Spinach with Chick Peas and Spices

Fresh spinach has never tasted so bright and fragrant than when briefly braised with subtle spices, tomatoes and nutty chickpeas
By Jenni Muir
Spinach with Chick Peas and Spices
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Effort: easy



  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3 strands saffron
  • 150 g tomatoes
  • 1 small onion or large shallot
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • 200 g spinach leaves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200 g tinned chickpeas
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 crusty bread rolls, (about 80g each)or the same amount of good white bread


1. Put a kettle of water on to boil. In a dry pan, toast the coriander seeds for 1-2 minutes over a moderate heat until fragrant, stirring constantly. Transfer to a mortar or sturdy bowl and repeat with the cumin seeds.

2. Toast the saffron strands for 1 minute in the dry pan, stirring constantly, then transfer to the mortar.

3. Crush the spices to a powder, then cover with 2 tablespoons of hot water from the kettle and leave to infuse.

4. Use a small knife to cut a cross in the base of the tomatoes, then put them in a heat-proof bowl and pour some hot water from the kettle over them. Leave to stand for 1-2 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic finely.

6. Drain the tomatoes, then peel and core them and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into bite-sized pieces.

7. In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and fry for 3 minutes until the onion is translucent.

8. Add the spice liquid, tomatoes and chick peas, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, rinse the spinach and shake it dry. Add to the chick pea mixture in batches, stirring until the spinach wilts and you can fit another batch of leaves in the pan.

10. Cook for 3 minutes, then adjust the seasoning to taste and serve hot or at room temperature with good bread or rolls to mop up the spicy juices.

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