Pantry Cooking with Traditional Spanish Recipes
What comes to mind when you hear Spanish cooking? Chorizo, paella, olives? It’s often overlooked that Spain has 17 regions, each with its unique history and culture. Spanish gastronomy varies greatly by region. Many of these places contain centuries-old peasant recipes that are still used in Spanish homes.

Most of us are cutting back on grocery shopping. I had to manage my food budget after teaching overseas in Spain for a year. Spanish cooking was a good way to eat well. Make delectable meals using minimal, substantial ingredients.

Espinacas with Garbanzos recipes

Espinacas with Garbanzos: Traditional Spanish Peasant Food

Photo by Goya Foods

The practicality of the ingredients has kept this recipe from the Middle East to Spain in the 12th century. Spinach and chickpea stew is a Seville tapa. It uses garbanzo beans, vinegar, and bread and is surprisingly satisfying.


1 can chickpeas

1 bag spinach

Cubed day-old bread

15 unsalted almonds

¼ cup tomato sauce

3 sliced garlic cloves

Olive oil

2 tbsp sherry or red wine vinegar

1 tsp ground cumin

Pepper Cayenne

Smoked Paprika

Salt and pepper


Add spinach to 1-2 teaspoons olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook spinach until wilted. Strain spinach in a colander.

Add bread cubes and almonds to a pan with additional oil. Sauté until bread is firm and browned. Sauté garlic, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper until gently browned.

Blend or combine the bread mixture from the pan with sherry or vinegar to make a paste. Spanish history and culture reference sherry.

Replace the paste in the saucepan with chickpeas and tomato sauce. Stir gently on medium heat to combine.

Spinach should be lightly mixed in. Before serving, heat your stew.

Season with paprika, salt, and pepper. Top with olive oil if desired.

Recipes for Patatas Tortilla Recipe

Classic Spanish Peasant Recipes

Patata Tortilla

One of Spain’s most famous dishes is omelette. Spaniards argue over whether the original recipe included onions or other veggies. This simple, hearty dish may have been popularised in the 18th century.

In Spain, tortilla is consumed during the day. It is served on a skewer as a tapa or with bread, tomato, or salad as a meal.


2 pounds potatoes

Salt and pepper

8 eggs

1 big white onion

Olive oil


Peel and slice potatoes and onions thinly.

Step 1:

Add oil to a skillet, then potatoes and onion. Fried until tender. Beat eggs in a large or medium basin. Remove the onions and potatoes’ oil and add to the egg mixture.

Step 2:

One pan should be somewhat smaller than the other for heating oil. You can reuse the pan. Set eggs in the smaller pan with the egg mixture. Sprinkle oil on the smaller pan after draining the larger pan. Lock them together and flip the pan to fry the other side.

The tortilla should be golden. Flip the tortilla into a serving dish after removing from heat.

For Snacking:

Recipes for Catalan Tomato Bread

This simple Catalan recipe is popular. Rub garlic and ripe tomato over grilled or toasted bread, sprinkle with salt, pour with olive oil, and serve with coffee, beer, or cheese. Imagine enjoying this on a Barcelona beach.

Tomàquet Catalan Tomato Bread Recipe

Marco Verch photo. Catalanische Spezialität Tomàquet pa

Interesting Spanish Food Traditions:

History of Tapas:

Tapas have various histories in different regions.

The most prevalent myth is that 13th-century Wise King Alfonso X was prescribed alcohol and tiny meals between meals while recovering from an illness. The king recovered and ordered all households to provide food with drink to prevent drunkenness.

Other stories say Seville bartenders covered customers’ drinking saucers to keep flies out. They started serving olives, gammon and cheese on saucers after customers showed their appreciation by frequenting the tavern.


After lunch, a siesta is a short snooze. Today’s Spanish working culture includes drinking, smoking, or having coffee with friends. Spain’s eating patterns revolve around work, therefore meals are spaced out throughout the day.


This means “Cheers!” in Spanish. It implies health and is used when sneezing.

“Tomate un café”

Spaniards often say “take a coffee” while planning meetings. This can mean drinking coffee or making time to catch up.

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