Espinacas con Garbanzos: Spain’s Delicious, RA-Friendly Dish

Patient Expert

For much of June 2018, I traveled Spain, a country I’d never visited before. My wife and I flew into Barcelona for a few nights, then rented a car and traveled south for a week, stopping in places like Grenada and Sevilla. After that we ventured into the Moroccan mountains, then found ourselves on the island of Menorca out in the Mediterranean.

We loved to see the complex history of the country, preserved by destinations like the Alhambra and Sagrada Familia. We enjoyed breathtaking views from the skyline of Barcelona, to the Rif mountains of Morocco, to the crystal-clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea.

One of the most enjoyable ways we were able to familiarize ourselves with the culture however, was through food. Each night, my wife and I endeavored to try something new, and most importantly, something that we would be hard-pressed to find in the United States. Sometimes we’d walk a town for over an hour, looking at various menus. If we weren’t sold, we’d stop in a bar, cool down with a drink, then continue our quest.

I was intrigued by Spanish, and particularly Mediterranean, cuisine for its abundance of seafood, and RA-friendly ingredients. We ate a variety of fish, crustaceans, and shellfish. We also had our share of various cold cuts and delicious local cheeses. One night in Sevilla, however, we had a simple dish called espinacas con garbanzos (Spanish spinach and chick peas) and we loved it so much that we made it ourselves the night of our return home. I want to encourage all of you to try it for a few reasons.

  1. It’s delicious, and can serve as a great side dish or your main course.
  2. It’s very easy to make with little prep and few ingredients.
  3. All the ingredients are RA-friendly!

Here’s how to make espinacas con garbanzos!

Espinacas con garbanzos
Espinacas con garbanzos
Emil DeAndreis


  • 1 can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained
  • 1 large bag fresh spinach, washed
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Ground cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  • Paprika


  1. Coat a large saucepan with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil and heat to medium high.
  2. Add the spinach (in batches if necessary, adding some water to expedite wilting).
  3. Sauté the spinach until wilted.
  4. Add the chopped garlic, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper and sauté for a couple of minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and turning brown.
  5. Add your garbanzo beans and tomato sauce.
  6. Stir gently until the chickpeas are fully coated by the sauce.
  7. Cook on medium and stir until liquid is cooked out.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and paprika.

Recipe inspired by: Spanish Sabores.

I will say, my wife and I were pretty liberal with the cumin, and other spices, and we did not regret it, so don’t feel married to the measurements there. We also left out a couple of ingredients from this recipe because they were not in the original dish we had in Spain.

Hope you enjoy this delicious, RA-friendly Spanish dish!