Spanish chickpea & spinach stew (tapas dish)

Think Spanish, think tapas, right?

Here’s a dish that works as a wonderful addition to any smorgasboard of Spanish tapas dishes, or as a light meal in its own right. I love this one as the centrepiece of a Friday morning brunch when I’ve unloaded the market haul for the week, and freshly baked bread is in tow. What better to drench a piece of crusty, fresh bread with than a saucy stew that’s so healthy and hearty you’ll be smiling from your very soul 😀

Here’s how to pull together a quick nutritious kick that will make your belly smile…

Flavour: Earthy

Serves: 2 as a main meal, or 4-6 as tapas


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • half teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 medium tomatoes – peeled and roughly chopped (see here for my tomato-peeling hack)
  • 1 cup chickpeas (see here for how to prepare chickpeas from scratch – I strongly recommend the effort over buying canned goods)
  • 100g baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • half teaspoon salt – add more to taste if you like it salty
  • half teaspoon sugar – I use rapadura or palm sugar, but raw cane sugar would do just fine
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Generous grind of black pepper – to your own taste


  1. Finely slice your onion, and sautee it in a medium-sized frying pan on a high heat with the olive oil until it turns translucent
    • Amateur tip: caramelised onions would take this dish to the next level, so if you want to do that, check out my take on caramelised onions here
  2. Turn the heat on your onions down to medium and add half of the salt – sautee until slightly browned
  3. Mince your garlic, and stir it into your onions with the cumin seeds – cook for one more minute
    • Amateur tip: see here for how to mince your garlic to a fine paste – it’s so simple, you’ll never go back to chunky chopped garlic!
  4. Toss in your chopped tomatoes, stir through, and add the paprika, sugar, and the rest of the salt – return to high heat
    • Amateur tip: for a nice, smooth, but chunky sauce, you’ll want to peel those tomatoes first – worth the extra mile, and easier than you might think
  5. Pop in your chickpeas, add a cup of water, stir, and continue to cook on high for 5 more minutes
  6. Reduce heat to medium, toss in the spinach, stir, and continue to cook for 5 more minutes on medium
  7. Reduce heat to low, and cook until the liquid reduces and you’re left with a thick, hearty stew (shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes)
  8. Serve straight away with fresh, crusty bread or piping hot, fresh flatbread – you’re welcome! 😀

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