Italian Spinach Tomatoes and Chickpeas

Delicious vegetarian (and healthy) recipe

January 13, 2011 15:12
1 minute read.

Spinach. (photo credit: Courtesy)

This delicious, simple dish can be made with a variety of leaves, like Swiss chard, or fresh hubeza, mustard leaves or kale – if you can get them. This is the short season for “Turkish spinach,” a long-leafed variety with a milder flavor than our regular one. You can find it in the shuk, at some green grocers and at Nitzat Haduvdevan.

Serve it as a vegetarian main dish over polenta, rice or bulgur for complementary protein, or as a side dish. It tastes good cold, and is even better (though not bright green) the next day.

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Makes 4-6 servings

-3⁄4 cup chickpeas
-1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
-5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
-6 canned plum tomatoes, drained, seeded and diced
-5 sage leaves, chopped
-1 kg. spinach or mixed leaves
-11⁄4 tsp. salt
-Black pepper to taste

Soak the chickpeas overnight, drain and cover with 21⁄2 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook covered over low heat till tender. Alternatively, boil chickpeas for 5 minutes, soak 1-2 hours and cook till tender. Do not drain.

Rinse the leaves, remove stems, and separate the leaves from the ribs (if using Swiss chard). Cut the leaves into thick strips, and slice the ribs thinly. You should have about 5 cups.

In a very large frying pan or wide pot, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic and sage over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds, stirring often (do not brown garlic). Add the tomato and cook another minute.

Add the leaves a large bunch at a time, stirring constantly, to allow room for them all. Cook just until the leaves wilt.

Add the chickpeas and any cooking liquid, salt and pepper, and a half cup of water, and cook for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are tender and the liquids at the bottom of the pan have thickened. Sprinkle a few drops of olive oil on top if desired.

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