Skillet Chickpeas with Spinach and Tomatoes

chickpeas, tomatoes, spinach, and sautéed onions in a skillet

Some recipes on this site are shiny new things that I couldn’t wait to share, while others are special-occasion favorites that hit my table maybe once a year. And then there are recipes that have been in my life for years, like a familiar old friend. Skillet Chickpeas with Spinach and Tomatoes is one of those.

Chickpeas, spinach, and tomatoes are three of my favorite ingredients/life partners and they all play stunning, delicious roles in this recipe. Supporting stars like garlic, turmeric, and lemon complement the mains, while the direction of a one-skillet vegetarian meal brings it all together. Plus, this recipe takes less than 20 minutes and uses pantry staples that you probably have right now. I often made it in college because it only uses one can, one skillet, and comes together quickly between bouts of study marathons. Served with a dollop of creamy yogurt, a ribbon of shimmering olive oil, and a slice of warm pita, it’s the tastiest stress-reliever a college senior — now a 20-something busy New Yorker — could imagine.

Oh, and if you’re cooking for one, it yields plenty of leftovers that just get better over time. Because the only thing better than eating this meal is re-heating it: The ease of it all feels like cheating and getting away with it.

Let’s make chickpeas with spinach and tomatoes

Heat a large skillet on medium. Once hot, add 4 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and starts to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute more.

chickpeas and sautéed onions in a skillet

Add turmeric and red pepper flakes and toast for about 30 seconds, then add chickpeas and season with salt, pepper, and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas start to turn golden-brown, 5 to 7 minutes. If the pan ever looks dry, add more olive oil, or a splash of water if anything starts sticking.

chickpeas, tomatoes, and sautéed onions in a skillet

Add the diced tomatoes, another pinch of salt, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until some of the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes.

Off heat, add the spinach, seasoning with more salt. Stir until just wilted. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, or pepper if necessary.

scooping up chickpeas, spinach, tomatoes, and yogurt with a piece of bread

Divide among bowls and top with chopped fresh herbs, yogurt, and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Serve toasted pita alongside.

More easy vegetarian recipes

Skillet Chickpeas with Spinach and Tomatoes

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
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Dinner; Lunch American
By Samantha Serves: 2
Prep Time: 10 Cooking Time: 15 Total Time: 25

Put together a few pantry ingredients (plus a healthy squeeze of lemon) and you've got a fast, healthy, vegetarian dinner tonight. Serve with a slice of warm flatbread or rice for soaking up every last bite.

Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2.5 oz baby spinach or kale (half of a 5 oz box)
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, for serving
  • Yogurt or sour cream, for serving
  • Toasted pita or other flatbread, for serving

Instructions

1

Heat a large skillet on medium. Once hot, add 4 Tbsp olive oil. Add onion and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and starts to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until softened and fragrant, about 1 minute more.

2

Add turmeric and red pepper flakes and toast for about 30 seconds, then add chickpeas and season with salt, pepper, and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chickpeas start to turn golden-brown, 5 to 7 minutes. If the pan ever looks dry, add more olive oil, or a splash of water if anything starts sticking.

3

Add the diced tomatoes, another pinch of salt, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cook until some of the liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Off heat, add the spinach, seasoning with more salt. Stir until just wilted. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice, salt, or pepper if necessary.

4

Divide among bowls and top with chopped fresh herbs, yogurt, and a drizzle of olive oil if desired. Serve toasted pita alongside.

Nutrition

  • 768 Calories
  • 82g Carbohydrates
  • 43g Fat
  • 22g Fiber
  • 22g Protein
  • 6g Saturated fat
  • 1360mg Sodium
  • 16g Sugar

Notes

If you'd like something more like a stew, don't cook the tomatoes for very long. If you'd like something thicker that's best served over rice, cook the tomatoes until most of their water evaporates and the bottom of the pan starts to get dry, 5-10 minutes. This is wonderful with a bit of curry powder added if you like it. This would be fantastic with a light-to-medium bodied red, like a Pinot Noir from Oregon (aka my favorite type of wine).


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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Henry
    February 26, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    This is as easy as it is delicious! First time I’ve managed to get my 14-year-old to try chickpeas- incredible.

  • Reply
    Shala McCarthy
    April 19, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    I made this and added cinnamon – it was fantastic! Especially the leftovers the next day.

    • Reply
      Samantha
      April 25, 2019 at 6:20 am

      Thanks! LOVE the addition of cinnamon- I will have to try that.

  • Reply
    Halya Kuchmij
    April 14, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Can you make it in a slow cooker?

    • Reply
      Samantha
      April 15, 2021 at 7:24 am

      Hi Halya,

      I would not make this in the slow cooker, as the chickpeas might overcook. However, if you wanted to use dried chickpeas instead of canned, you could add the dried chickpeas to the slow cooker, along with all of the other ingredients (except tomatoes, spinach, lemon, and garnishes), plus water (use a ratio of 7 cups water per 1 pound dried chickpeas) and cook on high heat for 4 hours, or low heat for 8 hours, until chickpeas are tender. Drain the chickpeas, add them back to the slow cooker along with tomatoes and spinach, and cook on high heat for another hour or so, until the spinach is wilted. Finish it off with the lemon juice and serve with garnishes. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Anne
    December 29, 2022 at 12:39 pm

    This is a regular weeknight staple in our house: cheap ingredients, easy assembly, healthy, and yet–WOW! It’s flavorful and satisfying!

    • Reply
      Samantha
      January 3, 2023 at 6:13 am

      That is so wonderful to hear, thanks Anne!

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