Weeknight Cooking

Moro's Chickpeas and Spinach (Garbanzos con Espinacas)

April 20, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This is your dinner-maker. Sam and Sam Clark use it to marry chickpeas and spinach, but it could just as easily be lentils and mushrooms, roast chicken and leeks, broccoli rabe and penne. You could have instead toasted up the bread with whatever flavors you're interested in tonight: fennel seeds or fresh thyme or coriander or mustard. Deb Perelman's version on Smitten Kitchen had tomato sauce, and now she won't make bread sauce without it. It's a slot machine dinner with smushed bread crumbs as the wildcard. Adapted slightly from Moro: The Cookbook (Ebury Press, 2003). —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) chickpeas, soaked overnight with a pinch of baking soda, or two 400-gram cans of chickpeas, rinsed
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 500 grams (18 ounces) spinach, washed
  • 75 grams (3 ounces) white bread (about two 1/2-inch slices), crusts removed, cut into small cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds,
  • 1 small bunch fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 1 small dried red chile, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons good-quality red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch saffron (about 60 strands), infused in 4 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  1. If using canned chickpeas, proceed to step 2. Otherwise, drain the dried, soaked chickpeas in a colander, rinse under cold water, then place in a large saucepan. Fill with 8 cups cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook 1 to 2 hours, or until tender, skimming of scum as necessary. Remove from heat, drain water until level with the chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add half the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the spinach with a large pinch of salt. Do this in batches if necessary. Stir well—remove when the leaves are just wilted, drain in a colander, and set aside.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Toast the bread until golden all over, then add the garlic, cumin, oregano, and chile, and cook 1 minute more, until the garlic is nutty brown. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or a food processor along with the vinegar, and mash to a paste. Return the bread mixture to the pan along with the drained chickpeas and saffron-infused water. Stir until the chickpeas are hot and have absorbed the flavors of the bread mix and saffron water. Season with salt and pepper. If the consistency is a little thick, add a little water. Add in the spinach and cook until heated through. Serve sprinkled with paprika and with fried bread on the side.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Dawn DeSimone
    Dawn DeSimone
  • gingerroot
  • Anna Fiore
    Anna Fiore
  • Dejan Knezevic
    Dejan Knezevic
  • AJD8129
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

8 Reviews

Jon November 5, 2022
I’ve made this a few times and it’s always a crowd pleaser!
Dawn D. May 18, 2020
Question: can I use a hearty white bread like a sourdough or Italian? I don’t normally have regular white bread.
gingerroot August 13, 2019
Really just perfect! Reminded me of all my favorite flavors from our spring break trip to Spain. Only change is I subbed swiss chard because that is what I had on hand.
Sara H. May 16, 2018
Amazingly good.
Anna F. October 15, 2017
So good! Surprisingly delicious for being so healthy. A hidden gem of a recipe here on Food52
Dejan K. September 4, 2017
Thank you sooooo much. I made it once long time ago in Granada but I forgot this recipe, exactly this procedure and it took me long time to find it. This is just fantastic. Thank you
Beth December 8, 2016
Thanks for the great recipe! I was thinking I may make this without the spinach, which I would add when I reheat it. Only because I make food in advance for busy life.
AJD8129 December 7, 2015
YUM! I started this adventure with a 2.5LB bag of spinach in my fridge and a sad container of aging whole wheat English muffins on the counter. I ended up with a totally delicious meal and a respectable dent in the spinach. I might double the ground toasted bread component next time, cooking half with the chickpeas as in the recipe and saving the rest to mix in to the final product while still crunchy. So good!