spinach and chickpeas

First off, this dish is not called “spinach and chickpeas”, it is espinacas con garbanzos. Don’t you agree? “Spinach and chickpeas” is something you eat because you should — it is healthy and you aspire to be. Espinacas con garbanzos is something you eat because it sounds sexy, and doesn’t taste half bad either. It’s hearty and smoky with a little kick, you eat it on little fried bread toasts at a tapas bar in Spain.

chickpeas, from the slow cooker

Or, you know, in New York City on another brutally rainy March night. My friend Ang had a tapas pot-luck last Friday (the baby ditched us for a better party at his grandparents house) and, yes, I brought a Spanish dish to a Spanish party that did not include a single format of pork. Wild! Hey, I figured others would have the chorizos and jamón serranos covered. Me, I wanted some Spanish comfort food. I’d tried a version of this dish a few years ago, thanks to the sweet nudging of Ximena at Lobstersquad and instantly loved it. It sounds like it would be too simple to hold your interest, perhaps something you’d eat because you “ought” to, but it tastes like something you’ll crave again and again.

draining the spinach

To make the dish, I used a blend of Ximena’s recipe and the fancier restaurant version in Moro: The Cookbook, a book I am going to confess that I cannot open very often because I immediately want to make every single thing in it right that very second and this crashes into the reality of being pressed for time and the longing, it is actually painful. No, I am not being melodramatic: Feta Salad with Spinach, Crispbread, Sumac and Pinenuts! Chestnut and Chorizo Soup! Seared Sirloin Salad with Barley and Grapes! And let’s not forgot that these are the same folks behind one of my favorite dishes on earth, this Warm Butternut Squash and Chickpea Salad with Tahini Dressing. Do you get it now? Sigh.

espinacas con garbanzos

I have digressed again. Good food distracts me like that. I think you’ll really like this dish.

One year ago: Penne with Potatoes and Rocket
Two years ago: Butterscotch Ice Cream
Three years ago: Skillet Irish Soda Bread

Espinacas con Garbanzos [Spinach and Chickpeas]
Adapted from Moro: The Cookbook and Lobstersquad

One of the reason I blended recipes was because I wanted the approachability of Ximena’s version but also some of the extras in Moro’s — the vinegar, paprika and the fried bread, mashed to a paste. Except, in hindsight, I think I’d also enjoy this recipe without the bread. It would be a bit thinner and saucier and possibly harder to slop onto a piece of toast, but also a bit lighter — in weight, not just calories. If you’re bread-averse or think you’d enjoy it without the crumbs in the sauce, give it a spin and let us know how it goes.

Tomato sauce, by the way, is emphatically not traditional in this dish but after making Ximena’s version with it — she says “you don’t have to use tomato in this recipe, but it’s so much better with it” — I can’t have it any other way.

Last note: This recipe is flexible. If you end up with a little less spinach or a little more sauce, or if you want it with a little less this or a little more that, so be it. Enjoy it. Have fun with it.

Serves 4

1/2 pound (230 grams) dried chickpeas, cooked until soft and tender* or two 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound (450 grams) spinach, washed
A hefty 1-inch slice from a country loaf or about 2 slices from sandwich loaf bread (2.5 ounces or 75 grams), crusts removed and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup (4 ounces) tomato sauce (I used canned stuff I keep around)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste

Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half the olive oil. When it is hot, add the spinach with a pinch of salt (in batches, if necessary) and stir well. Remove when the leaves are just tender, drain in a colander and set aside.

Heat 2 more tablespoons olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the bread for about 5 minutes or until golden brown all over, then the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper. Cook for 1 minute more or until the garlic is nutty brown.

Transfer to a food processor, blender or mortar and pestle along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Return the mixture to the pan and add the drained chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot. Season with salt and pepper.

If the consistency is a little thick, add some water. Add the spinach and cook until it is hot. Check for seasoning and serve with paprika on top, or on fried bread toasts (as the Spanish do).

* I make all of my dried beans in the slow-cooker these days. They are perfect every time, and the flavor of fresh beans — even the sad-looking ones from grocery store bins I used — is incomparable. No presoaking, just cover them 2 to 3 inches of water and cook them 3 hours on high. (I have learned that cooking time can vary widely in slow-cookers so allot more time than you might need. I often make mine in the day or days before and let them cool in their cooking water, which is then by then very flavorful.)

** This might be my favorite ingredient on earth — it’s amazing on eggs and potatoes, too. If you can’t find it locally, Amazon and Penzeys are among a bunch of places that sell it online.

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429 comments on spinach and chickpeas

      1. Cat

        Hi Julie! I usually make this without the bread, and I’m sure the texture is slightly different (it’s been a while since I’ve made it with bread), but I still find it delicious!

    1. Debra

      I made this because I found the recipe and thought it sounded amazing. I had all the ingredients except the bread so made without and it was so simple but packed with so much flavor. The paprika and the spice from the red pepper was perfect. I served it with a Mediterranean chicken skewer. Definitely making this again and doubling it!

  1. klp

    Oooooo. I agree about smoked paprika. We put it in EVERYTHING. I use it with salt, pepper, and a little olive oil to make a savory breakfast oatmeal–perfect with an over-medium egg on top.

  2. I have a tendency to hoard cans of chickpeas, which means there’s always a lot of hummus involved when I clean out my pantry. But thanks to you, I now have another excellent use for them. I think you had me at “fried bread.”

  3. Wow! There is an Indian version of spinach with chickpeas — saag channa. The spinach has more of a pureed consistency. I will have to give the Spanish version a try. It looks delicious. I might use the collard greens I have in my garden instead of spinach. They’re looking bright green and tender now, so I think it’d work.

  4. I love love love this dish. My adaptation is inspired by Jose Garces’ version from Amada, which cranks up the paprika, skips the bread, and also holds back one-quarter of the chickpeas to be fried separately and then added at the end. Varies up the texture nicely.

    Making it for a tapas dinner this week, actually. Especially nice for vegetarians, but in general, loved by everyone.

  5. Ohh des pois chiches ! J’adore mais je ne pense jamais à en manger ou comment l’utiliser, du coup cette recette tombe à pic !
    I love chickpeas but i haven’t recipe with it, Thx U for the recipe !

  6. One thing about beans in the crockpot – if you do any beans that contain Phytohaemagglutinin, they need to be boiled at a rapid boil for about 10 minutes so you don’t get kidney bean poisoning (wiki link in the URL field). I usually boil all beans for 10 minutes then dump them in the crockpot for continued cooking. I don’t know if chickpeas are a big concern, but I boil everything to be safe (and the stuff I know is risky, like red kidney beans, I boil a little extra just in case). I don’t think it matters where in the process you do the boil, so you could probably do it when the beans are done if that’s easier, depending on what else you’re going to do with them.

  7. hi there Deb! just some more tips from the Spanish culture. This dish is usually eaten on Fridays during Lent time before Easter (my family eats it on Good Friday) with unsalted cod (you Caths can’t eat meat on Firdays those days…). It is certainly comfort food and i love it, but I only like eating it on that special ocassion. It is hearty and warm… just like “Fabada” or “Cocido”, or any other stew that are typical in our gastronomy… your looks yummy and would take a spoon (or 2, or perhaps 3) with your permission!

  8. When I was in Andalucia I would pick my tapas bars based almost solely on whether or not they had espinacas con garbanzos, and subsequently judge said tapas bar based on the quality of the dish. I made it once or twice after returning home, but it was never as good as my memory of it. By looks alone, this looks like an excellent version–I’m looking forward to trying it.

    1. deb

      Tara — Great question. When I was done with the spinach, I’d saute the garlic (which I’d mince instead of slice) in just one tablespoon of olive oil (so you can skip 2 of the 6 tablespoons of oil, and the bread, of course) with the spices for a minute, then just add the tomato sauce and chickpeas. Skips the food processor step, too! So this would make this already uncomplicated recipe even easier.

      Also, this might taste good sprinkled with some fried bread crumbs as well as the paprika, if you’re looking for a way to work them in without overly thickening the dish.

  9. Melissa

    Thanks so much for this dish! I am currently eating vegan – something I never, ever thought I’d say – as part of my diabetes treatment, and it’s actually going much better than I’d anticipated, but I had avoided coming back to this site after starting the vegan eating plan. I just didn’t want to torture myself. I’m so glad I ventured back! The first recipe I see is – vegan! And gorgeous. I know any recipe on this site is not something you cooked because you thought you “ought” to but is instead something you found delicious. Thank you!

  10. Stoich91

    Even though my relations with chickpeas are sketchy, :) the dish looks beautiful and I’m glad that that BUNCH OF CUTENESS Jacob got to spend some time at the grandparents’ house while you went out and feista’d! :) lol I don’t have a Flickr acct., but I agree that Jacob will soon cling (screaming) to your leg and you better enjoy your clean escapes (with sunny smiles all’ round!) while you can! :) lol Also, I’m glad you spared us what Alex said in response to the comment on professional, well, you know…

  11. Elizabeth

    And the number of people this dish serves (even vaguely as tapas) is? Four? Eight? One dozen? I’m guessing four from the amount of beans but…I’m not much good at guessing. That’s why I come here! :)

  12. Sarah

    What is the difference between smoked paprika and sweet paprika? My spanish Senora cooks this with a lot of sweet paprika and she claims it’s the only way. She also doesn’t use tomato sauce and a lot more garlic.

  13. Nancy

    This dish looks great, all of my favorites rolled into one! But a question about Jacob – is he trying to hide his toupee from us? He seems to be wearing a lot of hats and hoodies lately;)

  14. I know what you mean! I’ve been putting smoked paprika in everything. It is amazing stuff. This looks delicious

    A question on your note. Do you use the cooking water for anything when you make beans? Like is it ok to use? Or are there nasty compounds in there from the beans that make it not great to eat? I’m new to this whole fresh bean thing. :)

  15. Mmmm, this might be just want I need to lose the ice cream weight I’m packing on now that I’m using “but it’s sunny!” as an excuse to eat ice cream.

    PS- I made your “Standby” Irish Soda Bread and had it for breakfast this morning, yum!

  16. Sarah

    I’ve made a dish very similar to this that involved 3 tablespoons of fresh ginger. The ginger combined with the tomato created the most fragrant flavor. I HIGHLY recommend experimenting by adding fresh ginger to this recipe.

  17. NicM

    I love it when you post recipes and I already have every ingredient at home. A little bit of smoked paprika and mustard powder are great in regular old boxed mac and cheese too.

  18. Teri

    okay I’m probably a big dummy…but transfer WHAT to the blender? the spinach or the bread and spices? This one I want to try

  19. i love just about anything with chickpeas, ahem, garbanzos. and i swore i had some for a dish i was making last night and i couldn’t find them anyway! luckily, i stashed some white beans in the freezer and used those instead, but i know it wasn’t quite as good :(.

    great vegetarian recipe for potluck though – awesome idea!

  20. Jean Marie

    OMG, that child has dimples too??!! Irresistible. As is smoked paprika. We are hooked on the stuff. This recipe sounds delicious and I’ll be trying it out very soon. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  21. Another winner Deb. My friends always make fun of my passion for chickpeas, it may not make sense that such a simple (and cheap) food can seem so decadent and delicious but when it comes to chickpeas I absolutely feel that way. I’m daydreaming of this for dinner with a runny poached egg on top…hmm maybe some chorizo on the side? Uh oh looks like my imagination is running wild again.

  22. I just have to thank you for all of your vegetarian recipes. I am trying to increase my vegetable intake and have been mainly cooking Indian food. This is going to be next. Would a can of chopped tomatoes be an okay substitute for the tomato sauce? The tomato sauce we keep in the house is for my sister who doesn’t cook so its full of sugar. Bleh.

  23. Peter O

    I used to make this all the time, if you have a lot leftover it makes great spread for crostini if you just womp it all up in the cuisinart.

  24. jose

    A wonderful Spanish lenten dish. Love it. Have you tried Ximena’s recipe for the “perfect hard boiled egg”? It’s as close as you can get to “perfect”.

  25. (You had to go and mention chestnuts again. Drat! I have a fierce craving for chestnut dressing (stuffing) that I fear I will not be able to shake now until November….)

  26. Ooh, I can’t wait to try this! I’m in the middle of a month-long vegetarian experiment. So the timing of this recipe couldn’t be better. BTW, I love your bean cooking method. No muss, no fuss – they’re perfect every time. Thanks!

  27. Kylah

    I can’t wait to make this; two of my favorite things are spinach and chickpeas. I made a chickpea and spinach curry a few weeks ago but it seemed to be lacking something, this however sounds delish!

  28. Wasn’t feeling up to cooking, saw your recipe and got right to it.

    Mashed up some Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes and added the spinach to it, separately caramelized some shallots, added the garlic, cumin, salt and chickpeas, sauteed it a bit, then added the tomato/spinach mixture, mixed in some butter toasted panko crumbs, spread it atop toast with a poached egg over everything = YUM!

    Thanks for the inspiration, Deb!

  29. Evelyn

    Question – Can you make this with frozen spinach? If so, how much and how? Or is that a dumb question (i.e., is it the same weight fresh or frozen)?

  30. shelle

    Thank you, this recipe looks divine. And I wonder why I have not heard of smoked paprika. Off to start cooking my beans!

  31. Kristiina

    Deb I was wondering what brand of slow cooker you have. I am considering purchasing one but I’m not sure which one to get. You seem to really love yours so I thought I would ask.

  32. Tracy

    Well, thanks to you again, Deb, the stars aligned to help me use up some leftovers here. I had a hunk of drying no-knead bread, some excess chickpeas (cooked to perfection in the slow-cooker with *no soaking*, which is key to avoiding mushy legumes) from last weekend’s chana masala, some spinach that was about to be on its last legs and a small tomato that I whirled in the food processor with a little tomato paste. I mean, I would have done *something* with them, but using them up in one fell swoop was a bonus. And very delicious (even my spinach-hating, chickpea-loving dog was drooling at my feet all through supper).

    Completely agree that pimentón is out of this world (mine is from my local Penzey’s and you’ve reminded me that I need to make a visit for a new spice fix).

    So Irish soda bread for breakfast (Gourmet, March 1994 — most gorgeous magazine cover ever) and Spanish espinacas con garbanzos for supper on St. Patrick’s Day. Perhaps my Hibernian ancestors won’t disown me for foregoing colcannon just this once….

  33. Seriously? Beans in the slow-cooker? I’ve had a heckuva time with homemade beans here in Ohio (hard water, I hear), not softening after three hours plus. I don’t own a slow-cooker, but I may need to….
    This has everything that’s great about food, all in one place. Bookmarking this one.

  34. Lisa

    I heard about this dish on NPR for their $10 and under recipes. The version we now make actually calls for the garlic to be fried in large whole cloves (in olive oil). Then, when the cloves are soft, you mash them in a mortar with the bread slices that have been toasted in the remaining oil that you used for the garlic cloves. It makes this super thickening paste, and the garlic flavor really comes through.
    We also eat it with a fried egg on top, which is pretty typical in Spain. Sounds weird, but it’s AMAZING.

  35. amy

    I think this might be tomorrow’s dinner. need to hit the market anyway. the boys will probably love it, and the girl…well she doesn’t eat much. the father and the mother will probably swoon.
    I think I’ll make it with rice.

  36. Elizabeth

    Eating Well magazine has a similar recipe that includes golden raisins and excludes the fried bread. We eat it at least once a month, along with their lamb-turkey meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce.

  37. The recipe looks fab but I love the idea of making the beans in a slow cooker…now why didn’t I think of that. It seems like the perfect place to do it. Do you find the cooking time also varies by the beans you cook or just by the slow-cooker used?

    1. deb

      Hi Jan — It will probably vary by both but I only have one slow-cooker, so I’ve only tried them in there. Black beans took as little as 2.5 hours in mine, and these chickpeas took 3.25, tops. Almost everything falls magically around 3 hours. And the beans are so, so perfect.

      Kristina — Mine is a Faberware and it was a wedding gift nearly 5 years ago, they’re no longer made. If I were buying one today, I’d get this Hamilton Beach one, which seems to be the clear winner according to Amazon reviewers (who I base an unhealthy amount of buying decisions on the word of, seriously, it’s a sickness).

      Evelyn — I don’t see why not. It will probably only need to be cooked for a minute or two, then squeezed out (lightly).

  38. Kristy

    For some reason I keep buying chickpeas when I’m at the store thinking I’m out. Now I have three cans and was intending on making some hummus this week. But since this is the second post this week I’ve read with chickpeas and greens (although the other one had sausage in it), I think this is going on the menu for the weekend. Sounds delicious. I was coming back for the soda bread recipe since friend made it and raved about it on facebook….but now I’ve got bread and dinner! Yummy.

  39. I’ve been trying to get my roommates to get into chickpeas, but they have been resistant to anything I’ve tried (what’s wrong with Hummus?! Nothing.) Maybe this will bridge the gap between the always loved Italian food and the mostly hated chickpea. Plus, my one roommate living in Barcelona for 10 months last year…so that could help. Yummmm

  40. Spanish smoked paprika is probably my most favorite ingredient in the whole world too! I use it so much in the recipes on my blog that I fear people will begin to think I know no other way to cook or season! This recipe is so getting bookmarked right now!

  41. samarahuel

    So, what would you serve this with, on a weeknight? And for a party?

    And may I ask a parenting-related question? Your son and mine are almost the very same age, but I have not had a night out without him yet. Moving close to both sets of grandparents in a few months will help, but could you explain the logistics of this? Do you breastfeed/pump? How do you work around naps/bedtime?

    1. deb

      Samarahuel — We served this at a tapas party with toasts that had been brushed with olive oil. You could eat it plain or you could serve it with a grain or potato.

      As for going out, don’t worry, it’s doable, it’s just a little more work and a slightly adjusted sleeping schedule is a small price to pay for parental sanity. Have family local makes it much easier.

  42. I??n

    Spinach and chickpeas,or nohutlu ispanak as we call it in Turkish ,is one of my favorite combinations. Especially with cumin and paprika sauce. My version contains more spinach and less chickpeas. This is a lovely alternative. I have always thought of this dish as south Turkish/middle eastern. Excited to see the Spanish version as a traditional dish. It seems to have spread all over the Mediterrenean. I love to trace such common food traditions and this could be a nice starting point.

  43. Yaara in Tel Aviv

    My Turkish (Sepharadic) grandmother makes something very similar, which is always greatly enhanced by the addition of a marrow bone if available. Gives the whole dish a hearty richness. Never thought to add a bread-paste to it… Interesting.


  44. Jai in UK

    I make a good spinich and chick pea curry , after making the chickpea curry just add the spinich, for a very healthy meal.

  45. Shannon

    Uh, pimentón is my life. I slip it into anything I can. It’s amazing on a summer tomato salad, with hard-boiled eggs, potato salad, and everything else.

  46. Shannon

    @Molly, try sprinkling some bicarbonate of soda/baking soda into the cooking water for the beans. It helps soften the water and eases the cooking. I grew up in a hard water area but only learned this trick when I got into Indian cookery after moving to the UK… where I live in a soft-water area! It might really help you, though. I would be interested to know if it does.

  47. ATL Cook

    I have hard water, but never have a problem when I cook beans. DO NOT salt them until done; they never soften–don’t add tomatoes either until cooked. I often cook on low all day long and prep after dinner.

    Love the mini Crock Pot (brand) in the 2 quart size; perfect for 1-2 servings. Will cook 1 cup of chick peas and then try this recipe. But, I will not add the tomatoes because of my allergy.

  48. I’m with you on the Moro cookbook. I have Moro East as well, which makes it even worse.

    I love spinach and chickpeas – it’s been a trusty standby since my student days.

  49. If I can get over my phobia against chickpeas I will try it. On our honeymoon 40 years ago we had a salad bar as part of our meal (never been to a salad bar in our town) anyway, I covered my sald with what I thought was croutons and they turned out to be chickpea (never heard of those back these) anyway i have steered clear of them ever since. But your recipe does look interesting. — Sherry

  50. greens and chickpeas are a classic combination in my world, much like eggs and bacon or chocolate and peanut butter. this may be strange, i realize, but it just makes me super excited for this rendition.

  51. Hannah

    Yum, Deb!! This looks delicious as always (but, as always, pales in comparison to Jacob…sorry) and would probably make a very filling, healthy dinner but…also probably needs an accompaniment. I was just wondering: if I decided NOT to serve it with fried bread what could I serve it with? Vegetables? Potatoes? Rice?
    Thanks!! I really want to make this for dinner!!
    Also, give Jacob a kiss from me..he’s getting SO beautiful, sweet, cute, chubby, etc, etc, daily. I am DEFINITELY one of his most ardent fans and a member of his fan club (if he doesn’t have one, PLEASE start one!!) =) Thank you for all the pictures of your gorgeous treasure. They brighten up my day. I can only hope my baby will have dimples…*SIGH*

  52. This dish is PACKED with plant-based protein! 1 cup of cooked spinach has 13 grams of protein! 13! And the garbanzos, well, a cup gives you another 4.2 grams. That is pretty great, and fully comparable to meat-based protein! Try a vegetarian dinner built around this dish, and you will feel satisfied, your tastebuds will love you, and your heart will be sooooo healthy! Go Deb!

  53. Wow. The only thing I would do to “improve” this for me and mine would be to add chunks of paneer and serve it on bread (instead of having the bread in it). Then it would be that strange perfect spot between Spanish and Indian cuisine.

  54. Jenny

    I will tell you EVERYTHING I have ever made from the Moro cookbook, and its sister cookbooks, is OUTSTANDING. The feta/sumac/crispbread salad and the sirloin/grape/barley salad are two of my favorite things ever, and you, as a woman with a very small and non-moving baby, will definitely have the time to make those. Very easy to prep things ahead. I say this as a mother of two–the time is NOW, not later. And don’t forget Moro’s yogurt cake and the apricot and chocolate tart. I swoon at the thought of them. The yogurt cake is particularly good with rhubarb compote, and, as it’s about 60 degrees in NYC today, a reminder that spring is really coming and with it, rhubarb.

  55. krs

    Thanks for another great recipe! A question about beans: Do you think they taste better in the slow cooker than if you simmered them on the stove, or is it just easier/ more reliable? Any ideas what the difference is, or how you could replicate the slow cooker beans on the stove?

    1. deb

      krs — I don’t think the flavor is different but I find that they cook more evenly, more reliable and oh, it’s no work at all! No minding the stove! No making sure your water didn’t boil off! No presuming something will take 4 hours but it actually takes 6! As you can see, it is these “freedoms” that excite me the most.

  56. A few months ago, I made what I was expecting to be this exact dish from a recipe in Gourmet Today, and it didn’t even remotely resemble what I’d anticipated or what you wound up with here. Guess the lack of paprika and minimal amount of garlic should’ve been a clue…so disappointing! I’m bookmarking this page and re-adding to my list of Things To Make ASAP.

  57. Erica

    This is amazing! I made it last night as a side dish, and because I was short on time, I totally bastardized the recipe (canned chick peas, frozen spinach, garlic from a jar, no bread, added onions, totally wrong proportions of EVERYTHING, didn’t measure ANYTHING). And you know what? It was DELICIOUS! My husband said “you need to make this again. Like tomorrow”. I can’t WAIT to do it properly and see how divine it is then! Thanks so much!

  58. Gail

    Is there a way you could include a “print this recipe” kind of button on your site, one akin to Epicurious’? Epicurious’s? When you click on print, it takes you to a page with a nicely formatted version of the recipe that’s easy to print. I find myself cutting and pasting your recipes all the time, into Word or whatever, and this kind of thing would be nice. Tx

    1. deb

      Gail — There is a “Print” link at the bottom of each post, before the ad and comments begin.

      I don’t see why collards wouldn’t work — as long as you take into account that they are much heavier and will take longer to cook.

      Adrienne — Yes, there is. I have no idea what I was thinking. Fixed now. [Updated: I *do* know what I was thinking. It was the weight. Which is kind of confusing to anyone but me. Stupid ounces.]

  59. Elizabeth

    Espinacas con garbanzos porsupuesto es delicioso! I cook it the same, except for the pepper flakes and red wine vinegar :)
    Thanks for sharing!
    Elizabeth – NZ

  60. Anne

    Food blogger to the stars! You were mentioned as Keri Russel’s favorite website in her interview with Health Magazine! Also, this looks amazing, and I bet the combo would also work great over pasta instead of bread…

  61. Dani

    I wasn’t going to make this. Until I saw PIMENTON! Which is like heavy drugs to me. I probably smell like pimenton I use it so much. YAY!

  62. c

    Can’t wait to try this!
    (Out of curiosity – why add the pimenton at the very end, rather than earlier on, say with the cumin and garlic?)

    1. deb

      c — I think of the pimenton as more of a “finishing” spice; the delicate smoky flavor gets lost when it is cooked in too much. On top, it is loud and it’s almost like you get more bang for your dash or two.

  63. wenderbee

    YUM!!!! I needed something to make for dinner tonight so I started with this recipe and modified based on my pantry. Used 1 can kidney beans instead of chickpeas, 1 pkg frozen spinach, and 3/4 lb shell pasta. It is amazing and my husband is inhaling it too:-) thanks!

    P.S. this is my first comment, but I am a long-time lurker. We used your vanilla buttermilk cake recipe (from sky high cakes) and the swiss meringue icing for our wedding cake:-) but with lemon curd and raspberry jam:-)

  64. Emily

    Hi Deb —

    Made this recipe tonight and it was fantastic. Just one note — to me your instructions seemed overly complicated for what this recipe is… Here’s my much simplified process (down to just a few sentences), which uses fewer things (no food processor, separate frying pan fo bread, just toast it in a toaster oven), but yielded delicious results…

    Sauté garlic in oil. When golden, add spices and cook about a minute. Add tomato sauce and chickpeas, and cook around 5 minutes. Add bread cubes (toast bread in toaster oven and cut into cubes) and mush them in to thicken the sauce. Add red wine vinegar and mix in. Then add spinach and cook until wilted. Done!

  65. Elizabeth

    Another bean question: When you cook beans (for whatever recipe) do you use plain water? Salt? Other spices/flavorings? I’ve tried several times to cook beans on the stovetop and the flavor and texture are never anything I would eat voluntarily. I’d pretty much given up – I’m so excited to try the slow cooker!

  66. Gayle S

    Made half of the recipe for dinner tonight since it was just for me, and found it to be a terrific combination of flavors! Topped it with a poached egg as suggested by another commenter (and tossed in a bit of chorizo too) – really good!

    Another long-time fan of your site, though my first comment. Love the photography, the food, and the cute baby pictures… my kiddos are all grown, so now I can drool over your little guy. Keep up the good work!

  67. Julie

    I made this for dinner tonight, amazing! I didn’t have lemon, so I used lime. And I didn’t have tomato sauce but I had some tomato paste. Thanks for this healthy recipe. :)

  68. I love smoked paprika too! It makes some simple aioli into an amazing spread for crostini and is awesome on kebabs. This dish looks lovely, although I’m thinking that I might just toast up some bread and serve the chickpea/spinach mixture spooned over the top to sop up the sauce.

  69. Deb? Please tell me that you’re working on a book on the side that you’re going to surprise us with soon! I seriously cannot keep track of all of the recipes that I’ve saved in my favorites folders. You MUST write a book to capture all of these amazing recipes and photos!!!!

  70. Mindy

    My resident cook made this with cauliflower in the sauce and served it over pasta shells. It was absolutely delicious and reminiscent of a romesco sauce.

  71. I made this today, took one taste, and cried tears of joy. It’s the first dish I made based off a recipe of yours! I, like Erica, bastardized my dish too since I had to work with what was in my pantry. Instead of chickpeas, I used… red kidney beans. I know, I know, but it came out amazing! I was hoping for some leftovers, but nope, my mom and I kept picking at it the rest of the night, piling it on top of torn chunks of whole grain bread. Thank you for a great recipe!

  72. Ginger

    The Chickpea Lobby must be working overtime. Both smittem kitchen and another NY City based site touting chickpeas on the same day. Clearly chickpeas are worth a taste. Thanks.

  73. Andrea

    Just had to share: I came home late last night craving something fast but delicious. I opened up the fridge and lo and behold – I had leftover chickpeas, spinach, and cooked tomatoes. Remembering seeing this, I decided to pull it together without the bread, and it was fabulous! What an amazing combination of flavours. And I can’t pass up a recipe that calls for smoked paprika! I did also add some mushrooms since I didn’t have quite enough chickpeas, and they really absorbed the flavours well.

  74. My hubby and I just made this for dinner last night. He spent the WHOLE dinner raving about the dish — it’s delicious! We became vegetarians a couple of months ago, so finding tasty meatless meals like this is always exciting.

  75. Lisa

    I’m just learning ways to use smoked paprika, but I looove it. Anne Burrell has a steak rub that uses it that is fantastic, and I’ve recently become addicted to walnuts spiced with smoked paprika, salt, sugar, and a few drops of canola and then toasted. Can’t wait to give this a whirl!

  76. Cheryl

    Just discovered your site, so we made the first dish listed and it came out beautifully. If anyone is leaning vegetarian (as I am), this could be the dish that pushes you to make the switch. Consider me a fan.

  77. CarebearNJ

    Just made this recipe for dinner. Fantastic and easy! It was flavorful and delicious and really simple to prepare. I think the most time consuming part of the recipe was washing my spinach. Will definitely make again, next time for guests!

  78. VLM

    Made this tonight and it was SO. GOOD. Paired with a no-knead bread that I toasted slices of with olive oil in the oven, it was extraordinary. So good, in fact, that my husband didn’t even notice it was vegan. I tossed in a little jarred passata when it needed more tomato, and instead of plain water I used the reserved spinach water. Sometimes laziness pays off! We are having it again and again. Ridonkulous goodness.

  79. Prin

    Great dish…I played with it excessively…in lieu of bread I used small diced yukon gold potatoes added carrots and celery, a touch of Worcestershire sauce and a little beef broth….so yummy. Thanks Deb!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  80. rebecca

    Having just found out I’m iron deficient (I avoid doctors just so that I don’t need to hear these findings,) I’m doubly delighted with this recipe. I would have loved it without the doctor’s visit, but now I need to eat it, as both main ingredients are great sources of iron. Can’t wait to try it.

  81. tmv

    I made this tonight without the fried bread — absolutely wonderful. It’s going to be a staple. I also ended up using three cans of chickpeas and a little extra tomato sauce — I wanted to make up for the missing bread and also have leftovers. Perfect!

  82. WOW! if someone had told me i’d like a dish comprised of chickpeas and spinach with tomato sauce, i’d have denied vehemently that that would be something i’d put in my mouth. because you raved about it, though, i tried it, and i’m so grateful that you gushed on and on about its marvelousness!!

    i’m not sure what a typical serving size of this is, but the only thing that’s keeping me from consuming more is my concern about the possible flatulence that might ensue tomorrow morning during my shift at starbucks, due to the consumption of these great beans.

    btw, i worked up my nerve and bought the dried beans instead of the canned ones, cooked them like you said, and they turned out great…much firmer than the canned/salad bar version.

    thanks for introducing me to a wonderful new dish!!

  83. Hannah

    Made this for dinner tonight. Did it without the bread, and played around with the serving size as it was just for me, but it came out great. Really tasty and filling. I served it with quinoa to bulk it up, and make it a main dish rather than a side dish, but it worked fine. I’m always making Chickpea Spinach Curry, so it was nice to try one of my basic meals with a totally different flavour. Definitely one to keep.

  84. BarbaraG

    Oh, how I wish comments were an actual assessment of the posted recipe rather than excitable gushing about how great it sounds.

    It’s delicious, by the way. Next time we’re thinking of trying it with chard, but the vinegary bread mush is insanely tasty and filling.

  85. Marilou

    This recipe is just perfect, and the dish is sublime. I made it exactly as written, and can’t imagine why I would want to leave the bread out! It makes the whole dish jump to a another level of deliciousness. I used a store-bought natural type of whole-grain bread. The lemon juice really balanced out the flavors,too. We ate it atop oven-crisped pita bread, and had enough for 4 people as a main course. I can’t thank you enough! Off to invite people for dinner!

  86. Rachael

    I saw this on a search for vegetarian/vegan recipes I could add to my repertoire, being rather newly vegetarian, and for my cousin who is coming in for passover and is devoutly vegan. This recipe turned out better than I could have imagined. I added caramelized onions and a few earthy, indian type spices such as cinnamon and cardamom…the warm aromas of this dish were so comforting…I will definitely make this again!

  87. yum! I did switch it up a little because there are just 2 of us and I’m lazy:
    use a thick slice of whole wheat bread, sliced into strips and then toasted it and tossed in the food processor with 1/2 the spices, 1 Tbl olive oil and 1 Tbl white/light balsamic vinegar (that’s what I had)
    10 oz frozen brick of spinach, defrosted and squeezed/drained
    15.5 oz can of unsalted garbanzo beans
    ground sea salt = extra yum

    Thanks for the recipe, even if I didn’t exactly follow it, it came out REALLY TASTY!

  88. Connie

    Another Smitten Kitchen recipe that was very simple, inexpensive and turned out fabulous. I’m trying to remember how we got by before your site. We eat a Smitten Kitchen recipe at least once per week. Great tip on cooking the beans. That was the first time I tried it and I will never go back. Mine took closer to 4 hours, but were perfect with no work or monitoring required.

  89. Carly

    We made this last night for a casual sunday night/health care debates dinner and loved it. I left out the bread and made it a little saucier with extra tomato and extra smoked paprika. Spooned on olive oil fried bread, it was freaking delicious. I like that it tasted very decadent, but really, it was very good for me. So I ate close to half a loaf of bread to sop up all that goodness…

  90. kristine

    Made this last night, left out the bread, used canned beans, doubled the smoked paprika. DIVINE! I kept thinking that thin slices of Manchego cheese on top would be good. Is that wrong? Would I be run out of Spain on a rail for wanting to do that? :)

  91. kookie in London

    Had this for supper tonight, with some steamed fish and lemon on top – very tasty, tho I will have to try with chickpeas made from scratch and I would add some hot pimenton as well as the sweet kind – I like it spicy. Very tasty!

  92. terri

    i left out the bread, added 8 oz. of tomato sauce (oops!), and microwaved my spinach, but it was still fabulous! thanks for the recipe!

    btw, lemon juice is listed with the ingredients, but somehow, i don’t see where you’re supposed to add it…?

  93. My spinach and chickpeas did not turn out as pretty as yours, but they sure were tasty! It was a perfect dish to enjoy on a cold rainy night. I did not have red wine vinegar, so I just used regular and it worked out well. Thanks for sharing a tasty treat!!

  94. Bex

    Hi, we just had this for dinner and it was sooooo tasty. I love the cumin – it is something I’ll have to remember to use more often! I didn’t use the vinegar, used frozen spinach, and red chile powder instead of paprika. Yum!

  95. Carina

    This really came out delicious, even though it took more steps than I usually put into dinner. I used white vinegar, regular paprika, and a hand-held immersion blender for the bread mashing process – I had to dig out some of the bread “paste” from behind the blade, but otherwise it worked just fine. I served this with a chicken breast, which was kind of a lackluster pairing. Anyone have suggestions for a better accompaniment?

  96. I made it! It came out good. It reminds me of a Moroccan Chickpea stew that I make. I definitely had to add liquid but instead of water I added chicken stock. I don’t know exactly how much but it seemed like a lot. Even with that it was still thick but very good. I ended up making chicken sausage with it and my husband loved it! he just mixed it all together. Even my girls 4 and 6 ate it! I will let you know when I make the stew and post it on my blog so you can see the similarities.

  97. Jeff

    This is an awesome recipe, so freakin delicious and easy. And after years of canned garbanzos for hummus, I’m definitely converted to cooking my own.

  98. Nic

    That is going on to the to make list. I so adore chickpeas however they be served.
    How you feel about Moro is exactly how I feel about Ottolenghi. I beyond heart that book and any excuse to force feed people food from it isn’t an excuse but a moral obligation.

  99. Erin

    I made this last night, served with a fried egg on the side- and much to my amazment my 3 children (ages 6,6, & 9) ate it up, and asked for ” MORE, Mommy!”. Even the husband, a former sous chef and all around food snob helped himself to seconds (and he’s a cumin hater, too!). Thank you!

  100. Liz

    I made this tonight as a side with pork tenderloin. I think maybe I didn’t cook it long enough for the chickpeas to soak up the flavor (I’m always underestimating how long they need to cook!), but otherwise, very good. This is one to keep coming back to.

  101. Jendorf

    I just made this and loved it–even my husband, who’s generally vegetable and bean-averse ate all of it and is taking it to work tomorrow for lunch! My kids–not so much, but you can’t win ’em all, I guess. . .
    It even worked with my last-minute substitution. What I thought was a can of tomato sauce turned out to be diced tomatoes–the recipe worked great anyway.
    As for accompaniments, I made it with sliced chicken breast on top and it was fine, but someone’s suggestion of the lamb meatballs sounds like a great idea. . .

  102. Carole

    Being a poor college student, I normally look away as soon as I see recipes with fancy spices and things like red wine vinegar that I don’t have around. Oh, and things food processors. But I just went to the store this afternoon and literally everything in this recipe that I didn’t already have was on sale. I took it as a sign. Mine is not in the same proportions and I just mashed the bread up with a fork, but it is DELISH. I think spending an hours worth of wages on smoked paprika was a very good investment.

  103. Rachel

    i made this once with chickpeas (absolutely delicious) and again just now with quinoa instead of chickpeas. another winner!

  104. Amanda

    Wonderful!!! I did not do the fried bread, and it was still amazing. I have been on quite a healthy eating kick, so instead of oil to cook the spinach, I just used water. It turned out beautifully. I tried your slow cooker method to cook the beans, and I am very happy with the results. Also, this recipe introduced me to smoked paprika. I am definitely going to try this savory spice in a lot more dishes now. Thanks for such a great recipe! It will become one of my staples.

  105. This dish looks amazing! The colors really grabbed me and the fact that it has two of our favorite ingredients, chickpeas and spinach. Then I read the post – I am so going to make this. Our house is half Basque and half Portuguese, this is absolutely right our our alley … spicy and comforting all in one. As well I love the idea of a tapas party, hmmmm!

  106. grace

    The photo convinced me to try this recipe and I’m so glad I did. Followed the directions exactly except used rye bread because that’s all I had. The dish was delicious. I’ve been inching toward becoming a vegeterian for a long time but thought I’d have to give up taste for principle. This dish may have pushed me over the top. Thank you.

  107. Beth

    I now have a Pavlovian response to Deb’s recipes and am pretty faithfully making most of them soon she posts. What I especially love about this recipe is how the spinach takes on this wonderful creaminess – and I was thrilled to find another use for the smoked paprika my mom brought me back from a trip. Anyway, this dish, as turns out, is also REALLY good if combined with leftover Israeli couscous with slow roasted tomatoes…today I had that for lunch followed by strawberry rhubarb crumble. Thank you thank you thank you.

  108. I just made this recipe. It was delicious! Thanks! I know you are NYC based, there is a tapas place in Chelsea called El Quinto Pino that has a chickpea dish that reminds of this (but a bit different). It’s equally delicious!

  109. truebluetexan

    Made this last night. It was absolutely delicious. Thank you!!! The 16 year-old carnivore even ate all that I put on his plate, and that doesn’t happen very often.

  110. YiannisMommi

    A friend of mine referred me to this site…I’m so grateful she did!!! Amazing recipes…especially this one! I made it for dinner tonight and it was exquisite! Even my 5 year old son cleaned his plate and asked for more! Brava!

  111. Jangann

    I’ve been on a chickpea kick this year, and my husband cried uncle a few weeks ago. (Too many chickpeas? Impossible.) So I was ready to hear him complain about this dish when I made it . . . but he loved it as much as I did. It was amazing!

  112. Ceri (sweet potato chronicles)

    This looks fantastic! I’m definitely going to try it. My husband makes a stew with many of the same elements. We’re trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat so I’m always looking for great mains that aren’t pasta (which my daughter would eat at every meal if she could). Do you find yourself adjusting what you cook to accommodate your kids? Or do they eat what you eat?

  113. Fedora

    I made this last night without the paprika (didn’t have any) and it was delicious! I feel that the bread really adds to the dish. Wouldn’t go without it.

  114. Erica

    Ok, I have now made this again the correct way (see comment #116), and I gotta say, I kinda prefer the bastardized version. Not that the regular way wasn’t ALSO delicious, it’s just that adding the fried bread made it taste a bit more oily and less light and fresh, and the ratio of spinach wasn’t as high as when I just used a box of frozen stuff, and I like a lot of spinach. Perhaps I will try it again without actually frying the bread and see how that goes, because the thicker sauce was nice.

  115. Wayne

    Minimizing cookware, I did the spinach in a deep-walled skillet, re-used it for the bread, then mashed it in place with a potato masher. Variations on proportions were half of a 1-lb container of baby spinach from Costco, 1-1/2 cans garbanzos, one 8-oz can of tomato sauce. Delicious!

  116. chickpeas and spinach are two of my favorite foods, and, like the author i was surprised by the addition of the tomato sauce, but really ended up enjoying it. my only complaint was that cooking the ingredients individually and having to take them in and out of the pan slowed me down. so, next time, i’ll probably pre-make my bread crumbs and toast them in the pan, then add the ingredients based on cooking time, garlic and spices, chickpeas and tomato sauce, spinach last. (i like my spinach just wilted, which the heat from the dish should be enough to do.)

  117. Karina


    I just finished making it for Easter and had to come rushing to compliment you on your recipe! I did not add the bread and amped up the dosage of red wine vinegar. Also made it spicier. In short, absolutely delicious dish that I will be vehement about adding to my repertoire.

    (Note: I’ve devoured so much straight from the pot that I’m slightly concerned that by the time lunch comes around nothing will be left…)

  118. Brad&Joe

    Oh Karina we’re with you, we LOVED this recipe! We added three cans of chickpeas instead of just two and it still turned out fabulous. We also added a little extra tomato sauce and ate it over rice. It was a little curry like and the meal was very fulfilling. A note: it’s even more flavorful the next day after resting over night. We will definitely make this again!

  119. I made this and thoroughly enjoyed it. (I added oven-roasted tomatoes and a dash of smoked salt, and upped the smoked paprika—I can’t seem to get enough of that spice!). I just wrote about it, too. Thanks!

  120. Hmm…I think my slow cooker is not as intense as yours! I did my garbanzos for three hours (plus a little bit more) and then let them cool in their water overnight, and they were decidedly not done! Next time I will check their doneness BEFORE I turn off the crockpot. In case anyone is wondering, garbanzos al dente is not very tasty…

  121. Deense

    Brilliant recipe. The vinegar and the smokiness of the paprika are such a good balance. I had to stop myself from eating the entire pot last night.

  122. Liana

    I made this with tender red-leafed kale and loved it; the texture of the garbanzos stands up well to the toothiness (gumminess?) of the kale.

  123. Louisio

    Tried this recipe last night as part of a tapas feast and this was definitely the highlight! The tomato, spinach and chick pea mix was beautiful and the smoed paprika was a really nice touch!

  124. Luann

    I made this last week and it is sooo good! And the slow cooker for beans, what a concept, it worked like a charm. I have an old stove with a burner that half works and I could never get beans the way I wanted them. The chick peas turned out perfectly and I pretty much forgot about them. Thank you!

  125. This was absolutely delicious! I soaked the beans for three hours and then cooked them for 45 minutes. I made it sans bread, to make the dish lighter, as you suggested. Wow! Thank you.
    This got me wondering, how would this recipe, with the addition of a little cheese, taste as an empanada?

  126. Roxanne

    I have found myself visiting the SK blog more and more, in particular if there is a particular ingredient or recipe I am looking for. This recipe reminds me of an incredibly healthy baked tilapia that I make with fire roasted tomatoes, baby spinach and chick peas – the flavors marry wonderfully and the fish comes out wonderfully moist. I serve it with a bulgur/cracked wheat pilaf or pasta lightly sauteed in olive oil with fresh herbs.

  127. Barbara

    I didn’t think ahead so didn’t have garbanzos, so I used black eyed peas. They don’t need to be soaked and they cook quickly. It was really good!

  128. Dana

    I want to make this as an appetizer for a cocktail party. Could I skip the bread part, and instead serve the spinach and chickpeas on top of crostini? Also, I would like to add manchengo in to the recipe somehow. Any suggestions?

  129. Jeff

    My boyfriend and I made this last night for dinner, and we were so excited by how delicious it way! Yours is definitely a blog I visit when I’m in need for a new recipe. Cheers!

  130. Full

    YUM! I found 2 whole cans of chickpeas to be a little much, personally. I didn’t feel like they absorbed the flavor (prob because I am too lazy to use dried…anyhoo) and I found myself straining to taste the awesome sauce. Think I will cut the CP’s in half next time. Because there will be a next time. Thanks!!

  131. Ada

    Yum! Like you said, chickpeas and spinach sounds too healthy to possibly be tasty, and yet somehow this was. I didn’t have tomato sauce on hand so I diced and cooked a tomato briefly, but I think this would’ve been better with enough sauce to cover the chickpeas. This was so good, and I don’t even like beans that much, so thanks!

  132. Katie in DC

    This was delicious! I was a little too lazy to fry up the bread, so I substituted it with 2 Tbsp. of bread crumbs to make the paste. It still turned out quite tasty. Thanks!

  133. Yum-o. I was making this for someone who couldn’t eat bread, so left it out. I basically did what Deb recommends – used only 1T oil, sauteed up garlic (minced, not sliced) with the spices (slightly less cumin than called for since I don’t love it), threw in chickpeas (canned because this needed to be quick) and tomato sauce, only I used about a cup rather than half a cup because it just seemed like there needed to be more sauce. I just added a few squirts of lemon juice at the end (assumed that was what it was for), and it really helped add some lift/brightness/whatever it is they call it.

    Without the bread/food processor step this is SO fast and easy. I would never have thought from the ingredient list that this would be anything special, but wow, is it! Guess it’s the smoked paprika?? Perfect with some tortilla espanola, chorizo in red wine and a generous hunk of Manchego.

  134. Lena

    This was really good! I made this last night with some modifications: I didn’t have loaf bread so I substituted half a bagel. I also didn’t have red wine vinegar and used balsamic vinegar instead. I used more vinegar than called for as the toasted bagel croutons weren’t turning pasty in the blender. And instead of tomato sauce, I used canned diced tomatoes to which I added some spice, sugar and salt to mimic sauce.

    I’d had my doubts as to whether this meal would prove filling enough for dinner. This meal (without any sides or bread), a glass of wine, and some fruit for dessert were enought to tide me over for the evening. Overall a quick, easy low cost vegetarian meal and one that I will make again the future.

  135. I just made this with chard from the farmer’s market and it was FANTASTIC. A little more body than with the spinach, but just as (if not more so) good as the original recipe.

  136. Melody

    I made this without the bread, and instead (inspired by the ‘smashed chickpea salad’ I think) smashed half the chickpeas into the garlic-and-olive-oil before adding the rest. It turned out great–I had the leftovers cold as a sandwich on whole wheat with romaine for crunch and cheddar for coolness.

  137. Hayley

    i didn’t use bread, but crisped & ground up some leftover bacons and asparagus spears; i remember mark bittman using chorizos in a similar recipe and thought that’d be ok. i also simmered a can of diced tomatoes in lieu of tomato sauce and put a bag of thawed frozen spinach.

    the dish turned out to be awesome, doubly so because i got all ingredients from freezer/pantry yet it tasted so fresh. i scalded my tongue trying to eat it directly from the pot! yum, yum.. now i am looking forward to getting the leftovers as a s/w =)

  138. Emma

    I’m in college and this is such a great easy and fast recipe that makes food for a lot– gotta keep my friends fed. I LOVE this dish so much. really good with rice. I had to substitute balsamic for rice vinegar and used frozen spinach (colllegee lifee woohooo) but it worked out really well. Thank you for sharing!!

  139. Josh

    I made this last night….have been reading your blog for a bit but this was my first attempt at the home game. It was absolutely amazing. Well worth the travel to 4 different supermarkets for smoked paprika

  140. Amy

    Made it last night and it was terrific. One of the best recipes I have madein a while. So comforting especially since I have been trying to over my cold.

  141. Marta

    Made this tonight! It was fantastic — tangy, smoky, and way richer in flavor & texture than spinach and chickpeas have a right to be. Smoked paprika burrowed its way into my heart a couple of years ago, after I made Mark Bittman’s braised Spanish lentils (also wonderful), and I basically worship it as an ingredient.

    Wanted to note that I made this on impulse and, for that reason, used canned chickpeas and thawed frozen spinach. (Obviously, I still loved it, so please don’t let a lack of fresh-cooked chickpeas or fresh spinach deter you.) I also added the full 8 oz can of tomato sauce, and, because I still wanted things juicier, about a 1/3 cup of water, along with some extra spices and tomato paste to try and keep the flavors in balance. I squeezed the lemon on right before serving & loved how it brought everything together.

    I’m so full, yet I keep wandering back to eat more, right out of the pot. CLASSY.

  142. Louise

    I made this dish for the second time last night as an accompaniament to cod fillet. It is so delicious! I particularly love the red wine vinegar in this recipe.

  143. Kerstin

    I really have to comment on that recipe – it’s oh so delicious :-)) I just stumbled over your blog recently via the link list on and I really fell in love with it right away :-)

    We did a slightly different version though as we took only one can of chickpeas and just four rather big fresh tomatoes. As you suggested we also skipped the bread but opted for eating roasted bread slices with the whole thing – no need to mix the bread into the dish, we put the garlic and spices together with the tomatoes and chickpeas in the pan. It was really great – thanks for the recipe!

    P.S.: As there was some vinegar in the bread mixture I added some sherry vinegar to my very last bites and interestingly the whole dish changed it’s character from being a vegetable main dish to a salad/tapas version. Wonderful twist if you want to serve only a few bites per person as first course or on a buffet.

  144. Laraine

    This recipe is dynamite. I followed it exactly, though I was a bit heavy-handed with the paprika. My only recommendation is to squeeze some fresh lemon juice on it before eating. Next time – and there will be a next time – I will try topping the dish with the fried bread (sans vinegar) instead of incorporating it into the dish. It is soooo good!!

  145. Tricia Elder

    This is a wonderfully forgiving recipe. I read Ximena’s version via your link and opted to serve it with toasted pita wedges as scoops in lieu of bread in the mix. I had hollowed a couple of tomatoes this morning (your eggs cooked in tomatoes recipe called to me), so I used the tomato leavings pulverized in the blender instead of tomato sauce. It was about a half cup. I also, um, LOVE picante food, so in addition to the smoked paprika, I used chipotle chile powder instead of crushed red pepper flakes. Chipotle adds extra smokiness along with heat. (I also added some chopped jalapeno, seeds included, but I’ve decided not to tell you that because you’re not in Texas and may not understand.)

  146. Ben

    This recipe worked out great for me. I find that if you puree the spinach with the bread crumb/garlic combination in the food processor or blender, you wind up with a more spreadable texture, perfect for topping cous cous or toast. I fun and interesting take on tapas.

  147. Ilana

    Oh my goodness, I tried this recipe a few weeks ago and have been craving it ever since. I finally made it again both yesterday AND today because it is that good! Yesterday I put it on top of pasta and today I mixed it with rice.. One thing that I did find was that using bread crumbs was an quick and easy fix when I realized that I didn’t have any bread on hand. Thanks so much for the awesome recipe!

  148. Liz

    Deb, this recipe has taken over my life! I make it without the bread but WITH slices of whatever Spanish-like sausage I have lying around (as one does), and it is BRILLIANT. I’m always surprised that it remains perfect…even though it’s never not perfect!

    All this to say: thanks.

  149. Eliza

    We hoped to make the new baked Spinach but only purchased one pound of spinach, so we made this instead and LOVED it. I used panko instead of the bread-food proc routine, and it was great! Oh, we didnt have smoked paprika and we didnt miss it. YUM!

  150. Lizzie

    Loved it! The spinach tasted creamy and it was quick to make–only needed the mini-food processor for the amount of bread. As a side note, fried bread with cumin and garlic is also really tasty on its own.

  151. Deb, I just have to say – this has become one of my total go-to’s. It’s unbelievably inexpensive, unbelievably easy, and unbelievably good. When I need something even quicker, I use homemade bread crumbs and frozen spinach. I also mash the chickpeas with a fork while they’re warming for more spreadability. For such a healthy, quick, cheap meal I can’t get over how special and exotic it tastes. I can’t say enough. You’re my favorite.

  152. mabk

    Fantastic! I almost wanted to stop with the pesto – very easily created with a mortar and pestle which made me happy – to make a spread. Which I’d thought of mashing the chickpeas as described by Brynna. I loved the breadcrumbs, though, and will not part with them! Can’t wait for leftovers tomorrow.

  153. Stiliana

    Great recipe! I’ve been looking for one since I fell in love with espinacas con garbanzos in Andalucia this May. I omitted the vinegar because I am allergic to it but it still was fabulous. Thank you!

  154. This is the most amazing thing I have ever tasted, thank you! It’s the vinegar that gives it the amazing flavour. I’m actually going to make a batch to pack on an upcoming flight:) Why eat crappy air port food when I can nosh on this?

  155. I am making this recipe for probably the sixth or seventh time today since July! I was trying to only make it when spinach was growing in my garden but I just can’t help myself, it’s sooo good! Thank you so much.

  156. Amy90804

    I just got back from a trip to Spain, where my last stop was Sevilla. One of my favorite dishes there was this one, a house specialty, served in a little casserole dish with a quail egg cracked on the top! I ended up cooking it a little longer at the end with a half cup or so of water to make it a little more creamy and cracked a couple chicken eggs on the top. Honestly it tasted almost exactly the same! Thank you so much!

  157. Amy

    I made Rancho Gordo garbanzo beans. I’ve adjusted things significantly to reduce the bread, oil amount, and time. Hopefully these changes won’t mess things up. I will saute my spices and garlic, then will add tomato sauce and chickpeas, mix until hot and then add spinach. I wanted to reduce the amount of oil in the recipe and I think this will do that. I will eat this with some bread on the side.

    Amy90804…an egg on top, now that sounds interesting and tasty. Is that a soft boiled egg?

  158. Trisha

    I followed some of the substitutions mentioned above. I skipped precooking the spinach since I had about 5 oz of baby spinach. I wish I had more. I used about half a can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes with chiles for the tomato sauce plus a little paste and water, and added it to the food processor after the fried bread cubes were mashed. I thought this dish was ok last night, but today at lunch I really like it. I served it with rosemary focaccia I made at the same time. I liked the combo but ended up with a ton of dirty dishes. The garbanzo-cooking trick was fantastic. I did a pound on Sunday, and they are delicious just plain.

  159. Amy

    I’m eating the leftovers of this right now (for breakfast, oddly enough), and it is wonderful! I bet it’s be great with a poached or fried egg as well, but I was too hungry/lazy to try. I NEVER post on websites (even though I compulsively read others’ comments for tips and advice…), but I had to at least once just to say how much I love your website. We cook at least one meal from your archives every week (when I’m stumped, my husband always asks, “What’s that kitchen lady have this week?”). Your recipes are manageable, readable, and always amazing. Thank you for making this newly wed couple semi-competent in the kitchen!

  160. Miki

    I loooooove this recipe and even more so, this site. So many recipes to try. I ate this all week on toasted English Muffins and it was amazing.

  161. Tammy

    I first had this in Seville, Spain back in 1995….and then I ordered it whenever I saw it on a menu there because it was delicious and addictive! Then came home and my Mom and I re-created it. I don’t think the version we ever ate there had tomato or paprika in it….mostly I rememeber a garlicky clear broth. (And yes, it was served with some great garlic toasted bread for dipping up the broth.) BUT I WILL DEFINITELY MAKE YOUR VERSION as it looks wonderful….thanks for another delicious and different recipe. Love your blog.

  162. Liesl

    Thought I would give this recipe a go as we like spinach and chickpeas but have never had them together in one dish before. Before I even finished cooking it, the smell was awful. I had one mouthful with dinner and it tasted just as bad if not worse. Too bad, it looked like such and interesting recipe. I did follow it exactly but I guess it won’t match everyones tastebuds.

  163. Kelly

    Heaven. I’ve made this three times and I’ve not posted comments and thought I should just post to say this is such an excellent recipe and universally loved by those who eat it. I like the suggestion of one of the responders to mash a small amount of chickpeas w/ the vinegar etc rather than bread.

    At any rate, had leftovers today with a over easy fried egg and another dash of the smoked paprika and it was simply AMAZING.

  164. db

    This is just lovely. I do think that sherry vinegar is the secret to almost anything. I know this adds a bit more oil, but I fried the chickpeas in olive oil for a good five minutes. And I’m sure I used more vinegar than called for and certainly more paprika. Thank you!

  165. Rebecca

    I made this for the umpteenth time tonight. It’s entered our regular rotation, with chard or spinach. I skip the bread about half the time (its delicious either way) and sometimes add a few anchovies while frying up the spices & garlic- adds a yummy salty note. Thanks for the great recipe!

  166. Chelsea

    This recipe is awesome. I made it a few weeks ago but subbed toasted whole wheat breadcrumbs for actual bread. I served it as a main course with grilled haloumi cheese to put on top. It was amazing, I even got a compliment from my brother who only doles them out very selectively. Having friends over tonight, one of whom is gluten-free, and I’m contemplating whether to skip the bread altogether or to try subbing gluten-free breadcrumbs. Decisions, decisions…

  167. Deb! Just made a simplified dormroom version of this in my rice cooker, and it’s great! I used a crumbled up bagel and chopped fresh tomato, with a little basil, and I cracked an egg on top when it was all good and hot and let it steam. MADE my night, this did. Thank you! Love forever always.

  168. Laura

    Just discovered this and your site — this recipe was so easy and absolutely delicious! I skipped the bread, but will have to try it that way sometime. I have made chick peas and spinach before but with indian spices. I love the Spanish flavor of this. Thanks for posting!

  169. Sara

    This is one of my favorite recipes of all time – I think I have made it at least a dozen times since you posted. I have developed a shorthand version to avoid getting my food processor dirty – I toast 1/2 c bread crumbs (this time panko) in olive oil, then add the garlic and some salt, then a couple tablespoons of tomato paste and the spices, then the vingear, and then 1/2 c water mixed w some lemon juice. When the sauce is ready I add the garbanzos and spinach. And I LOVE the fried bread with it!

  170. Just happened to have cooked chickpeas in my fridge and spinach from the field. This made a perfect dinner on a chilly December day. I think the bread/garlic/pepper/vinegar gave it a really unique flavor we hadn’t tried before! Thanks for this…

  171. Wowsy!!
    Tried this with frozen spinach, worked fine.
    Served next day after a whizz in microwave, with a slice of fresh pan de avena. Delicious! My husband loved it. For me, smoked paprika is the magic ingredient!! Will make again for party buffet over Christmas. To anyone trying for the first time, don’t skip any of the ingredients.

  172. Tor

    This is one of my favourite dishes to order at my local tapas restaurant (Lunya, Liverpool – it’s wonderful) but I wanted to cook them at home, too. I had no idea where to start with the spices, so this is brilliant!

  173. RR

    This was really yummy and nice and versatile. I like that I can play with the amount of tomato sauce, etc. I used some sourdough I had in the freezer and I think it came out great, though a bit sour, as one might expect. Has anyone tried making a funky version of hummus out of this? I was thinking of throwing the entire completed concoction into the food processor to make it more into a paste that people could easily put on crackers or use as a dip. I think I’ll try that this week.

  174. Karen Sorenson

    Your recipe is the best that I have found, no onion, and easily tweaked to fit my own culinary tastebuds! I use diced tomatoes in whatever I can find them, last night it was fire roasted diced tomatoes. It really added a nice bite to this dish, yum! And I never do the bread thing, if I want bread, I just toast a little to splash up the juice, and like some of your followers I wilt the spinach over the entire dish at the end. Simple and nice. Thanks for your recipe!

  175. Jim

    A friend of ours gave us a whole wheat sourdough loaf. I used some of that, one shallot (I halved the recipe) instead of the garlic and about a cup of canned tomatoes.

    I’ve tried a similar recipe with bread from a white baguette and no tomatoes. That was good, but this was better. I think the sourdough added something. Thanks very much!

  176. Trisha

    I always serve this with rosemary focaccia bread, and a post on the kitchen about vegan hot pockets got me thinking yesterday. This morning I made the focaccia dough, half a recipe of chickpeas with spinach, and put some pockets together. Yum!!!! Such a delicious lunch (notice I am posting about lunch at 1130, oh well). If you are interested in the kitchn post, here is a link:

  177. FrankD

    I cooked the chickpeas in the slow cooker as you suggested (great!) and kept the juice — then when I was assembling the dish I took about 1/2 cup of the peas and pureed with chickpea juice using a cup and hand blender. I like the resulting juiciness, texture, and flavor. For what it’s worth, the combination of chickpeas and spinach also makes for a great curry, using ginger, turmeric, and the usual Indian spices. But I really like your Spanish version!

  178. christine

    I am making this for a dinner party tomorrow night and was wondering if I could make any part of this ahead of time? I just finished the chickpeas in the crockpot. But anything else I could do ahead of time would be great. thanks!

  179. M.

    As a Spaniard I find it funny when people ask “what should I serve with it?”. In Spain a traditional meal implies two dishes plus dessert, so your typical first dish would be something like this, a nutritions vegetable dish, while the second dish would be something heavier, generally including animal protein. This is just a starter, not a main dish, of course you can adapt it to your needs, but then it would be something else, not a Spanish dish thought just as part of a well balanced and complete meal.

  180. Heidi

    Made this last week and we all (a vegetarian, a picky toddler, and a picky grown man) enjoyed it immensely. Adding it to our regular rotation!!

  181. Jen (Toronto)

    I made this last night as an homage to our honeymoon in Spain (got back two weeks ago, miss it already). The dish was delicious and came together really quickly. I made it into a weeknight dinner that would satisfy my husband’s larger appetite by serving large ladlefuls over two big slices of toasted, buttered (crucial) country bread and topped with two poached eggs. (Left out the bread from the recipe). The smoked paprika really made the flavour special. My batch was a bit larger than the recipe (had 38 oz of chick peas and amped up the rest more or less accordingly) and it served two generously for dinner, with two solid lunch portions leftover. Thanks, Deb!

  182. Sarah S

    I have made this a few times now, usually adding chorizo to make it a little heartier. The first time we eat it as a main with toasted bread. Next with a fried egg on top. Any leftovers after that go into a quiche (possibly my favorite quiche filling ever!).

  183. Jennie B

    I’ve been making this on the regular for the past few years, and I just wanted to say how wonderful and delicious and easy it is! Thanks!!!

  184. Kate

    Oh my GOODNESS!!! i just made this for me and my husband and we both LOVED it! I didn’t follow the recipe exactly in terms of measurements- I used a big can of chickpeas and probably closer to a cup and a half of tomato sauce- and it was heavenly. Smoked paprika, where have you been all my life?! I had a fresh baguette that I sliced down the centre and pan fried in some olive oil on one side. Served the dish on top of the pieces of bread. Also, instead of a blender, I used the back of a spoon and some muscle to mash into a paste. This was SO good. Can’t wait for lunch leftovers tomorrow! Thank you!

  185. Heather

    I am thinking of using Bittman’s recipe for smoky quinoa crumbs in place of the bread. I’d love your input first. Have you tried the crunchy quinoa? Thanks!

  186. Great recipe! You’re right – there’s so much one can do with this. I Indianized this a bit by adding a little bit of turmeric, garam masala and extra cumin – turned out nice!

  187. Kyla

    This recipe has quickly become a favorite! I’ve gotten lazy about how I make it, but it still turns out perfect every time. I use panko in place of the bread and omit the food processor completely. I also use 20 ounces of frozen spinach (so easy and cheap!!). The tip for making chickpeas in the crockpot has changed my life a little bit– the texture is so much better than canned. This is a meal that I could eat every day and be perfectly happy!

  188. this is an amazing dish. so simple, and yet, extraordinary. i will share it with the patrons of our food pantry, where i teach cooking-from-scratch workshops, and quick demos on making tasty, healthy, inexpensive food.
    i made it with some stale, homemade sourdough, it was perfect. thank you, thank you, thank you.

  189. This was a great solution for what to do with the CSA spinach that was taking over my fridge. Next time I think I’ll just toast the bread instead of frying it, so I get all that great texture without quite as much oil.

    Thanks for an easy (even on a 90+ degree day) healthy dinner.

  190. Nancy Boever

    Great vegan recipe!! A few months ago I started down the vegan path and I’m so excited whenever I find really tasty recipes that are substantial enough for a meal. I had a side of rice with this and it was perfect. I didn’t add the bread (none available) and instead of spinach (none available either) but substituted the kale that I had on hand. It worked out wonderfully. I also made the beans using a pressure cooker starting from dry beans. It took only 48 minutes once the cooker was at pressure and they came out perfectly (2 cups dry beans with 4 cups of water with 3 sliced garlic cloves added for extra flavor).

  191. Lane

    Due to pantry limitations, I altered this a lot — white beans instead of chickpeas, panko crumbs, double the garlic, tomato paste + water instead of sauce, white vinegar instead of red wine — and it was still delicious. Great recipe, very quick and flexible. :)

  192. Janet

    I just made this using pumpernickel bread cubes, and it was absolutely delicious. I can see serving it with sausages on the side, for dinner, and with an egg on top, for breakfast. Such a versatile, easy, delicious recipe–thank you!!

  193. Lori

    I also made this for dinner tonight and kids and adults gave rave reviews. It’s hard to believe something so simple sates so good. I even used frozen spinach. My kids want me to get a smitten kitchen logo tshirt!

  194. Jen

    Saw this on Instagram today and am going to do a rare thing – cook grownup food JUST FOR ME! No little boys allowed! Thanks also for the link to the Moro cookbook – I will likely be moving to Spain soon and am so interested in the food culture and history surrounding the country and the region.

  195. Christina

    I’ve been waiting to see this recipe posted for a while now. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. When I make this, I first fry the garlic in the oil, once it’s cooked I remove it and fry the bread in the garlic oil. I also add tomato, but I always use fresh tomatoes. Nice to see your take on the recipe!

  196. Mimi

    I made this a few weeks ago for lunches for the week (reheats great) and it was amazing. I tried to go breadless with the recipe, but it was going to be too much liquid for what I wanted. I ended up using about half the recommended amount of bread and that was perfect (for me). This was one of my favorite lunches of last year!

  197. Liz

    I made this last night for dinner-and I substituted Kale for spinach, cause that’s what I had! It was delicious! I love it! I used some very tasty sourdough bread both in the dish and to eat along side.
    I’ve noticed a lot of people not wanting to use bread-wondering if some toasted Marcona almonds might be good substitute?
    Thanks! So nice to have some different easy dinner options. :)

  198. Chi-Mei

    I just made this for dinner tonight before picking up my son from daycare. It is so incredibly delicious that I couldn’t help but ladle out a small bowl for myself. How could a recipe this simple deliver such robust flavor? Simply genius!

  199. Pamb

    Just made this for the second time in a week. I can’t get over the depth of flavor with such humble ingredients. This time around I omitted the bread, added onions, bumped up the spices and goodness it’s amazing. Thanks for another fantastic recipe.

  200. Becki

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I used diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce but it worked well. Definitely adding this to the repertoire. Thank you!

  201. Just want to say, “Me, too!” Besides my two daughters, smoked paprika is my favorite thing. Great recipe. I love making unique things like this when everything is already in my panty.

  202. Margaret

    This was very good! We had it with a Greek salad and falafel (yes , more chick peas) and would definitely make it again!
    I added leftovers to a salad the next day. A little bit of spice-
    and that tomato sauce could have been doubled!
    I didn’t use canned chick peas, but soaked and boiled my own. They weren’t as soft as canned, but the just barely firmness was fine.

  203. Made this last night during an OMG is 8:00 and we haven’t eaten and there’s “nothing in the house” to eat rampage. Of course, with spinach that’s almost to its breaking point in the fridge and cans of “emergency” chickpeas and tomato sauce in the pantry, this was an incredibly simple and quick meal to throw together on a whim. Approximated a 3/4 recipe, served it over rice, and got 4 good-size servings. The touch of smoked paprika over the top really made this dish! Dinner yesterday AND lunch today = solved. Big self-pats on the back last night.

  204. Could you walk me through your process of making chickpeas? Do you use the slow-cooker for chickpeas as well, if so how many cups of water per cup of dried chickpeas or do you just cover the chickpeas with water with no necessary measurements?

    For some reason I have anxiety when I think about cooking dried chickpeas, your help would be greatly appreciated.

    Do you use the same method for when you make hummus?

    1. deb

      A lot of water, more than you’ll need and some salt. High for a few hours. Slow cookers vary wildly, so do chickpeas — some take forever to cook, some do not — so check in. I don’t bother these days with hummus. I find Goya from the can perfectly lovely for my purposes.

  205. Alana

    Hi Deb! Ever since the site redesign, I’ve found that when I print a recipe and it prints on two pages, the last line of the first page gets cut off. I discovered this the hard way. I wondered why I didn’t end up using a couple of ingredients… :( Any way to tweak it so that this doesn’t happen (aside from saving a tree and not printing)? I didn’t know where else to leave this comment.

    Now a comment about this recipe, I’ve had spinach and chickpeas in Barcelona and LOVED it! I’m looking forward to trying out your recipe for it! As always, thanks for your site! I’m eagerly awaiting your next book!

  206. winemuse

    I made this last night for a small party at my place… I went with the bread version and placed paprika & chili flakes out on the table in case people wanted to add them (but I did not add them to the dish otherwise). It was a HUGE hit. Everyone absolutely loved it… some ate it on its own, some ate it on little baguette slices with prosciutto etc. And I think it tastes even better this morning since the flavors have settled. Additionally, I found it to be an easier recipe than I anticipated. I’m always intimidated by recipes that call for food processors, but this was fairly straight-forward and time friendly. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!!

  207. Kathleen

    I made this as part of a tapas meal, and it was excellent! I added a chopped onion and sauteed that until translucent to start, which was a good addition. I also added about double the tomato sauce suggested, which worked well. Next time I might use chard instead of spinach, just because it holds up a little better. The smoked paprika definitely made the dish – gave a wonderful flavor. Thanks, Deb!

    1. deb

      Room temp is fine but warmed a bit is better. At least lukewarm. Bread, yes. If you have time to grill or fry it in olive oil and rub it with a garlic clove, even better.

  208. Pam

    Perhaps I’ve already commented on this recipe but it truly deserves another go-around. Every time I make it I marvel that such humble ingredients and such minimal effort could produce a dish that satisfies so thoroughly. I’ve never made it with the bread, because frankly, I’m afraid to. Why mess with a perfectly guiltless dish, right? Instead of bread, I salute chopped onions and forego any pulverizing action. A crispy fried egg on top sends this dish into a whole nother realm. Enjoy!

  209. Meghan

    I made this again recently and it was as good as I remembered. We didn’t have fresh bread in the house so I used bread crumbs instead. I used a scant half cup, which was likely too much – I needed 3/4 cup of tomato sauce and as much water to thin out the sauce. Next time if using bread crumbs I would saute the garlic first, then add the crumbs, rather than the other way around – I found the crumbs soaked up too much oil and the garlic did not get golden enough. It was still delicious despite all these modifications. We love that it is hearty enough to stand on its own.

  210. Jane

    I made this for the second time over the weekend and it was a super satisfying but lighter (even with the bread) winter meal! Even better than I had remembered. The smoked paprika is so wonderful and the whole dish is jam packed with flavor. I don’t think I would change anything except perhaps doubling it so I can have more leftovers.

  211. It was wonderful, but I’m so angry that i FORGOT the smoked paprika. I’ll have to make it again :D Thanks so much Deb. Your archives are always a source of inspiration. I served it with some naan I had in the freezer instead of little toasts, and it worked well.

  212. Erin

    I just made this tonight and it is fab. I took a shortcut with the bread. I must admit, I half read the recipe and since I had everything on hand, I went to it. I realized as the spinach was wilting, that the bread would need to mashed and I decided to be uber lazy and not do that. I added a bit more tomato sauce, and more cumin and smoked paprika, since the bread soaked up a lot. I used canned chick peas and the next time, I would likely take the time and use dried. I’m looking forward to having leftovers tomorrow. This would be great with a poached egg! I’ll definitely be making this again!

  213. Anna

    I don’t know how I missed this one all these years! I used chard instead of spinach, added some red onion, and skipped the fried bread. Served it with warm pitas and a spoonful of yogurt, and it was amazing. Going into the regular rotation!

  214. Janice

    Made this for dinner tonight but left out the bread. It was delicious, ate it with jasmine rice. Tried so hard not to eat the whole thing! Will definitely make this again! Thank you for the recipe, Deb!

  215. Kristy

    I made this tonight and wished I had planned ahead to use dried beans instead of the cans. I think it would have made the overall outcome of the dish even better. We had this as our main course for dinner (including my meat eating husband!) and all agreed it’s a stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal that everyone liked. I’m going to fry an egg tomorrow morning to have over leftovers!

  216. SharonDC

    Delicious, healthy and an easy meal for dinner, and for breakfast the next day. Sadly not enough for a third meal.
    I added more spinach at the end by stirring into to the already-hot ingredients (so it wilted). I wanted it to be a bit more green!
    Next time I’d skip the bread part, perhaps I didn’t use enough bread because it didn’t seem to add much to the dish (save for thickening it).

  217. I tried this once with eggs & guess what I loved it from inside out. Nowadays its my breakfast 2-3 days a week. Thanks for sharing healthy Spinach & chickpeas!!!

  218. Elisabeth

    Made this recipe for the second time without the bread–both times it was delicious. Everytime I make pulses, my husband seems a bit disappointed. After having this recipe, he said the next time you say we’re having beans, I will say yummy!

  219. scattered

    I make espinaca con garbanzos at home in the US and in Spain. Absolutely, a go-to comfort food. Depending on what is in pantry, I make it with or without tomato sauce in both locations. It is important to note that the versions do not taste the same. Though the Spain iteration has the umami of simply being in Spain, the tomato sauce predominantly used in Andalusia is “tomato frito.” Yes, fried tomato sauce! The flavor profile is definitely not the same. Think beans versus refried beans.

  220. Becky

    The tomato sauce (I’m English, so tomato sauce is Heinz ketchup to me) – is it tomato puree (really thick and concentrated) or passata (sieved tomatoes – runny)?

    1. Jo

      Hi Becky,

      I’ve asked a similar question, however (after I posted the question…) I noticed another person commented that ‘tomato frito’ is used in Andalusia, which seems to be passata fried with garlic and onion.
      Wiki says Heinz Tomato Frito is a product available in the UK.
      I’ve never seen it here in Australia, but it’ll be easy enough to make my own version.

  221. Katerina

    Made it tonight and we loooooooooooved it! I had to use store-bought breadcrumbs (from the deep recesses of my pantry) instead of bread, though, because the shops had already closed for the day before I noticed that we were out of bread . Breadcrumbs worked just fine, too. And to make the sauce a bit thinner I added not water but some tomato juice, maybe 2 tablespoons, tops. This dish is definitely going to be in heavy rotation in our household. Thank you, Deb!

  222. I agree with Penzeys Smoked paprika being the best thing on earth. When I saw that this called for smoked paprika, I got excited! I literally use that every day. I spent 42 years on this earth thinking paprika was just for some color on deviled eggs…..until I had that smoked paprika from Penzeys. It haunts my dreams!

  223. Jen in Seattle

    I made this for my GF mom by substituting brown rice for the bread. Not a good substitute. Next time I would try a GF bread or leave out altogether. I’ve also made the original recipe as written and it’s fab.

  224. Wow, it is actually shocking to see “allot” used correctly and not in place of “a lot”. Thanks for being a pretty great writer in addition to a pretty great cook.
    P.S. I can’t wait to try this.

  225. Tamra Pearson

    This is one of my favorite food combinations. I can’t wait to try this version. Another wonderful spinach and chickpea recipe comes from Marcella Hasan. So many recipes, so little time! Thank you for your inspirational posts and books!

  226. Katia

    just made this – and eating a little sample (for quality control :)) before dinner. amazing as expected! thanks, Deb, for another great recipe.

  227. Gia

    Made this last night – just like for you, it was perfect cold, rainy comfort food! We ate it plain as a stew because the kids and I gorged ourselves on tortilla chips earlier in the afternoon… but my husband ate it on toast and loved every bite. We’re planning a summer trip to Spain… so this was a fun inspiration dish for us to talk over our future trip plans. Adding this one to my late fall-early spring recipe file!

  228. Jo

    Hi Deb, I have a similar question to Becky (12 September 2017). Is the tomato sauce you use passata (cooked, pureed tomatoes), or is it ready-to-use tomato-based pasta sauce/marinara sauce?
    I’m trying to work out if I should use a portion of sauce, or some passata I have in the cupboard.

  229. jjjeanie

    I made this after making whole wheat bread (forgive me, Deb: Tassajara bread book recipe), AND fig newtons, so I had about zero energy left. Here’s what I did: sauteed 5 cloves not-so-finely chopped garlic with 1 heaping teaspoon cumin. Threw in 2 (drained) cans of beans and 1 package of frozen (and only partially thawed) spinach. Tossed that around for about a minute (I was ready to shower and sit down!) and then added a full large can (28oz) of Cento San Marzano tomatoes (which I crushed by hand as I added them). Brought to full heat (while I showered!) and then ate with just some grated parmesan on top. Even this ridiculously trimmed down (in terms of effort) version was DELICIOUS! Bonus: I generally have ALL these ingredients on hand, and buy them all at Trader Joe’s (except the garlic and cumin, which I grind from whole in my 2nd coffee grinder–1st one is only for coffee!). I will almost certainly make this again! (haha, and I probably won’t do anything different, other than using even more cumin, cuz it’s about my favorite savory spice.)
    LOVE this kind of endlessly adaptable recipe. Thanks again, Deb! Your recipes rock.

  230. Maria

    If I may suggest a twist, try adding dried and salted cod (desalting before cooking, of course). It’s the typical recipe for lent Fridays in Spain (is it the proper name? The time between Ash Wednesday and eastern, when catholics are not supposed to eat meat on Friday).

  231. Ellen

    Love it — muy español! I put the tomato sauce into the blender with the sautéed items to avoid all the good stuff getting caught in the blades and never getting back into the pan.

    1. Rachel

      I made this with frozen spinach and it was a hit! Great pantry meal you can plan a week or two in advance for these stay-at-home days. Always surprised when simple ingredients make a delicious meal. Thank you!

  232. Emily

    In the hopes that you might see this and suggest soon… It is my husband’s bday tomorrow and I nearly exclusively use you for recipes (even have your books!) I want to make this recipe BUT was wondering if there is a dried fruit that might be a nice addition at the end? He spent some time in Africa and I know he loves how they pair sweet dried fruits in recipes.. I’m making it either way, TIA ;-)

    1. Emily

      so- replying to my odd question above.. (It only seems odd if you are a person outside of my head reading it..) I have a small baby and a toddler -determined to destroy my mental fitness… I am no longer confused.

  233. Dianne B

    I am enjoying this cold as a quick lunch and a friend has taken to doing the same. My lazy version uses canned chickpeas, tomato paste from a tube (always in my fridge) and thus a little more vinegar and water and crushed croutons. Even with my short cuts this is wonderful! Thanks.

  234. Emjay

    Halved the recipe because I’m the only one who likes spinach OR chickpeas (gasp, I know, what kind of heathens do I live with); forgot the vinegar until the very end, but it and some lemon juice took it away. Ate it with some pan-grilled flatbread. Delish. :)

  235. Orly

    Hi Deb, your version of espinacas con garbanzos is almost identical to my late grandmother’s recipe . I’ll be making it tonight for Shabbat dinner. This dish is popular in Israel as well as in it’s country of origin.

  236. Yum! I just made this, used a whole wheat hot dog bun for the bread, otherwise, pretty much as is. It was thick, I had to add quite a bit of water to loosen it up but that worked. One thing that was a bit unclear, it seems like some people added the garlic and olive oil to the breadcrumbs, I thought you should take out the breadcrumbs once they are done and THEN add the last bit of olive oil, with the garlic. Thoughts? I guess it came out fine so not a huge deal. We had it over spaghetti squash.

  237. julie

    I made this with an English muffin, and it was delicious. I also left out the red pepper flakes, used frozen spinach, added a little oregano and some extra paprika, and served it tossed with spaghetti squash. The note about it being a flexible recipe is so true. This is a new addition to our rotation.

  238. Linda Grimes

    I agree, it seems to need more tomato…I kept adding. We liked this, but didn’t love it. It was better the next day. I did use swiss chard, which we love, and next time would tinker with the recipe and perhaps add some anchovy paste and the feta crumble. BTW, did not use the bread, but did serve with Naan on the side.
    Thanks Deb, for giving us more vegetarian/vegan recipes. We’re trying to do almost 100% plant based diet.

  239. Lisa

    I’ve been wanting to make this for forever! I finally decided to try it, but I was too lazy for the food processor, and didn’t want to deal with bread calories. I subbed tomato paste for tomato suace to get the right consistency- and added some adobo instead of chili peppers. Thank you for another quick and easy meal, Deb!

  240. knitmeahamster

    Would this keep in the refrigerator for a day or two? Or would it survive being frozen and reheated? It sounds yummy but I generally only cook for one, so I don’t think I can eat the whole thing at one time. :-) Thanks! Love your website.

    1. Rebecca

      I’m not Deb, but I regularly make this and enjoy the leftovers for several days, heated from the fridge. The flavor is awesome, but the spinach gets darker and less vibrant green because of the vinegar. So, a little less pretty, but still tasty!

  241. dana

    made this last night and loved it! it was a last minute dinner decision with what was in the house so used canned beans and frozen bread (hamburger buns) and it still turned out awesome so I can only imagine how it would be with fresh bread and cooked beans. i did add more spinach and sauce and was hopeful to then have leftovers, but it was all eaten up by two people! thanks for an awesome, easy weeknight meal!

  242. Rebecca Dayton

    I cooked this last night because I’d seen a picture of it on Instagram and it appealed to me, but when I served it I thought, “oh, well, sustenance.” My husband and I were delightfully surprised, however, at how delicious this simple recipe was. I served it with oiled and salted grilled toasts and a dollop of tangy bulgarian yogurt. My husband declared that it would be even better with runny-yolked egg on top, so tonight we ate it like that. It reheated beautifully in a sauté pan with some water. Yummy, yummy, yummy. I will make this again. A thousand times.

  243. lauren

    I don’t know why I’m confused, but I am confused with this one. Fry the bread for about 5 minutes or until golden brown all over, then add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the garlic, cumin and pepper. Add to the browned bread that is frying?
    Then mash the bread to a paste?
    Sorry, but I’m so confused and I really wanted to make this right now for dinner. :)

  244. Bethany j Smith

    I make this for a family meal at least once a month and serve it with brown rice. My kids even love it. I have started using half a 10oz jar of Mina brand harissa in place of the tomato sauce and cannot ever go back. I make this by heart now and keep the basic proportions of spinach and chickpeas but use panko breadcrumbs and the spices and other flavorings liberally. Also plenty of extra olive oil and lemon at the end.

  245. Rebecca

    Just made this delicious and simple recipe again for the umpteenth time, and wanted to share how it’s morphed in my kitchen. I don’t bother with the fried bread crumbs (though it’s wonderful as written, of course!)- instead I add a tablespoon or so of tomato paste, after the garlic, and use a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes instead of the sauce. The paste keeps the sauce from getting watery when you reheat the leftovers, which seems to happen without the bread crumbs. I often make a batch of this to have for lunches through the week. I also often nix the paprika in favor of garum masala, which takes this off in a vaguely Indian direction. It’s so, so good. Thanks for all the yummy lunches!

  246. mamabearflaim

    The first time I made this it was good, but felt it was a little blah. The second time I doubled the garlic and increased all of the spices and it was absolutely delicious! I kept everything else in the recipe and instructions the same.

  247. Laura Green

    All needs met! I had a glut of chickpeas that I’d cooked, so for dinner I made both this recipe and the linked warm butternut squash and chickpea salad, and both were awesome and went really well together. I made various pantry adapations that I won’t bore you with. :-) I can imagine a lot of other uses for the lemon tahini dressing–for example, wouldn’t it be perfect on roasted broccoli?

    1. Laura Green

      Sorry, just to clarify, the lemon tahini dressing is in the linked warm butternut squash and chickpea salad recipe, not in the spinach and garbanzos recipe. But I recommend both!


    About to make this for the 20th time! Perfect for the self quarantine we are all under right now. I skip sauteing the spinach first and just toss in fresh baby spinach when required. It wilts perfectly and saves calories!!

    Everyone be safe, stay hydrated and be grateful!!

  249. Sophie

    Made this for lunch as I am sheltering-at-home and using pantry staples. I cooked the spinach in the same fry pan that I was going to use for the chickpeas (one less pan to wash). And I left the crust on the bread. It needed more moisture so I used the entire 8-oz. can of tomato sauce. And I had Penzeys smoked paprika. So good! It’ll be even better tomorrow morning with a couple of fried eggs on top.

  250. Hannah

    Deb, this was exceptional. I omitted the bread, to make the recipe a bit healthier, but added two caramelized onions, and the texture was perfect. Having no cumin at hand, I replaced it a teaspoon of dried Mediterranean herbs and some extra smoked pepper, and the flavor was on point too. I also reduced the oil to two tablespoons, replacing the rest with vegetable broth, and we all agreed nothing was missing. I can’t believe a recipe so quick and simple could be so multilayered, fragrant, and rich in flavor. My family of three (two omnivores and me, a vegan) devoured this entire recipe with a large salad. This is certainly going into our regular rotation. I wish you had more healthy vegan recipes, as everything of yours I’ve made so far (the farro with tomatoes, both hummus recipes, the stuffed tomatoes, the caponata) was outstanding.

  251. Helen Bellafiore

    I had some loose plans to sauté some kale and zucchini with onions, but remembered this recipe when I was looking to add some protein. I added the chickpeas to the already sautéed veg, subbing kale for spinach, and unfortunately did not have paprika. Served alongside super crispy oven roasted potatoes, this FAR exceeded my expectations. Easy, quick, filling and a healthy dinner to precede my apple crisp. Thanks!

  252. Chelsea

    So good! I would say this can be used as more of a guideline than a specific recipe – I definitely just threw in somewhat close amounts of the ingredients, and it was delicious.

    Highly recommend including the fried bread! I didn’t do the mashing or blending and it still worked out great.

  253. karen marie

    This sounds delicious!

    I’m surprised you cook dried beans in a slow cooker. I got very sick with liquid coming out my bum after eating a big pile of peruvian beans I cooked in the slow cooker and later learned that “it is important that the water reach boiling or 100 degrees Celcius (212 degrees Fahrenheit), since exposing the compound [hemagglutinin] to 80 degrees Celcius (176 degrees Fahrenheit) actually increases its toxicity about five times.”

    Yikes! It was my first time cooking dried beans, and I was gobsmacked. I’d never heard of such a thing.,spontaneously%20within%20a%20few%20hours.

  254. Carol F.

    Just made this yesterday. I did half the recipe. Used canned chickpeas and 12 oz. fresh spinach (only 6 oz. bags available at store, so used 2). I think I may have forgotten to halve the tomato sauce. Whoops. I just used one pot for everything. Wiped out pot after cooking the spinach to do the bread. I cut my bread into very small cubes, that was a bit of a pain to then get browned on all sides. Next time larger cubes. But all turned out delicious. It was late and I was hungry so ended up just eating it plain. Nice to have a meatless option. another Smitten Kitchen success to add to my repertoire. Thank you.

  255. Candice

    I made this for lunch today with panko breadcrumbs bc I didn’t have any bread, a mix of tomato paste/water bc I didn’t have readymade sauce, and cannellini beans bc I didn’t have chickpeas. Topped it with a poached egg and ate it with naan—so quick, simple, and delicious!

  256. I always cooked beans in a pressure cooker, checking the timing from the list in ‘The Bean Book’ and dividing by three. Same excellent results in a fraction of the time, using much less energy. But chickpeas take much the longest time to cook from raw, especially when they’re older, so the tinned variety is hugely convenient.

  257. Gretchen

    Question: is it necessary to sauté the spinach in so much oil, 3 Tbs? That’s a lot? And could you toast the bread in oven? There’s just a lot of oil going on here, but intrigued by the flavors!

    1. deb

      You can probably get away with less, but this is a Spanish recipe and the goal here is to have some olive oil flavor come through. Bread fried in olive oil is a staple in Spain.

      1. karen marie

        HELP! How do I turn off “notify me of follow-up comments by email”?

        I thought I was just going to get notifications of follow-up comments to the comment I left. I just can’t with this.

  258. Cris S.

    I’m SO glad I made this! Usually I’m not a huge fan of chickpeas, but cooked this way (I used two cans of chickpeas) the almost gritty texture of the chickpeas became creamy and the whole dish was wonderful!

    I skipped the bread part and sauteed diced onion instead. Served it the first night to my husband (not a fan of chickpeas) and sometimes picky daughter (who does like some lentil curries). They enjoyed it also.

    Fortunately, they left me the left overs and I’ve had it as a lunch side dish a couple of times, until tonight when I ate the rest for dinner. I put two over easy eggs and a quarter of an onion pan sauteed with curry powder on top, dollop of sour cream (or you could use yogourt) and lashings of hot sauce. SOOOO delicious!!! I’m ready to make it again for tomorrow!

  259. heidipie

    Just checking in to say I adore this dish and make it often. Following what I’ve intuited is the SK philosophy, I wing it, I riff on it, I make it work with whatever I’ve got around. Yesterday it was beet greens that I blanched eight days ago (the beets were eaten at Rosh Hashanah) and Puy lentils from I don’t remember (…oh yeah, Rosh Hashanah also). I never use the bread, which was handy because I only had bagels. I had a nice tomato, so first I daubed some tomato paste into the hot pan after the garlic browned, then I squeezed in all the seeds and juice before dicing and adding the rest of it. It was dandy on leftover yellow rice from… don’t ask. Thanks for being you! Keep on keeping on!

  260. Carol F.

    I made this with canned chick peas (included bread ingredient) and ate it just by itself (I was lazy and hungry). First night it was interesting and good, but not wow. 2nd day I added squirts of lemon which I had forgotten to add. Then the dish was a wow. Definately a repeater. Thank you for the vegetarian dish. I like to try to have one at least a few times a week.

  261. Samantha

    Has anyone tried this using other greens? does it have to be spinach? I’ve got a mix of arugula, and a few types of kale growing in my garden but not spinach right now. I’ve made it as written and it’s delicious

  262. Kate

    I love this recipe and make it all the time. I’ve made it totally faithfully to this recipe, and it’s delicious. I’ve also made it in a variety of “lazy” ways– including using panko instead of bread, using frozen spinach, using canned crushed tomatoes instead of sauce, using lemon juice instead of vinegar because it’s what I had on hand, and completely eyeballing the measurements instead of measuring. And even the lazy ways have all been delicious. It also keeps well in the fridge, so I sometimes make a big batch and take it for lunches throughout the week.

  263. Jennifer

    I made this pretty much to recipe, with one substitution – I used great northern white beans instead of chickpeas. It is fabulous! The flavors are all pretty simple, but it all just comes together beautifully. It’s super simple, and if you have the beans cooked (either canned or pre-cooked yourself) it takes no time to toss together.

  264. Olivia T

    I love this so much and have a couple of shortcuts that I wanted to share. I make this all in one pot. I use a couple of slices of whole wheat sandwich bread. I also just mash the bread and garlic and vinegar in the pot with a potato masher and it works well enough for me. I also use all of a 8 oz can of tomato sauce and prefer that.