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Mel’s Spanish Chickpea & Almond Stew

Melissa Hemsley


Serves: 4

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 25 mins


3 tablespoons chopped or flaked almonds

1½ tablespoons butter or ghee

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large red or orange pepper, deseeded and chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large handful of fresh parsley, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped

1 tablespoon tomato purée

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

100ml stock/bone broth or water (optional)

250g spinach

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Sea salt and black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve


2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Veg Portions / Serving: 3


Kitchen Ninja

Recipe donated by Melissa Hemsley for Veg Power. Recipe from "Eat Happy" by Melissa Hemsley. Photography by Issy Croker |

Using store cupboard staples and spinach from the freezer, this Seville-inspired stew comes together in under 20 minutes and is a hit with everyone. You could swap the spinach for other greens, such as chopped chard, or add extra bits and bobs, such as a few tablespoons of capers, olives or chopped sun-dried tomatoes. I love this as a stew-like soup in a bowl, but you could make it thicker and serve with a side of quinoa.


In a large, deep frying pan, toast the almonds over a medium heat for just under a minute until golden, then set aside. Melt the butter in the hot pan, add the onion and pepper and fry for 6 minutes until starting to soften.

Add the garlic, spices and parsley stalks and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning, then add the tomato purée and cook for another 30 seconds.

Tip the tinned tomatoes into the pan, turn up the heat to a medium simmer and cook for 15 minutes, uncovered, to thicken and reduce. Add the chickpeas and cook for another 3 minutes with a lid on. If you want the stew to be more soup- like, add the stock.

Turn up the heat, drop in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, covered with the lid, then add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Serve each bowl with a good drizzle of olive oil and with the parsley leaves and toasted almonds scattered over.

Kids in the kitchen:

The kids might like helping with this one by peeling the garlic and onion, squeezing the lemon juice and washing the chickpeas. They can also measure out the tomato puree and add it to the stew.

Melissa Hemsley

Chef and best selling author, lover of leftovers and seasonal vegetables and regular volunteer with food waste charities, kids community cooking and ambassador of Fairtrade farmers.

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