Garbanzo and Spinach Bowl – Is it Soup or Stew?

This recipe for garbanzo and spinach bowl might be the ultimate autumn and winter comfort food, it is hearty, filling and packs a punch in flavour whilst still being vegan. It can be made with a milder flavour or you add some heat with some hot paprika and chili flakes. For a low-carb version just omit the potatoes.

When you have read my post on Stracciatella Half-Moon Cookies then you may have seen that I mentioned this recipe before. I didn’t think that I would make this again so soon considering that I froze leftovers of this stew and I strongly dislike both soups and stews, yet here we are. The second I got my hands on some fresh spinach I made another huge pot and I ate it for lunch and dinner two days in a row, it is that good. Although I still consider most soups and stew, I cannot make up my mind what this one is, old people food because it is so mushy this one has won me over. Unlike many other soup/stews I tried it has a lot of flavour and a lot of vegetables that actually keep you full for a long time. When I make it I keep the flavour mild because not everybody likes hot food, but I often add some hot sauce and chili flakes to give it a little more heat and it is delicious. Though you could just make the hot version if you desire to do so.

What’s the difference between soup and stew anyway?

Calling this recipe a garbanzo and spinach bowl is a cop out, I know, but I cannot decide whether or not it is a soup or stew. Liquid is a main component in this recipe because you need it to boil the potatoes, so it is a soup? Yet when everything is cooked there is just enough broth to cover the solid ingredients- does that make it a stew then? In Spanish we would call this a potaje which conveniently translates to both soup and stew, so I am non-the-wiser on that front. What do you think this is? Honestly, I don’t know what it is. Looking up the difference between the two has confused me more than before, it was a lot easier when I disliked both. What I do know is that you have to try this recipe, it is a real-game changer this time of year. Being a hearty and filling dish that is easy to make and requires minimal dishes makes it a convenient recipe to have and being able to add a little heat when desired gives it a real edge.

Garbanzo and Spinach Bowl

• Olive oil
• 1 large onion, cubed
• 1 carrot, finely diced
• 1 red bell pepper, cubed
• 3 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 tbl tomato paste
• 2 tsp sweet paprika (use hot paprika for an overall hot bowl)
• Salt
• Black pepper
• 3-4 cups starchy potatoes, peeled and cubed
• Vegetable stock
• 1 large can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
• 300 gr fresh spinach, washed and drained of excess water
• Optional ingredients: liquid seasoning sauce (e.g. Maggi, Knorr or Braggs) to enhance umami flavour, hot sauce, dried chili flakes

1. Add a little olive oil to a large pot and let it come to high heat. Sauté the onion, carrot and bell pepper until the onions are golden.
2. Add the garlic and sauté for about a minute until fragrant.
3. Add the tomato paste and paprika of choice and roast them for about two minutes whilst stirring occasionally.
4. Add the potatoes and mix all ingredients together. Cover everything with vegetable stock and let it come to a boil.
5. Once it has come to a boil season the broth to taste with liquid seasoning sauce, salt, pepper and more paprika.
6. When the potatoes are almost fully cooked add the garbanzo beans.
7. When the potatoes are fully cooked add the spinach in portions, letting it wilt until there is more space and stir everything together.
8. Season everything to taste before serving. For a hotter bowl add some hot sauce and dried chili flakes as garnish. Serve with some fresh bread.

As you can see this is a very easy recipe and once the potatoes are in it is very much set it and forget it until they are done. By using a pressure cooker you can reduce the cooking time, making it a weekday friendly meal. Leftovers reheat and freeze well, which can feed you on another day when you are too busy or lazy to cook. We all have those days, right? Hopefully you enjoyed this recipe and I would love some input over whether it is a stew or soup. Have a lovely day!

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