Andalusian-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew


Nik Sharma

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Andalusian-Style Chickpea and Spinach Stew

This moreish chickpea stew from Andalusia is originally based on Frank Camorra’s recipe that I came across in Gourmet Traveller and fell in love with several years ago. It’s easy to make and one of my favorite cold-weather stews, though I could eat a big bowl anytime. Serve it with thick buttered slices of toasted sourdough or flatbread. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of paprika; it’s necessary to create that gorgeous smoky profile of the stew. 

  • Yield: 4


1 cup/180 g dried chickpeas (See Notes), rinsed

2 qt/1.9 L water

fine sea salt

1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp baking soda

4 Tbsp/55 g unsalted butter

2 garlic cloves, grated and divided

4 Tbsp/60 ml extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup/35 g dry breadcrumbs

1 1/2 Tbsp smoked sweet paprika

1 Tbsp toasted whole cumin (See Notes)

8 oz/230 g frozen spinach, chopped (see Notes)

2 Tbsp sherry vinegar 

fine sea salt

Toasted buttered slices of sourdough to serve (optional)


  1. Soak the dried chickpeas in 4 cups/945 ml of water. Stir in 1 Tbsp fine sea salt and 1/4 tsp baking soda. Leave covered overnight. Discard the soaking water. Transfer the chickpeas to a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 4 cups/945 ml of water, 1 tsp fine sea salt, 1/8 tsp baking soda. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat and then simmer until the chickpeas are tender and completely cooked about 45 minutes. Transfer the chickpeas with the cooking water to a large bowl and keep aside. Wipe the saucepan clean.
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp of the butter in the same saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1 garlic clove and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, followed by the bread crumbs, and cook until they turn golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. 
  3. Add 1 cup of the cooked chickpeas and 1 cup/240 ml of the cooking water to the breadcrumbs. Mash well to form a coarse paste, adding more water if needed. Repeat with another cup of chickpeas and 1 cup/240 ml of the cooking water.
  4. In the same saucepan in which the chickpeas were cooked, melt the remaining butter over medium-high heat and cook until the butter stops crackling and the milk solids turn light reddish brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the remaining garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the paprika and cumin, and cook until fragrant, 30 to 45 seconds. Stir in the spinach, the remaining chickpeas, and the cooking water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes. 
  5. Stir in the mashed chickpeas and continue to simmer until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. If it thickens too much, add a few more Tbsp of water.
  6. Stir in the vinegar, taste, and season with salt if needed. 
  7. Serve warm with toasted bread. Leftovers stay good in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days. 


  • If using canned beans, then drain and use two 15 oz/425 g cans of chickpeas. Use tap water to replace the cooking water.
  • Don’t waste panko breadcrumbs in this recipe; reserve those for breading when you want extra crunchy textures. 
  • Red wine vinegar can be used in place of sherry vinegar
  • If you want fresh baby spinach, use about 1 1/2 lbs/680 g instead of frozen spinach. Chop the spinach add it to the spices, and cook until it reduces and releases most of its liquid. Then, fold in the chickpeas.
  • To toast cumin, make a small batch: Take 1/4 cup of whole cumin seeds and roast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until the seeds start to brown and turn fragrant. Remove and transfer to a plate or bowl to cool. Once cooled completely, grind and store in an airtight container. Use as needed. It will stay good for up to 6 months.

8 Responses

  1. Looks wonderful but sounds complicated. How many pans and bowls are used totally? If canned chickpeas are drained and used how much liquid is used totally [2 or 4 cups]? If frozen spinach is used and added along with remaing cooking of chick pea water, how much liquid is that as canned chickpea liquid has been discarded. And finally when it says yield 4 is that 4 cups of soup or 2 cups of soup for 4 people?
    Thank you for this recipen. Sincerely

    1. Personally I’m going to mash with the 2 cups water as the recipe says then top up with a little more if required. Always easier to add a little more liquid than to reduce it

  2. This was amazing! Made it for dinner tonight and am looking forward to the leftovers.

    Frank’s recipe called for ground cumin, but this recipe didn’t (although it mentioned toasting a larger volume and grinding).

  3. Recette fabuleuse, quel parfum !!! Nous avons appréciés cette belle recette, facile à réaliser, c’est encore meilleur réchauffer, c’était envoutant !
    Cela change des currys et l’ajout d’épinards et bienvenue, à refaire à l’unanimité, si savoureux … Merci Nik

  4. It’s certainly delicious-I used fresh chard from the garden which added no extra liquid but a bit more texture to the greenery .. But goodness what a lot of washing up! Definitely need a pot washer on hand .. Wish I’d doubled the quantity and frozen half – I think it would freeze well. Ate it with freshly made chapatis (transnational delight!)
    Love your recipes… thank you!

  5. Yooooh I came here to shout out this recipe! This stew is a beaut! delicious, hearty, nutritious and simple. I did some questionable things like using regular paprika and pouring out the chickpea water, cos I wasn’t attentive and it still turned out yummy. With warm pita bread and canned spicy sardines, it is perfect. Thanks!!

  6. Delicious review from my 16 year old son to 89 year old (vegan) father. Love the spices, something different but approachable. Easy to cook chickpeas one night and then the rest another day. I only used one pot and one bowl the night I made it.

  7. This is very smoky the first day but balanced and wonderful the second day and the 3rd.

    In step 3, I found it easier to mash the chickpeas before adding that much water.

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