Chickpea and Spinach Stew

Chickpea and Spinach Stew

I got home early the other day (after a pre-dawn start to do Canada AM!) and sat on the living room floor, goofing around with Julian and watched Oprah. Luxury! It was her Vegan Challenge episode, did you see it? Michael Pollan and Kathy Freston were on discussing North Americans’ over dependence of meat and meat products in and the insane consequences for our health and the environment. They also got a very rare look inside a major US slaughter house. If you’ve never seen it – and most people haven’t – and you eat meat, you really should. Cargill – the slaughter house they showed – is one of the best and they follow the most humane practices and yet it’s still hard to watch. (Hang in there, this is going to end with a recipe you’ll want. I swear.)


photo by Maya Visnyei

I think I’ve mentioned before that I grew up on a small farm and was naive for many years about the realities of commercial farming. It’s so important to me to know where our meat comes from, what the animals are fed, how they’re treated and slaughtered. We eat meat but we pay more to buy better quality meat we can feel good about. But I’m also constantly trying to come up with meatless meals. I hate the idea that it doesn’t feel like a meal unless there’s meat on the plate, you know? I was glad that I’d already planned a chickpea stew for that night’s dinner! This is a meal that Ben makes regularly and I’ve often thought the kids were more open to it because it’s dad’s dinner. But lo and behold, they ate my version, too! It’s really easy, delicious and tastes even better the next day.

Chickpea and Spinach Stew


  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 3-inch piece of ginger, grated or minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 or 3 big handfuls of baby spinach, washed and stems trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounc can of chickpeas
  • 1 cup water
  • pinch of salt


Sautee onions and pinch of salt in oil until they  are quite soft - maybe 10 minutes. Don't let them brown.

Add garlic and ginger and stir for about a minute or two.

Add spices, stir and cook for another minute

Add chickpeas and tomatoes.

Use the back of a spoon to break up the tomatoes.

Add the water and bring to a boil.

Add the spinach and reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes.

I love this stew served over brown basmati rice and a little dollop of plain yogurt on top. It’s also good with grilled naan bread. I like that, too, but we don’t seem to be able to make it without setting off the fire alarm.

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  1. Louise
    February 03, 07:29 Reply

    Thanks for the recipe. My son is a vegetarian for the exact reasons that you site in this article. Last year I watched FOOD INC. and was astounded and horrified on how our food/meat is produced. I have been trying to find local, free range, grass fed beef, chicken and pork. Not easy to find and expensive. My son will be home this weekend for two months and this recipe is going on the menu for sure!

  2. Ceri Marsh
    February 03, 07:33 Reply

    I’m so glad! Where do you live? I agree – it’s not always easy to find the food we’d be more comfortable serving. Particularly at some of the big grocery stores. I confess I’ve been putting off seeing Food Inc as I’m sure it’s traumatizing. But I’m going to make myself.
    Let me know what your family thinks of this dish – I hope it’s a hit! And we’ll keep the vegetarian options coming!
    Thank so much for getting in touch,

  3. Natalee
    February 03, 07:50 Reply

    I’ll definitelt try this it looks delish. A friend of mine who worked at a ver good butcher shop in Calgary once told me that knowing what he knows now about the industry he would only get his meat from a proper butcher or from Costco. I guess they have good practises at Costco.We later met anotehr butcher who said the same thing.

  4. Dianne
    February 03, 09:32 Reply

    I made a spinach, potato, chickpea casserole earlier this week. I think I’ll add the tomaotes and the spices you have listed here to the leftovers and have a similar stew. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Vanessa
    February 03, 16:01 Reply

    Looks delicious AND gluten- egg- and (sans yogurt) dairy-free. Basically, the perfect meal for just about any dietary issue!

  6. Ceri Marsh
    February 03, 17:28 Reply

    Hmmm…. looks like need to do some more vegetarian recipes. So good to get your feedback, guys!

  7. boo
    February 04, 12:26 Reply

    Nice…how would it work without garlic? I can’t stand garlic.

  8. Ceri Marsh
    February 04, 15:30 Reply

    Hi Boo,
    I can’t imagine a life without garlic! But I’m sure the recipe would be fine without it – the ginger is more dominant in the recipe anyway. Let me know how it goes!

  9. Natalee
    February 04, 20:42 Reply

    I’m provegetarian recipes but maybe also some without tomatoes because I have a few friends I love who have tomato allergies and I cook with tomatoes all the time so I am often at a loss. Hmm do I still have a Moosewood cookbook?

  10. lp
    February 06, 22:12 Reply

    Hey Natalee, I’m on a elimination diet right now (which means no tomatoes) so I had the same question. I just made this with 1 medium eggplant, cubed, and 1/2 tsp of curry powder instead of the tomatoes and it was pretty good!

  11. Regan
    February 08, 13:57 Reply

    Love this recipe. So easy to make (I cooked it while cooking a roast chicken dinner), so yummy, healthy and perfect for lunch. I added peas for additional veggies. And mango chutney on the side for a hint of sweetness. You could add any veggie to this – swap chickpeas for potatoes/sweet potatoes.

  12. Lisa
    October 07, 09:55 Reply

    Just made a big batch so I’ve got healthy suppers for the week. Added extra cherry tomatoes, 4 tbsps red lentils and chilli flakes and chilli powder. Going to serve with a chunk of crusty bread 🙂

  13. Ceri Marsh
    October 07, 10:08 Reply

    Yum! Adding lentils is a great idea, Lisa. Hope your crew loves it!

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