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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Jane Baxter

Jane Baxter’s budget recipes for Spanish-style chickpeas

Jane Baxter's spinach and chickpea salad.
Jane Baxter’s spinach and chickpea salad. Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian. Food styling: Hanna Miller. Prop styling: Louie Waller.

Chickpeas are a great choice in budget cooking, and there is so much more to them than hummus. I stipulate a cooked weight for today’s recipes, and by far the easiest option is to use drained tinned chickpeas, but I much prefer soaking and cooking dried ones, because you can impart more flavour into them. That said, the cooking time can be as much as an hour, so I understand why they put some people off. To get around this, use a pressure cooker, where the chickpeas will be done in about 15 minutes, or cook a big batch and use them up over the course of a few days.

Spinach and chickpea salad (pictured top)

This brilliant salad is one I’ve been making for years, and can also be incorporated into a Moorish-style spread.

Prep 10 min
Cook 15 min
Serves 4

1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove
, peeled and crushed
50g currants
4 tbsp olive oil
500g spinach
Salt and pepper
1 x 400g tin chickpeas
, drained (or 250g cooked chickpeas)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
50g flaked almonds
, toasted

In a small bowl, mix the chopped red onion with the vinegar, sugar and garlic, then set aside. Put the currants in a second small bowl, pour over boiling water just to cover, then leave to rehydrate and plump up.

Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pan, tip in the spinach, season and stir to coat. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes, until the spinach wilts, then tip into a colander and leave to drain and cool. Once cool enough to handle, squeeze out any excess moisture, then roughly chop the leaves.

Put half the chickpeas in a food processor and pulse briefly, just so they’re roughly chopped (you can also do this by hand). Drain the currants, tip them into a large bowl, then add the onion mixture, the spinach, both the chopped chickpeas and the remaining whole ones, and the almonds. Season generously with salt, pepper and cayenne, then gently fold everything together. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil and serve.

Chickpea and chorizo fideuà

Jane Baxter’s chickpea and chorizo fideuà.
Jane Baxter’s chickpea and chorizo fideuà. Photograph: Yuki Sugiura/The Guardian. Food styling: Hanna Miller, Prop styling: Louie Waller.

Fideuà is traditionally made with fideus, a very thin Spanish pasta that is usually toasted in a dry pan before being simmered in stock; if you can’t get hold of it, use broken-up angel-hair pasta or vermicelli instead, in which case the cooking time may vary.

Prep 10 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

100g cooking chorizo, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
250g fideu
s, or vermicelli or angel hair pasta, broken into small pieces
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 red pepper, stem, seeds and pith discarded, flesh diced (optional)
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
500ml chicken stock
1 x 400g chickpeas
, drained (or 250g cooked chickpeas)
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp chopped parsley
2 spring onions
, trimmed and chopped (optional)

In a large shallow pan on a low heat, cook the chorizo in the olive oil for a few minutes, until it releases its fat and colours the oil. Add the pasta, garlic and red pepper, if using, stir to combine, then turn up the heat to medium and cook the pasta in the chorizo fat for five minutes, until toasted and lightly browned.

Stir in the tomatoes , cook for five minutes, then add the stock and chickpeas. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until the pasta is just cooked.

Season, stir in the parsley and spring onions, if using, and serve.

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