This post is dedicated to the Misiego family, where I first ate this simple and delicious dish 20 years ago, and I still love it. It’s proper cosy, hearty food, without being heavy or fatty.
Protein-packed chickpeas, high in fibre, low in fat, with plenty of zinc, potassium and lots of iron in both the legumes and the barely-cooked spinach.
It is a great emergency meal, (I always have some leaf spinach either in the fridge or freezer) and is so quick to whip up. The 15 minute thing only works if the chickpeas are already cooked, obviously 🙂 I use canned chickpeas. The first time my father in law bumped into me in the supermarket and caught me buying pre-cooked chickpeas, he was horrified! He is a proper Andaluzan live-off-the-land man, and he almost demanded “What are you getting these for woman?!” I felt really naughty. It’s so useful though, and I have some dried ones too for sprouting.
The authentic Spanish dish is a little different but this is how I do it.
- Start by heating your extra virgin olive oil in a pan. Medium heat. Not too much oil, just enough to saute:
- A medium onion and 3-4 garlic cloves , chopped or pressed
- 1-2 pinches of sea salt
When soft add:
- 1 can of drained and rinsed chickpeas
- 1 tablespoon of tomato puree (concentrate)
- 1/3 cup of water
- Leave on heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring until water has almost gone
- Lower heat and add 4 big handfuls of leaf spinach.
- Stir slowly over the low heat until it has wilted down.
- Finally take off the heat add:
- A small glug of extra virgin olive oil (great word)
- a Splash (one capfull for example) of white wine / apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
I add the cumin at the end, even though everyone says you are supposed to saute the flavours out; my mother in law always has, and she is my kitchen mentor so far as mediterranean dishes go.
You can also do this, but in more of a stew, with a vegetable stock, and chopped carrots and potatoes, bayleaf, stirring in the leaves and cumin at the end. It is a bit less scarey for older kids than Just Chickpeas and Leaves.
I cannot express how delicious this is with wholemeal toast droozled with extra virgin olive oil, and tomato (see here for details) And please don’t count how many times olive oil shows up in this one meal. It’s good for you, okay?*
*Extra virgin olive oil has been shown to reduce inflammatory markers in the blood; subsequent pressings (regular olive oil) do not seem to be so beneficial. The extra virgin oil is rich in anti-inflammatory polyphenols- about nine different categories of them! It also contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory nutrients. And that is just the start of it. If you are interested, read up for yourself. For maximum benefits, use unheated.