Spanish Chickpeas and Kale Recipe — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC - Rachael Hartley Nutrition (2024)

This Spanish inspired dish can be served tapas style as an appetizer, or along with crusty whole grain bread as a meal.Packed with nutrients and flavor, this simple chickpea and kale dish will become a staple in your meal prep rotation. The flavor and aroma from the smoked paprika adds a perfect punch!

Spanish Chickpeas and Kale Recipe — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC - Rachael Hartley Nutrition (1)

Despite what my fussier recipes might imply, I really do feel the simplest dishes are often the tastiest dishes. So, I'm making a conscious effort to share more quick and easy meals on the blog, starting with this Spanish chickpeas and kale recipe.

No one does simplicity better than the Spanish. If you've been to Spain and tasted their amazing cuisine, then you know what I'm talking about! Some of my favorite food memories were from my trip to Spain in high school. Going from tapas bar to tapas bar tasting their house specialties, I was in heaven! Calamares con allioli...patatas bravas...pimentos de Padron...everything tasted so exotic and complex. But really, I was just eating calamari with fresh mayonnaise, potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce and unbreaded, fried peppers. Nothing with more than a few ingredients. The Spanish method - use high quality, fresh, local ingredients with a couple flavor boosters, like citrus, vinegar and spices. Add copious amounts of olive oil and you've got something spectacular!

Spanish Chickpeas and Kale Recipe — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC - Rachael Hartley Nutrition (2)

How to Make Spanish Chickpeas and Kale

This recipe for Spanish chickpeas and kale is really easy to make! Just saute kale with plenty of olive oil until wilted. Then create a paste of toasted panko, red wine vinegar and garlic to thicken a tomato sauce that gets combined with sautéed kale and chickpeas. It’s not too saucy, but the breadcrumb thickened tomato sauce coats the kale and chickpeas lightly.

Canned vs. Dried Chickpeas

This recipe contains chickpeas and many of you may wonder, will dried or canned be the best to use? Either will work and turn out great! However, cooking chickpeas from dry gives them a better texture. If you have the time then I would suggest using cooking the dried chickpeas instead of using canned chickpeas so you’ll have a more firm and less mushy result. I like to use a pressure cooker to make them quickly. Otherwise, canned chickpeas are totally fine!

Spanish Chickpeas and Kale Recipe — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC - Rachael Hartley Nutrition (3)

Recipe adaptations

What makes this recipe great is that, not only is it super simple to make but, it’s versatile in the fact that you can easily switch up the ingredients with whatever you may have on hand. You don’t have to use kale if you don’t like kale or have another green in your refrigerator. Spinach, collard greens, chard, and mustard greens are all great alternatives to use. Just pay attention to how fast the other greens wilt when cooking because with a softer green like spinach, it won’t take as long.

The secret ingredient in this Spanish chickpeas and kale recipe

Regular paprika is bland red powder, but smoked paprika is another story! Regular paprika is simply dried chiles whereas smoked paprika is made from dried and smoked pimiento peppers over an oak fire, and then ground into a fine powder. It has an incredibly rich and smoky flavor, and is the secret ingredient in this recipe that takes it to the next level. You can find it at most well stocked grocery stores or order smoked paprika online. You could certainly swap regular paprika, but honestly, it doesn’t have much flavor. I almost exclusively use sweet paprika or smoked paprika in lieu of that bland red powder.

More tapas recipes to serve these Spanish chickpeas and kale with:

If you decide to serve this Spanish chickpeas and kale recipe as a tapas style dish, here’s some other tapas recipes you could serve it with:

Serves 3-4 as a main

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 bunches kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • Pinch of red pepper flakes

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1/2 lb dried chickpeas, cooked, or 2 15-ounce cans, drained

  • 1/2 cup tomato puree

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika, preferably smoked


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add kale and a large pinch of salt and cook until wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Add a bit of water (about 1/4-1/3 cup), cover, and cook an additional 5 minutes until tender. Remove greens from pan and set aside in a large bowl.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoon olive oil in the same skillet on medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds until fragrant. Add panko, cumin and red pepper flakes and toast in skillet, about 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove crumbs from pan to a small bowl. Mix in red wine vinegar with a fork, mashing lightly to create a paste.

  3. Place greens and chickpeas back in skillet on medium heat. Stir in tomato sauce and breadcrumb mixture. Cook 2-3 minutes until warmed through. Serve with paprika dusted on top.

If you like this Spanish chickpeas and kale recipe, you might also like:

Spanish Chickpeas and Kale Recipe — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC - Rachael Hartley Nutrition (8)

main, sides

Rachael Hartley

chard, chickpeas, kale, Mediterranean, Spanish, tomatoes


Spanish Chickpeas and Kale Recipe — Registered Dietitian Columbia SC - Rachael Hartley Nutrition (2024)
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