Melissa Hemsley Takeover: Spanish Chickpea and Almond Stew

Cook and wellness guru Melissa Hemsley is the best selling author behind Eat Happy, a book that celebrates fuss-free, real food that can be made in under thirty minutes. Her passion, love and joy for food is infectious and we are thrilled to be collaborating with Melissa for our forthcoming SPACES exhibition.
Melissa will be constructing her own kitchen – the space that inspires her the most and where she spends much of her time honing her craft.
In the first of her guest blogs, Melissa shows us how to whip up a hearty and comforting Spanish Chickpea and Almond Stew. Using store cupboard staples and spinach from the freezer, this Seville-inspired stew comes together in under 20 minutes and is a hit with everyone.

Spanish Chickpea and Almond Stew


Serves 4
3 tablespoons chopped or flaked almonds
1.5 tablespoons butter or ghee
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large red or orange pepper, deseeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 large handful of fresh parsley, stalks finely chopped and leaves roughly chopped
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
2 x 400g tins of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100ml stock/bone broth or water (optional)
250g spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve


2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper



1. In a large, deep frying pan, toast the almonds over a medium heat for just under a minute until golden, then set aside. Melt the butter in the hot pan, add the onion and pepper and fry for 6 minutes until starting to soften.

2. Add the garlic, spices and parsley stalks and fry for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning, then add the tomato purée and cook for another 30 seconds.

3. Tip the tinned tomatoes into the pan, turn up the heat to a medium simmer and cook for 15 minutes, uncovered, to thicken and reduce. Add the chickpeas and cook for another 3 minutes with a lid on. If you want the stew to be more soup-like, add the stock.

4. Turn up the heat, drop in the spinach and cook for 1 minute, covered with the lid, then add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

5. Serve each bowl with a good drizzle of olive oil and with the parsley leaves and toasted almonds scattered over.

Extracted from Eat Happy by Melissa Hemsley (Ebury Press, £20)
Photography by Issy Croker