Flavors and Simplicity of the Mediterranean

Marisa Moore, MBA, RD, LD
Marisa owns a nutrition speaking and consulting practice in Atlanta, GA. She is a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Connect with her on Twitter @MarisaMoore for morsels of food and nutrition tips & news.

I am excited to take part in Oldways’ celebration of National Mediterranean Diet month! I love the flavors and simplicity of the food of the Mediterranean. The well documented heart-health benefits make it that much more lovable. And the benefits continue to mount.  Recent research links a Mediterranean way of eating with not only a lower incidence of heart disease but also cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.    

Have you heard of Espinacas con Garbanzos? As the name alludes, this recipe has roots in Spain (Moorish, in fact).  Like the traditional recipes of the Mediterranean, this is a simple dish.  In the old days, it would have been called “peasant food” since it’s based on seasonally available produce and contains no meat. Today this translates to a delicious and healthy dish that also happens to be vegan, high in fiber and potassium and incredibly satisfying. Give it a try and let me know what you love about it.

This is a forgiving recipe so feel free to play with it a bit. Cook your own chickpeas or choose the lowest sodium canned chickpeas you can find and rinse them well.  I used smoked paprika because it adds tremendous depth of flavor and color. Truth be told, I am a little head over heels for smoked paprika these days but if you don’t have it in your pantry, add a little more cumin to the dish.

Espinacas con Garbanzos — Chickpeas with Spinach
Time: 10 minutes


Yield: 4 servings

1 T olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 t cumin
1 t smoked paprika
2 cups cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained (1-15oz can)
8 cups fresh spinach
¼ t kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a skillet.  Add the garlic, cumin and paprika.  Cook 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.  Add chickpeas and spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 180, Total fat 6g, Saturated fat 0.5g, Monounsaturated fat 2.5g, Polyunsaturated fat 0.5g, Carbohydrate 25g, Fiber 8g, Protein 9g, Sodium 145 mg, Cholesterol 0mg, Potassium 224mg, Iron 2.4mg


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