When I saw spinach on sale at the grocery store yesterday, I knew immediately what I'd be having for dinner tonight: Spanish Braised Spinach with Chickpeas. This is my very favorite spinach recipe (and I love spinach), and one of my favorite things to eat, period. I'm not going to say it's the most photogenic dish, but it's bursting with flavor, so I hope you'll give it a try. I adapted the recipe from a (omnivorous) cooking magazine that I really enjoy, Fine Cooking. I veganized it and reduced the fat. I know it looks like it has a lot of oil, but I've found that's the least you can use and still get crisp, golden toast (if you don't use enough oil you get dry, burnt toast). For the bread, I just use what I have on hand...anything from sourdough to baguette. I usually just eat this on its own, but I'm sure it would make a good side dish for a protein like tofu or seitan. Bon apetite!
Spanish Braised Spinach With Chickpeas (serves 3 as a main or 6 as a side dish)
20 oz fresh spinach
1 can (15 1/2 oz) of chickpeas, or use cooked
2 tblsp olive oil
6 large cloves garlic
1 cup water
3 slices regular sized bread, or 6 slices of baguette
1 scant tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
2 tblsp vinegar
1 tblsp water
salt and peper
Wash and trim the spinach, and corsely slice. Set aside. Cut three of the garlic cloves in half/thirds, depending on side, and chop the remaining three. In a skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high until quite hot. Put the bread and garlic slices in the hot oil (the oil needs to be hot, or else the bread will just absorb all the oil). Cook until the bread is golden brown, and then flip over. Do the same with the garlic. You want bread that is a deep gold on both sides, and soft garlic. This usually takes 5-6 minutes. Lift the garlic and bread out of the pan.
Put the chopped garlic and the cumin in the pan, and sautee for about 30 seconds. Add the spinach in baches until it is wilted. Add the cup of water and the chickpeas, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, chop the bread into small cubes. Set one slice aside. Mash 2 (or 4) of the slices of bread in a bowl with the garlic, a tablespoon of water, and the vinegar. Add to the chickpeas. Simmer until most of the water is evaporated. Check for seasonings. Sprinkle the remaining bread cubes over the top as a garnish.