As Spaniards would say, this dish is "bueno, bonito y barato," which translates as "good, beautiful and cheap." It couldn’t be more true. Like many other peasant recipes Andalusia, which is a region in Southern Spain, these chickpeas and spinach are a fine example of how to make the most of simple and humble ingredients.
Andalusian-Style Chickpeas and Spinach [Vegan]
- 1 3/4 cup fresh spinach (you can use frozen spinach too)
- 14-ounce can chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- Pinch fresh cayenne pepper (alternatively use any other red chili you like; this is optional anyway)
- 2 slices bread (day-old country loaf preferably)
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar (alternatively red wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Wash the spinach thoroughly and cook in boiling water for three minutes. Drain well and reserve.
- Coat a hot saucepan with olive oil and fry the garlic until golden brown. Reserve.
- Fry the bread in the same oil until golden brown and crunchy. Reserve.
- Use a mortar and pestle to grind the cumin seeds until you get a fine powder. Then incorporate the salt, pepper, cayenne, bread and garlic. Pestle it all together.
- Once you have a paste, loosen it a bit by adding the Sherry vinegar and also a bit of liquid from the can of chickpeas. Mix well and reserve.
- Using always the same saucepan, sauté the spinach for a minute or so before adding the pimenton, the mortar paste and the chickpeas.
- Stir well under a low temperature for five minutes so that all the flavors mix well and come nicely together. If it gets too dry or the consistency is too thick, add some water.
- This is now ready to be served. You can optionally sprinkle some extra pimenton on top or serve with some fried toasts to accompany this food.
Of course you can also use a food processor or even a hand mixer instead of a mortar and pestle, but the mortar and pestle is preferred.