Spinach and Chickpeas Tapa (Espinacas con Garbanzos)

This meatless dish with spinach and chickpeas is a popular Sevillian tapa, in which the cumin seeds and paprika will titillate your palate: these spices makes this very simple dish an unforgettable starter for your guests and a perfect dinner fix when all you have at home is cans and frozen spinach! Popular as a meatless mid-week meal option, we often have it with bread like a bruschetta, or on a bed of roasted potatoes, or just as it is, with a sunny side up on top!

This recipe makes enough for 2 main portions or 4 starter portions; it takes roughly 30 minutes to make.

500g spinach
200g chickpeas boiled in salted water (or canned)
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 slice of bread
some extravirgin olive oil
some vinegar (either wine or balsamic, as you prefer)
salt and pepper to taste

If you are using dried chickpeas instead of the canned ones, remember that before boiling them you have to let them soften up in water overnight. Then boil them in salted water for  1.5 hours or more, till they are cooked but not at a mushy consistency.

Step 1: Start by simmering the spinach into salted water for about 10 minutes. Then drain and put them aside.

Step 2: Coat a frying pan with extra virgin olive oil and fry the garlic and the slice of bread in the oil until the garlic is golden and the bread is also golden brown on both sides. Put the garlic and the bread into a hand blender container and once the oil has cooled down a little, add some of the oil to the container. With the hand blender reduce the bread and garlic into crumbs. Be careful not to let it become creamy by over-blending the mixture.

Step 3: At this point you should have about a tbsp or less of oil left in the pan. To that, add a teaspoon of paprika and let it fry just a little, so the oil becomes completely red. Then add the spinach and the crumbs, mix it up and let it fry for a minute or so. Add the cumin seeds, mix again and add the chickpeas. Lastly, add the vinegar to your liking, and some black pepper, if you wish.

Step 4: Traditionally, this dish is served with more fried bread. If that’s your thing, put some extra virgin olive oil into a frying pan and fry the bread till golden brown. Serve up the spinach and chickpeas onto plates, stick the fried bread on the side, and you are ready to enjoy! If this is a tad too rich for your taste just a slice of perfectly toasted bread, even better if you have a nice sourdough at hand.



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