Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Recipe Roundup - two Spanish Tapas and a Portuguese Cataplana

Espinacas con Garbanzos 
After the glut of delicious new recipes I discovered during Veganuary, I've not needed to go searching out many more yet. The three recipes I'm sharing here are all based on dishes I ate in cafes or restaurants this winter and which I have now recreated myself in our little motorhome kitchen. They're all pretty easy, cheap and very tasty!

Espinacas con Garbanzos

Spinach With Chickpeas was the first tapa dish I tried in Seville. The recipe was originally brought to Spain from North Africa.

I finely sliced two Garlic Cloves and fried them in local Olive Oil until they started to brown. Then I stirred in half a teaspoon of Paprika. I added 100g of Baby Spinach leaves and, when they had wilted down, added about 3 tbsps of cooked Chickpeas. I served the Espinacas con Garbanzos hot with a little bread to soak up the flavoured oil.

When making this again I would chop the spinach into small pieces. It was ok as whole leaves, but I think the texture would be better if it was chopped.

Pan Tumaca / Pa Amb Tomaquet

Pa Amb Tomaquet 
A Catalan idea for my second tapa and this is often served as part of a late-morning breakfast, so basically for elevenses.

Halve a good sized ripe Tomato and grate it into a bowl until you are just left with the skin which can be discarded. (Mind your knuckles if using a box grater!) Add a little Salt and stir in a good splash of Olive Oil. Mix together and serve spread onto hot dry toast. I used toasted homemade pita bread for mine.

The trick for this tapa is to use good quality tomatoes and oil. Mass grown supermarket tomatoes are likely to result in a disappointingly bland Pa Amb Tomaquet. Get organic farm shop or home grown ones if possible.


This is traditionally a fish or meat stew, named for the copper cataplana dish in which it should be served. It again originated in North Africa before becoming a Portuguese staple. I enjoyed eating a vegan version when we visited Vilamoura.

I began by dicing half an Onion and a Garlic Clove and gently frying them until they softened. Then I added some diced Red Pepper, a handful of quartered Mushrooms, two chopped fresh Tomatoes, some Cauliflower broken into small florets, some Potato chunks and cubes of Plain Tofu. I poured in a cup of strong Vegetable Stock and seasoned with Salt, Pepper, a shake of Mixed Herbs and a little Harissa Paste to give it a kick.
This is a great use-up dish, because - other than the onion, garlic and tomatoes, it doesn't seem to matter what veg goes in. Raid that fridge! The liquid should be thin with the vegetables cooked and recognisable but not mushy within it. The tofu and potatoes absorb lots of flavour.

I hope you get a chance to try these recipes for yourself. If you do make them, or already have your own versions, let me know!


  1. You had me at easy, cheap, and tasty :) I am amazed by how many things you are able to cook with such limited space.

    1. I'm getting pretty good at adapting recipes for cooking on a gas hob. I even managed a bread pudding a couple of days ago, though it wasn't pretty enough to blog!!

  2. I want to try cataplana. Thanks...

  3. Spinach with chickpeas sounds good.