 oz (200 g) fresh spinach
- ⅓ cup (70 g) dried chickpeas
- A small Spanish cured ham bone (optional)
- A garlic clove, sliced
- A small slices bread
- ½ teaspoon pimentón
- Dried red chili pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- ½ teaspoon of coriander seeds (optional)
- A pinch of coarse sea salt
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- ½ tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- Soak the chickpeas in enough hot water -at least three times the volume of the legumes- overnight. You can add salt to taste also. Drain and rinse the chickpeas, and add them to a large pot along with the Spanish cured ham bone (if using).
- Cover with enough hot water and let simmer with a lid on, but slightly ajar so that some steam can escape while cooking. It will take from 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the slices of garlic first and then the slice of bread until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and put them in a mortar. Reserve both saucepan and oil.
- Add the smoked Spanish paprika (pimentón), the red chili pepper, the cumin, the coriander seeds (if using), the black pepper, and the coarse sea salt to the mortar. Pound it in order to make a paste, add the vinegar and dilute the paste with some of the chickpeas cooking water.
- Cook the spinach in a saucepan (use the saucepan and oil reserved) along with one or two cups of the chickpeas cooking water and cook them until they are done and almost dry.
- Add the diluted paste and the drained chickpeas, mix well and let it cook for five or ten minutes. Turn off the heat, taste it and add salt or vinegar if necessary.
- Finally, serve in a small clay pot garnished with a toasted or fried slice of bread.
Tips for a perfect spinach with chickpeas tapa
- You can substitute the dried chickpeas for 6 oz (170 g) cooked chickpeas, also. We are sure that you already have a favorite brand.
- Use cayenne pepper or the dried chili that you like the most.
- The most traditional recipes cook both spinach and chickpeas together, but both ingredients have different cooking times. We prefer to do it separately as in the most modern recipes. On the other hand, most of the recipes call for boiled spinaches but we prefer to sauté them along with little chickpeas cooking water.
- Some experts would say that adding coriander seeds is a sacrilege while some others would add it without a doubt. Take a chance to try both versions!
- We love the flavor of toasted cumin and coriander seeds, however, you are free to toast them or not.
- If by any chance you have the opportunity to find Spanish cured ham bones in your area, do not hesitate twice. Add a small bone to the water in which you cook the chickpeas. Also, if you add a half onion you will enrich the flavor of the chickpeas and the broth.
- Are you willing to make a vegan recipe? Then just avoid using the Spanish cured ham bone above mentioned.
Garnish this mouthwatering spinach with chickpeas Seville style tapa with small slices of toasted or fried bread. And finally, bring a bottle of Sherry wine to the table, although any white wine will combine perfectly with this succulent vegetarian stew.