This was an iffy recipe for me, having never made "braised" anything before. Plus, I wasn't sure what to think with this mix of ingredients, especially the coconut milk, which is not usually something I have in meals at home or in restaurants. So when I sat down with a hot bowl of the braised coconut spinach loaded up with sun-dried tomatoes and chickpeas, all I could say was, "Wow!"
The dish is both sweet and tangy, with the strong flavor mellowed out by the mildly flavored chickpeas and spinach. Sun-dried tomatoes add a great twist to the texture and a different quality of sweet than the coconut milk, making the flavor all the more complex.
I cut the recipe in half, which still made more than enough for two of us, but I did not cut the lemon zest and juice in half. Instead, I used the original amount because I love lemon and can't ever have too much. I think that added to the overall Zing! of the meal. Though it is great on its own, this dish would be delicious served over rice so the rice can soak up the sweet and zesty coconut milk "broth."
This recipe is adapted from The Kitchn.
coconut spinach

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cook time: 35 minutes 

Total time: 50 minutes 

Yield: 4-6 servings

Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 1 dried hot red pepper or dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 14-oz can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 1 14-oz can coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or heavy pot on medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it is translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the garlic, ginger, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon zest and red pepper. Cook the mixture for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Toss in the chickpeas and turn the heat up to high, cooking until the chickpeas turn golden and are thoroughly coated with the onion and spice mixture.
  3. Add in the spinach a handful at a time, waiting for it to wilt a little before adding the next handful. Stir it in to incorporate it into the mix.
  4. Pour in the coconut milk, salt, ground ginger, and lemon juice. Bring the pot to a simmer, then turn the heat to medium low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Give it a taste and adjust the lemon juice, salt or other spices as needed.
  5. Serve the dish on its own or ladle it over a bed of rice. Enjoy!

coconut spinach

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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Braised Coconut Spinach with Chickpeas and Lemon
Bright, vivid flavors and healthy ingredients make this dish the star of weeknight dinners.