I was in the mood for vegetarian one day last week, so I peeked into the fridge and found a big bag of fresh spinach. Then I checked my canned goods pantry and found a big can of garbanzo beans in the back. (Probably intended to make hummus with them, but, well, that never happened.)
So, on to the fresh spinach and garbanzos dish I was about to create. What would make that taste good, I thought. How about adding some garlic, onion and tomatoes for some extra flavor, and a little lemon juice for sparkle? This spinach and garbanzos dish was beginning to remind me of some Mediterranean-style foods I’ve enjoyed.
This is what I did to make my spinach and garbanzos dish:
Spinach and Garbanzos Recipe
- 3 lb bag pre-washed spinach
- 1 29-ounce can garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas)
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 Roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. Blood Orange olive oil
- Sea salt
- Fresh lemon juice
Rinse spinach and steam it down in batches with hot water in a frying pan. When cooked, set spinach aside in a colander to drain.
Add olive oil to the same frying pan (it’s okay if some spinach juice remains) and stir fry tomatoes, onions and garlic until liquid is mostly reduced.
Add sea salt to taste. Stir in a drained can of garbanzo beans, and heat until hot all the way through.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop the drained spinach and then add it to the garbanzo mixture. Stir so spinach and garbanzos are well mixed.
Squeeze half a lemon over the entire dish before serving. Garnish the spinach and garbanzos dish with lemon slices – or with a halved boiled egg the way the Spanish do it!
Serve hot, at room temperature, or cold (great for potlucks).
Garbanzos con Espinacas – a traditional Mediterranean recipe
After poking about the Internet, I discovered that this simple spinach and garbanzos dish is an old Mediterranean favorite in Spain, where it is enjoyed frequently as a tapas treat and known as “Garbanzos con Espinacas.”
The combination of spinach and garbanzos is a favorite in parts of the Arab world as well. In fact, the dish probably originates in Spain from Moorish times.
Who knew? I just made up my spinach and garbanzos dish as I went along.
The way I experimented to create my spinach and garbanzo dish is probably how a lot of family recipes get started. Someone is hungry, finds several ingredients in the house, and then creates a dish that everyone likes. Pretty soon, it becomes a staple in the household menu repertoire, and finds its way into the family cookbook!
P.S. This spinach and garbanzo recipe made quite a lot, so I made soup by adding a large can of chicken broth to the leftovers. It will be great on a cool autumn day.