How to Make Chickpea Stew with Spinach and Cod

Chickpea stew with spinach and cod, known as “potaje de garbanzos con espinacas y bacalao” in Spanish, is a traditional and flavorful dish that originates from the Canary Islands. This hearty stew combines the earthy taste of chickpeas, the vibrant green color of spinach, and the delicate flavor of cod to create a satisfying and nutritious meal. In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of making this delicious dish, along with some interesting facts and tips to enhance your cooking experience.


Before we dive into the cooking process, let’s gather all the necessary ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried chickpeas
  • 1 pound salted cod
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 pound fresh spinach
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Soaking the Chickpeas

The first step in preparing this dish is to soak the dried chickpeas overnight. Place the chickpeas in a large bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak for at least 8 hours or overnight. This process helps to soften the chickpeas and reduce their cooking time.

Step 2: Preparing the Salted Cod

Salted cod is a key ingredient in this recipe, but it requires some preparation before use. Start by rinsing the cod under cold water to remove excess salt. Then, place the cod in a large pot and cover it with water. Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. This step helps to remove any remaining salt and rehydrate the fish. Once done, drain the cod and set it aside.

Step 3: Cooking the Stew

Now that the chickpeas are soaked and the cod is prepared, it’s time to start cooking the stew. Follow these steps:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and diced red bell pepper to the pot. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and fragrant.
  3. Sprinkle the paprika, cumin, and bay leaf into the pot. Stir well to coat the vegetables with the spices.
  4. Add the soaked chickpeas and vegetable broth to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 1 hour or until the chickpeas are tender.
  5. While the stew is simmering, flake the cooked cod into small pieces, removing any bones or skin.
  6. After the chickpeas are tender, add the flaked cod and fresh spinach to the pot. Stir gently to combine all the ingredients.
  7. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the spinach wilts.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Tips and Variations

Here are some tips and variations to consider when making chickpea stew with spinach and cod:

  • If you prefer a milder flavor, you can desalt the cod for a longer period of time or use fresh cod instead.
  • Feel free to add other vegetables such as carrots or potatoes to the stew for added texture and flavor.
  • For a spicier kick, you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chili flakes.
  • Serve the stew with crusty bread or rice to make it a complete meal.


Q: Can I use canned chickpeas instead of dried ones?

A: Yes, you can use canned chickpeas if you’re short on time. However, keep in mind that the texture and flavor may differ slightly from using dried chickpeas.

Q: Can I substitute the cod with another type of fish?

A: Absolutely! While cod is traditional, you can experiment with other white fish such as haddock or halibut.

Q: Is this dish suitable for vegetarians?

A: The original recipe includes salted cod, which is not vegetarian. However, you can omit the cod and add more vegetables or substitute it with tofu for a vegetarian version.

Q: How long can I store the leftovers?

A: You can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

Q: Can I freeze the stew?

A: Yes, you can freeze the stew for up to 3 months. Make sure to cool it completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.


Chickpea stew with spinach and cod, or “potaje de garbanzos con espinacas y bacalao,” is a delightful dish that brings together the flavors of chickpeas, spinach, and cod in a hearty and nutritious stew. By following the step-by-step instructions and incorporating the tips and variations mentioned above, you can create a delicious meal that will satisfy your taste buds and provide you with essential nutrients. Whether you’re looking for a traditional Canary Islands recipe or simply want to explore new flavors, this dish is a must-try. Enjoy!

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