spinach & chickpea salad

This recipe is from a Greek cooking magazine that came with a newspaper in 2010.  The author of the recipe is Ilias Mamalakis, one of the most famous cooks in Greece.  I made almost no changes to the recipe, and I’ve made it many times and we always love it.  It’s easy, frugal, delicious – and colorful!

Soak the chickpeas 8 hours or overnight.  Drain and rinse.  Stem and wash the spinach.

Chop the green onions and divide in half.

Dice an onion, and chop the rosemary.  You can use either fresh or dried.  I used fresh.

Spray or drizzle your pressure cooker with olive oil, and saute the onion with the rosemary until transparent.  Add the chickpeas with the turmeric and enough water to cover barely.  Stir and bring up to pressure.

Spray or drizzle a skillet with olive oil.  Saute half the green onion for a few minutes.  Add the spinach in bunches and allow to wilt.  After a few minutes, add the tomato paste and dill.  Stir gently until wilted.

Put the raisins in a bowl with hot water for a few minutes to rehydrate.  Divide the spinach between the plates.

Drain the chickpeas.  Top the spinach with them.

Layer on the remaining green onions, drained raisins, and crumbled feta.  You can add pine nuts here if you like.  I don’t, because they’re so expensive, but they’re part of the original recipe.  If you use them, toast them lightly first.  The original recipe also calls for several tablespoons of olive oil but I never use that.  It is a salad after all….

Salt and pepper at the table.

Spinach & Chickpea Salad
recipe by Ilias Mamalakis
serves 2 as an entree

1 colander full of spinach
180g dry chickpeas, soaked 8-24 hours
1 small onion, chopped
3 sprigs rosemary or 2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp turmeric
2 green onions, chopped, divided
2 tsp dried dill or 2 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp tomato paste
30g raisins, champagne raisins, or currants, soaked in hot water for a few minutes, and drained
60g feta cheese
2 tsp olive oil or olive oil sprayer

1.  Drain the soaked chickpeas and rinse.  Saute the onion and rosemary in a little olive oil in the pressure cooker.  When translucent, add the chickpeas, the turmeric, and enough water to cover everything, but just barely.  Bring up to pressure and cook until chickpeas are tender (about 8-10 minutes).  Allow to release pressure naturally.  Drain.

2.  Stem and wash the spinach.  Saute half the green onions in a little olive oil in a skillet.  Add the spinach in bunches and allow to wilt partially.  Add the dill and the tomato paste and continue wilting.

3.  Divide the spinach between plates.  Layer on the ingredients:  chickpeas, then remaining (uncooked) green onions, raisins, and feta (crumbled).

Nutritional Information
per serving (i.e., 1/2 of the total recipe):

497 calories
13g fat (5g saturated, 8g unsaturated)
76g carbohydrate
21g dietary fiber
26g protein
27mg cholesterol (9% DV)
445mg sodium (19% DV)
1,629mg potassium (47% DV)
Contains significant amount (+10% DV) of the following:
vitamin A (126%), calcium, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, phosphorus, selenium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, iron (56%), riboflavin, food folate (182%), manganese (157%), and copper.

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Baked spanakoryzo
Greek okra

10 thoughts on “spinach & chickpea salad

    • Certainly does look good. I recently learned that beetroot leaves can be used in any dish where you would normally use spinach. Think this might be an interesting variation here – and would look pretty, too!

      • Beet leaves would work – if you like them – I find that I can’t eat as many beet leaves as I can spinach. As in, I get a little tired of them – maybe half and half, or a mixture of greens – you could definitely try some wild greens that you can pick where you are. Whatever is in season!

  1. Thank you so much for this very helpful tutorial I now feel confident enough to try homemade phillo. I have two favorite Greek cook books, Greek cookbook by Tess Mallos and the glorious foods of Greece by Diane Kochilas both have recipes for phillo and it sounds so complicated I just could not get my head around it.
    I love your tutorials and I am working through your recipes thank you for sharing. You bring style to frugal cooking.

    • Thank you for your comment! I hope you will give it a try – and even if it’s not as thin as you want it, it will still taste great. If you start with savory pies (as opposed to sweet ones), the thicker phyllo is just fine. And you might be surprised by how well it turns out the first time!

  2. We love spinach. I’m not a big fan of chickpeas – but they are healthy and I should eat them more. I like the idea that has the sweet of the raisins and salty from the feta. (Since fresh spinach is a bit expensive in the States, it’s not the cheapest salad. But, it sure is pretty.)
    ~ Dana

    • Dana, I didn’t realize that spinach was expensive in the US. Here it is indeed among the cheapest vegetables, especially at the farmers’ market. I never liked chickpeas when I ate them canned but I love them from dried. But if chickpeas just aren’t your thing, you could try this with chicken instead.

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