Life’s a Feast: Vegan Spanish chickpeas with spinach


This is my take on ‘garbanzos con espinacas’, otherwise known as chickpeas with spinach. This somewhat unattractive dish is often touted as ‘vegan comfort food’.

It has a rather strange combination of fried bread, bashed together with lashings of paprika, roasted garlic bulbs, cumin and vinegar. Veganism has become more and more popular over the years, and the number of products in our supermarkets is growing.

With certain food groups excluded in a vegan diet, micronutrients of special concern for vegans are Vit B-12, calcium and of course omega 3. Enjoy this morerish delight.

PREP TIME: 10 mins

COOK TIME: 10 mins

SERVES: 4 people


1 bulb garlic

1 French baguette

1/4 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 teaspoon cumin

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

500g fresh spinach

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper


1.Pre-heat your oven to 200degC. Slice the tail off the garlic to expose the cloves. Sit in a piece of tinfoil, drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt. Close up the tinfoil and place in oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes until the garlic slightly browns and the cloves soften.

2.Meanwhile, slice your baguette into approximately 1.5cm slices. Pour the oil into large pan and fry 3 slices of the baguette until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towel but leave the oil in the pan to use later.

3.Wash the spinach and blanch in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes until wilted. Drain well. Set aside.

4.Once the garlic is cooked, squeeze out into a pestle and mortar. Add in the fried bread, lemon juice, vinegar and generous sprinkling of salt and grind into a paste.

5.Re-heat the oil to a medium heat and add in the paprikas, cayenne if using, and cumin, and stir until aromatic. Add in the bread and garlic paste and chickpeas, and saute ensuring all the chickpeas are evenly coated in the spices and paste. Taste and add in salt as necessary.

6.Mix in the spinach, stirring so that it gets distributed throughout the chickpeas.

7.Serve with slices of baguette (fried, toasted or normal), a light drizzle of fresh olive oil and a sprinkle of paprika.