Weeknight Salmon with Smoky Spinach and Chickpeas

updated Jan 19, 2021
Weeknight Salmon with Smoky Spinach and Chickpeas

Crispy-skinned salmon sits on top of a bed of saucy spinach and chickpeas in this fast and easy skillet dinner.


Prep5 minutes

Cook18 minutes to 23 minutes

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Credit: Yossy Arefi

If you’re looking for a dinner that delivers big results with minimal effort, allow me to introduce you to this salmon skillet. Crispy-skinned salmon fillets sit atop a saucy, smoky mix of warm chickpeas and wilted spinach. Served in shallow bowls, it’s a complete meal that’s as wholesome as it is satisfying.

I don’t use the term “weeknight” lightly here: This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes and has the lazy cook in mind. You don’t even need to break out your knife or cutting board — and yet the results taste like you worked much harder than you did. That’s a win any night of the week.

Credit: Yossy Arefi

A Fast and Fancy-ish Dinner That Requires No Chopping

To create this recipe, I tapped into how I tend to feel at the end of most work days — which is incredibly lazy. I don’t want to dirty multiple pots and pans, and bonus points if I don’t even have to take out my cutting board and chef’s knife.

With this in mind, the only prep required for this recipe is smashing and peeling a few garlic cloves, which, in true lackadaisical form, I do with the bottom of my skillet or a bottle of olive oil. A couple of cans of chickpeas and a can of diced tomatoes (regular or fire-roasted; whichever are in your pantry) are simmered with the garlic, and smoked paprika adds effortlessly bold flavor. Then, an entire box or bag of baby spinach is wilted in and the whole thing is topped with crispy-skinned salmon. This is weeknight cooking at its very best.

Weeknight Salmon with Smoky Spinach and Chickpeas

Crispy-skinned salmon sits on top of a bed of saucy spinach and chickpeas in this fast and easy skillet dinner.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 18 minutes to 23 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 4

    (6-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 2 (about 15-ounce) cans


  • 3 cloves


  • 1 teaspoon

    smoked paprika

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can

    regular or fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 5 ounces

    baby spinach (about 5 packed cups)

  • 2 teaspoons

    balsamic vinegar


  1. Pat 4 salmon fillets dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with kosher salt and black pepper.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place the salmon skin-side down in the skillet, then press down on them so that the skin is in even contact with the pan and browns evenly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook undisturbed, gently pressing down on fish every so often, until the sides are cooked halfway up the fillets, 6 to 9 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets. Meanwhile, drain and rinse 2 cans chickpeas. Smash and peel 3 garlic cloves.

  3. Transfer the salmon skin-side up to a plate (it will not be cooked through). Add the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan. Add the garlic and sauté until softened and just starting to brown, about 2 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon smoked paprika and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Add the chickpeas, 1 can diced tomatoes and their juices, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine. Increase the heat to medium to bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

  5. Stir in 5 ounces baby spinach, a few handfuls at a time, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

  6. Return the salmon skin-side up to the pan, nestling them in the sauce. Continue to simmer for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillets. An instant-read thermometer into the middle of the thickest fillet should read 120°F to 130°F for medium-rare or 135°F to 145°F if you prefer it more well-done. Serve the salmon, skin-side up, with the chickpeas and spinach.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 2 days.