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garbanzos con espinacas

“Garbonzos con espinacas” (chickpeas with spinach) is a healthy dish popular in Sevilla, Spain and can be eaten alone or as a side dish or tapa. It uses ingredients commonly found in the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, fish, and uses olive oil as the main source of fat. Lower rates of heart disease and cancer are no-doubt connected to a diet so packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber!

olive oilOlive Oil: While there is no difference in calories from 1 tsp of butter and 1 tsp olive oil, their effects on your body are COMPLETELY different. Butter, solid animal fats, and the fat found in many processed junk foods are saturated fats, which are bad because they will raise your cholesterol, and this effect is heightened in combination with an unhealthy overall diet high in simple sugars. Olive oil is a monounsaturated fat which has one double bond and is liquid at room temperature. It is one of the two types of fats (the other is omega-3) that are actually beneficial and heart-healthy. Olive oil also has antioxidants and other beneficial plant-derived compounds. (Read more about choosing healthy fats)


Saffron: An exotic spice highly valued for its color, flavor, and medicinal properties. It has vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidant properties. Just a pinch can give rich flavor and color to an entire dish. It is used widely in Spanish cuisine in dishes like saffron rice and paellas. Studies suggest saffron combats depression, helps maintain memory and cognitive functioning, protects the liver, reduces risk of cancer, helps prevent/treat macular degeneration, and promotes good eyesight!



(Serves 4-5 people)

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp minced/chopped garlic
  • 1 can chopped/diced tomatoes
  • 2 tsp pimentón (Spanish paprika)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • 1 tsp crushed peppercorn
  • 2 cans cooked chickpeas plus liquid
  • 1 lb washed baby spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper



In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for 5 minutes. Add the spices- pimentón, cumin, cayenne, and cloves.

In a small bowl, add saffron and peppercorns together and dissolve in 3 tbsp of water, which should turn bright yellow. Add to the saucepan with 2 cans of chickpeas. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add spinach – at first it will seem like you are adding a TON of fresh spinach, but it wilts down drastically when it cooks. I first added half the pound and waited until it’s wilted to add the other half. Simmer for about 10 more minutes and add pepper and salt if necessary.

so much spinach simmer

You can either serve this alone or with a side dish- I made saffron quinoa with balsamic mushrooms and bell peppers to pair it with. Another idea is a healthy toasted bread (my favorite is Ezekiel Flax Sprouted Whole Grain Bread).


4 thoughts on “Garbanzos con Espinacas

  1. […] Monounsaturated fat has one double bond, so it is liquid at room temperature but may become cloudy in the fridge. It is most commonly found in olive oil, avocado, canola oil, and nuts. Studies have shown that monounsaturated fat raises HDL (good cholesterol) without affecting LDL (bad cholesterol), so it reduces risk of heart disease. It is also beneficial for type II diabetes patients because it may improve glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Olive oil and other plant sources also are loaded with antioxidants and healthy plant-based compounds (phytonutrients) that contribute to overall health. Monounsaturated fats are prevalent in the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet (see: Garbonzos con espinacas ) […]

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