Cooking From My Cook Books – Annabel Langbein’s Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach and Haloumi

This week I am cooking a spiced chickpea dish from Annabel Langbein’s book, Free Range in the City. I have a lot of pages marked with sticky tabs in this book and it’s packed full of healthy, uncomplicated but delicious recipes. Some of my favourites are her smoked salmon and egg gratin, her spinach ricotta with walnut butter and I need to find an excuse to make her biscuit slice that’s studded with dried apricots and crystallised ginger soon.


This spiced chickpea dish is really versatile and is great as a vegetarian main meal but also makes a delicious side dish. It also has haloumi in it which is a massive win in my book.



You’ll need some fresh items, but I love that this recipe also relies on some pantry staples like canned chickpeas and canned tomatoes.



Give the whole fennel seeds a bit of a bash in a mortar and pestle. This helps release the flavour.



I decreased the amount of chilli because, while I love it, it has started disagreeing with both Key and I occasionally. We have become chilli wusses :(



Squeaky cheese! Both Key and I love haloumi.



Annabel’s recipe didn’t have onion in it, but I had to add it in. I used red, but a brown or white onion would work great as well.


canned cherry tomatoes

Canned cherry tomatoes are a relatively new thing, but they are easy to find at supermarkets these days.



I’m sure you could use dried chickpeas but to be honest I’ve never bothered with the whole soaking and cooking process when canned chickpeas are so good.



This picture is completely unnecessary but I thought it was pretty :)



You will need to add the spinach in batches. Don’t worry, it massively decreases in size once you stir it into the hot sauce and it wilts.


spiced chickpeas

On the day I made this, I ate it for lunch and then reheated it later as a side for some steak for our dinner. Yum!


Annabel Langbein’s Spiced Chickpeas with Spinach and Haloumi

Ingredients – Serves 2-3 as a main or 4-5 as a side dish

  • 1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp of dried chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp of ground cumin
  • ½ tsp of fennel seeds, lightly broken up in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tbs of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of brown sugar
  • 1 can of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained
  • 180g of haloumi (1 packet) cut into large chunks
  • 90g of baby spinach leaves (3-4 big handfuls)
  • 1 tbs of Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs of roughly chopped fresh parsley



  1. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Cook the onion and garlic until they are soft.
  2. Add the chilli and the other spices and cook until they are fragrant or for about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the tomato paste, sugar and the canned tomatoes and their juice and then add the chickpeas and the cheese.
  4. Bring up to a boil and then simmer the mix for 5-7 minutes or until the chickpeas are completely warmed through.
  5. Add the spinach in two batches and stir it through until it’s completely wilted which should take 1-2 minutes for each batch.
  6. Stir through the yogurt and cook for a further minute then remove from heat and stir through the fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve hot, dolloped with more yogurt if you wish. Great as a vegetarian main meal or a side dish. Leftovers heat up well.


spiced chickpeas with spinach and haloumi



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Hi! I’m Taryn. The Wooden Spoons is a food blog and collection of wooden spoons, recipes and stories. I’m a Canberra fan-girl with a passion for all things food. I love South East Asian food, fusion food done well and slow cooked anything. I don’t get quinoa, have a mild phobia of milk touching my skin and custard from a package freaks me out. Thanks for joining me on my cooking and food adventures.

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