Chickpeas with Spinach, Chorizo, and Smoked Paprika

A traditional tapas from the southern Spanish region of Andalucia, this dish consists of tender stewed chickpeas, delicate wilted spinach, and bold North African-influenced spices. For the flavor backbone, the Spanish classics of saffron, garlic, smoked paprika and cumin are utilized.

Traditional addition of chorizo adds meaty richness, while curly-leafed spinach is the best choice for its sturdy texture in this brothy dish. That being said, we were unable to source curly-leafed spinach and had to go with baby spinach—not the best option, but it still worked.

Including the chickpeas’ flavorful, starchy canning liquid helps to give the dish more body. The picada is a traditional cooking thickener in Spain. This bread crumb-based mixture gives the stewed beans and greens just the right velvety texture and flavor boost.

It is good served over rice or with good crusty bread to sop up the flavorful broth. We just served it with a side salad.

Chickpeas with Spinach, Chorizo, and Smoked Paprika

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 oz. curly-leaf spinach, stemmed
  • 3 oz. Spanish-style chorizo sausage, chopped fine
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 Tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 (15-oz.) cans chickpeas
  • 1 recipe Picada (recipe follows)
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar


  1. Combine 2 Tbsp. boiling water and saffron in small bowl and let steep for 5 minutes.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add spinach and 2 tablespoons water, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted but still bright green, about 1 minute. Transfer spinach to colander and gently press to release liquid. Transfer spinach to cutting board and chop coarse. Return to colander and press again.
  3. Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in now-empty pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, paprika, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in chickpeas and their liquid, 1 cup water, and saffron mixture and bring to simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chickpeas are tender and liquid has thickened slightly, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Off heat, stir in picada (recipe below), spinach, and vinegar and let sit until heated through, about 2 minutes. Adjust sauce consistency with hot water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.


  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • Pinch pepper


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 F. Pulse almonds in food processor to fine crumbs, about 20 pulses.
  2. Add bread, oil, salt, and pepper and pulse bread to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses.
  3. Spread mixture evenly in rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring often, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. (Picada can be stored in airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Recipe from The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook by America’s test Kitchen


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