This morning as I was cooking breakfast, I glanced at the clock above the stove which read 10:52 and I grunted and grumbled about waking up so late. But as I stirred the delicious pot of espinacas con garbanzos in front of me, I realized that our meal didn’t need be a sad and belated breakfast, a meal which derails all other meals from taking place at reasonable times; instead, our meal could wear a respectable and worthy title like BRUNCH and all would be well! Our eating schedule for the rest of the day would remain unsabotaged because we’d do classy things like have afternoon tea with a snack when we get hungry at what would normally be an annoying and awkward time. So a
noon-o’clock brunch it was!
I’m not sure that normal people eat spinach and chickpeas for breakfast. Or brunch. This is more of a tapa or dinner dish in Spain where it originates, but as you know, I like weird breakfasts. Normal people eat their espinacas con garbanzos with bread, toasted or fried with olive oil–it’s decadent and so incredibly satisfying with a whole-grain bread fried in fruity olive oil. But grain-averse people (who are, uh, me) choose instead to pair the spinach and chickpeas with a peppery poached egg and a little drizzle of olive oil, because WHY NOT. I like it with bread, I like it with an egg, and I like it all by itself in a little soup cup. I’ve made this dish many times–it’s always different, and it’s always delicious. Sometimes it’s more garbanzos con espinacas than espinacas con garbanzos; sometimes it’s spicier, sometimes it’s vinegarier–you get it. It’s always good. I’m convinced there’s no wrong way.
When we finished our humble yet awesome and decidely brunchy meal of spinach and chickpeas, the mood struck me suddenly for a tiny dessert. With zeal, I summoned the immersion blender from its awkward resting place on top of the refrigerator. After all, I thought, what respectable brunch would be complete without something lovely and sippable and just a little fancy? Not ours, to be sure. My mind leapt straight to the succulent fresh peaches we picked up from the farmers market a couple days ago. I cut one up, dropped the slices into a cup of plain yogurt, added a coin of fresh ginger and some honey, and blended it smooth. It was a little sweet, a little spicy, tangy and tart and totally delicious. Simple and so (so) good. That’s my jam, y’all.
And as the divine nectar tickled my tastebuds, I realized I had a dilemma–what am I going to call this thing? It’s not a milkshake–those have ice cream and too much sugar and are so cold your esophagus turns into a numb and lifeless tube of suffering while you drink them. This yogurty non-shake is creamy, cool, flavorful, and full of fruit enzymes and live probiotics. Most people would probably see the ingredients and preparation and call it a SMOOTHIE, but that’s a word so heinously ridiculous I can barely bring myself to utter it, even in writing. So I made up a name of my own! I call it a yogurt shot. Short and sweet yogurt shots for two! Doesn’t it sound like fun? It definitely is. (Although, if you want, you can still call it a smoothie and I promise I won’t judge you.)
Whatever you decide to call your drinkable dessert, and at whatever point in the day you decide to eat your Espinacas con Garbanzos, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Let me know if you give ’em a try!
Espinacas con Garbanzos (Spinach with Chickpeas)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or ground dried chilies
1/2 cup of tomato sauce (or canned diced tomatoes–the fire roasted ones are perfect here)
big bunch spinach (about one pound is perfect. I used a 10 ounce bag of frozen this time)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (drained)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (optional–I sometimes leave this out and opt for a big splash of lemon juice)
salt and lemon juice, to taste
Pour olive oil in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, toss in the onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook for a minute or two.
Sprinkle in the smoked paprika, cumin, and red pepper flakes, and stir to coat the onions and garlic. Add the tomato and red wine vinegar, if using, and scrape any browned bits that might have collected on the bottom of the pan. Yum.
- If using frozen spinach, add it to the mix. I poured the contents of on bag right into the skillet, added a few tablespoons of filtered water, and then covered the skillet to steam the spinach for a couple minutes before adding the chickpeas. When spinach is hot, add the chickpeas. If mixture seems dry, add a little water. Let the chickpeas simmer with the spicy spinach for a few minutes.
- If using fresh spinach, toss it in after simmering the chickpeas for a bit with the onions and spices. When chickpeas are hot and flavorful, add a big handful of spinach leaves at a time, stirring between each, and cook just until spinach is hot.
When the spinach-chickpea (or chickpea-spinach) mixture is hot, hit it with a splash of lemon and another sprinkle of paprika, if desired, and season with salt.
Serve with fried bread, an egg, or warm rice.
Ginger Peach Yogurt Shots
This makes two fun-sized shots, or one small meal-sized megashot.
1 cup of plain, unsweetened yogurt (I used a drinkable yogurt, but any will work)
1 peach, roughly sliced
1-inch knob of ginger (or more, depending on how spicy you want it)
2-3 teaspoons honey, or to taste
Combine all ingredients and blend till smooth. Rejoice in the mindblowing simplicity of it all. Drink, smile, feel really chuffed, then let me know how you liked it!