Spinach and Chickpeas

by Susan on October 23, 2011

Every meal deserves a side of greens, whether it be a simple arugula salad or something more complex, like this dish (which I make with kale so often these days, it’s almost embarrassing). Greens supply crunch and acid. They complement any protein  – whether it be pork, beef, fish, or poultry. No matter how much you amp them up with flavor – sweet, spicy, smoky, salty – they never overpower anything else on the plate. And, they don’t need a lot of fatty ingredients to be rich and decadent. Their only downside? They get stuck in your teeth.

I am always on the search for new green-centric dishes and when I stumbled across this Spanish-inspired one on Smitten, I literally had to make it that night. It checked all my boxes: healthy and easy with a respectable list of spices.

It’s really, really good. It’s hearty and packed with the warmth of smoked paprika and cumin. It’s exotic enough to interest those who aren’t normally tempted by greens and delicious enough to impress anyone who can’t get enough of them. It’s a keeper.

Spinach and Chickpeas
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Note: I might top this with a handful of homemade breadcrumbs and also consider serving it as a appetizer on bread toasts.

1 15-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tablespoon olive oil
12 oz – 1 lb spinach, washed
1/2 – 3/4 cup tomato sauce
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (I used hot)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste

Place a large saucepan over medium heat 2 tablespoons 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. Cook chickpeas, tomato sauce, paprika, garlic, cumin and pepper. Stir until the chickpeas have absorbed the flavors and are hot. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the spinach and cook until it is hot. Check for seasoning, squeeze in some lemon juice, and serve as a side or as an appetizer on bread toasts.

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