Spanish Chickpeas and Greens

Simplicity at its best. It may be just beans and greens, but it has a complex flavor from smoked paprika and aromatics. This Spanish inspired dish can be served tapas style as an appetizer, or along with crusty whole grain bread as a meal.  

The biggest concern I hear from clients is they often feel they lack the time or resources to cook healthy meals. I hear you! Living in downtown Columbia, I know I'm lucky to have a few health food stores within a minutes of my house. Outside of the city, options are much more limited, and finding some of the ingredients I use, like certain whole grain fours or chia seeds, might require some sleuthing. And if you read my blog, you might come to the conclusion that a made from scratch pizza crust or burritos that dirty three pans and a food processor are a requirement for healthy eating. I hate that, because I never want a healthy lifestyle to feel inaccessible.

Sometimes I get a little carried away in the kitchen. Cooking is my stress relief, so preparing a complicated dish doesn't phase me. Give me a glass of wine and a Netflix documentary and I'm good to go! But I know I'm in the minority. For most, cooking is a chore rather than a hobby.

Despite what my fussier recipes might imply, I really do feel the simplest dishes are often the tastiest dishes. So, I'm making a conscious effort to share more quick and easy meals on the blog, starting with this Spanish inspired dish.

No one does simplicity better than the Spanish. If you've been to Spain and tasted their amazing cuisine, then you know what I'm talking about! Some of my favorite food memories were from my trip to Spain. Going from tapas bar to tapas bar tasting their house specialties, I was in heaven! Calamares con allioli...patatas bravas...pimentos de Padron...everything tasted so exotic and complex. But really, I was just eating calamari with fresh mayonnaise, potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce and unbreaded, fried peppers. Nothing with more than a few ingredients. The Spanish method - use high quality, fresh, local ingredients with a couple flavor boosters, like citrus, vinegar and spices. Add copious amounts of olive oil and you've got something spectacular!

This dish is just beans and greens. Sure, you could be fancy pants and call it by it's Spanish name - garbanzos con verduras - but it's still just beans and greens. Yet, it's so much more than that. You'll be amazed out a generous dose of garlic, spices and good olive oil and bring out the flavor in something so simple. The vinegar is seriously crucial! It gives this dish a complex and balanced flavor. Technically, this dish is an appetizer, but I served it as a main. To bulk up the meal, serve it alongside sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled, whole grain bread. Enjoy!

What are your favorite simple meals? Leave your recipe or link in the comments below!

Spanish Chickpeas and Greens

Serves 3-4 as a main

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen. Feel free to use any greens you have on hand. Spinach would also work well, just reduce the cooking time as the more tender green wilts quickly. To save even more time, use prechopped greens. You could also substitute different beans, like cannellini or gigantes.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch chard, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lb dried chickpeas, cooked, or 2 15-ounce cans, drained
  • 1/2 cup tomato puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add kale and cook 3-5 minutes until slightly wilted. Add chard and cook an additional 3-5 minutes, until wilted. Remove greens from pan and set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add panko, cumin and red pepper flakes and toast in skillet, about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove crumbs from pan to a small bowl. Mix in red wine vinegar with a fork, mashing lightly to create a paste.
  3. Place greens and chickpeas back in skillet on medium heat. Stir in tomato sauce and breadcrumb mixture. Cook 2-3 minutes until warmed through. Serve with paprika dusted on top.

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