A delicious winter warmer – Espinacas con Garbanzos - Talking Tapas

A delicious winter warmer – Espinacas con Garbanzos (Chickpeas and Spinach)

This slightly spiced, warm and comforting tapa is firmly rooted on the menus of traditional tapas bars across the south of Spain, and in particular in Sevilla.  This became was one of my weekly staples when living in the city as a student, and has remained a firm favourite ever since!

The use of spinach in Spanish dishes began with the Arab traders who brought it into the country in the 12th century, along with chickpeas from the Middle East. These two ingredients, mixed with the warming cumin and paprika, really make this an ideal dish to have in these cold winter months, and although it is traditionally a tapas dish, I also think it goes beautifully as a side dish with lamb, or even with some good quality sausages! 

Ingredients (to make enough for a medium tapas or a side dish for 4) :

  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 large bag of spinach (or like me you can use chard or greens from the garden!) washed
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp of cumin seeds, lightly crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of hot or sweet paprika (depending on whether you like some spice or not!)
  • 1tsp sherry vinegar
  • 3 small sweet ripe tomatoes diced
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper


  1. Take a large frying pan or skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and then sauté the spinach until wilted, remove to a colander.
  2. Put another drizzle of olive oil in the pan, add the onions and fry gently until softened.
  3. Now add the cumin, garlic and paprika and fry for another minute or two.
  4. Now transfer all the ingredients from the pan, along with the spinach, into a food processor. Add the sherry vinegar and blitz until the spinach is broken down but still has texture (not to a paste).
  5. Tip the chickpeas into the large frying pan along with the diced tomatoes. Fry gently for 30 seconds, then add the ingredients from the food processor back in to the pan.
  6. Warm the spinach and chickpea mixture back through until it is piping hot, and add the salt and a twist of black pepper. 
  7. Transfer to an earthenware dish and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Then serve as a tapa with crusty bread, or as a side dish to some roasted lamb or fried sausages. ¡Delicioso!