This chickpea and spinach stew is based off of the garbanzos con espinacas that I used to make with Chef John Critchley over at Toro in Boston. It's about as classic a Spanish bar snack as there ever was and you'll find it all over Spain flavored with everything from smoky chorizo and rich morcilla (blood sausage) to simpler preparations served with nothing but a spritz of bright vinaigre de Jerez.
This vegan version, which ends up somewhere between a soup and a stew, relies on canned chickpeas and their liquid for body, but giving them a bit of a simmer with some aromatics—garlic, onion, bay leaf, and smoked paprika—adds a ton of flavor back to them. The unique part is the bit of ginger added into the pureed tomatoes. It's not enough to make itself obvious, but just enough to add a bit of complex heat to the saucy backbone of the dish.
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 1-inch knob ginger, peeled
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for serving)
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
- 1 teaspoon sweet or hot smoked paprika
- 12 ounces fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 2 (14-ounce) cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- Kosher salt
- Sherry vinegar for serving (optional)
Drain tomatoes in a metal strainer set over a medium bowl. Transfer liquid and half of tomatoes to a blender along with ginger. Blend on high speed until completely pureed. Set aside. Roughly chop remaining peeled tomatoes and set aside separately.
Heat olive oil in a large straight-sided skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, and paprika, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and very slightly browned. Add tomato-ginger puree (it should immediately start simmering) and stir to combine. Add spinach a handful at a time, allowing each handful to wilt before adding the next. Reduce heat to medium and allow spinach mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, until spinach is completely tender, about 10 minutes.
Add chopped tomatoes, garbanzo beans (with their liquid) bay leaves, and soy sauce, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened into a thick stew, about 30 minutes total.
Season to taste with kosher salt and serve immediately, drizzling with extra virgin olive oil and a a few drops of sherry vinegar.