François de MélogueProvencal RecipesSide DishTaste

Vegetarian Dish: Chickpea and Spinach Gratin Provencal

The inspiration for my recipe for Chickpea and Spinach Gratin is Richard Olney’s delicious classic cookbook Simple French Food. It is a traditional Provencal vegetarian preparation that is easy to make and will impress your friends. In keeping with the book’s title, this recipe is an easy preparation that does not use milk or cheese for the gratin. Instead, the rich flavour comes from eggs, ground almonds and saffron. Please take a look at my video for this recipe.

Chickpea and Spinach Gratin

Chickpea and Spinach Gratin

Chef François de Mélogue
A Vegetarian dish made with Chickpea and Spinach Gratin baked in breadcrumbs and drizzled in olive oil! 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine French, Provencal
Servings 7 people


  • 2 quarts of Boiling Water
  • 2 lbs Baby Spinach
  • 12 Marcona Almonds
  • 1/2 tsp Piment d'Ville or Espelette Pepper
  • a big pinch Saffron Threads
  • pinch Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 large Hard-Boiled Eggs separated
  • 2 cups Chickpeas cooked ** how to video in notes
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1/4 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil


  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Bring water to a rapid boil in a large stockpot and cook spinach for 3 minutes. You probably will not believe that all the spinach will fit into your pot, and you may even reread the recipe to ensure you read it correctly. When the spinach is cooked, drain and keep BOTH the spinach and the spinach water. Reduce the spinach water in a pot over medium heat until 1 cup of liquid remains.
  • With a mortar and pestle, pound the almonds until they are smooth and almost like peanut butter in consistency. Add the piment, saffron, and black pepper and continue beating until they are well incorporated into the mixture. Add the egg yolks and mix until smooth and well combined. Separately, slice the egg whites and reserve them. You can use a food processor if you do not have a mortar.
  • Mix the spinach, spinach water, egg yolk mixture, egg whites, chickpeas, and tomato sauce in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning to your preferences. Oil a 9X5 oval gratin dish with half the olive oil. Pour in the chickpea mixture. Top with breadcrumbs and drizzle the remaining olive oil over. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on top.


** to learn how to cook dried chickpeas, watch this video 
Keyword Cauliflower, Gratin, Spinach
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Chef François de Mélogue

François de Mélogue grew up in a very French household in Chicago. His earliest attempts at cookery began with the filleting of his sister’s goldfish at age two and a braised rabbit dish made with his pet rabbits by age seven. He eventually stopped cooking his pets and went to the highly esteemed New England Culinary Institute, where he graduated top of his class in 1985.

Chef François has over 30 years of cross-cultural culinary experience and brings an impressive culinary history and a unique Mediterranean cooking style. After graduating top of his class from the notable New England Culinary Institute, Chef François began his career in a number of highly acclaimed kitchens across the country, including Chef Louis Szathmary’s restaurant The Bakery in Chicago, Old Drovers Inn, a Relais and Chateaux property in New York and Joel Robuchon Gastronomie restaurant in Paris, before opening award-winning restaurant Pili Pili in his hometown of Chicago, rated in the Top Ten new restaurants in the World by Food and Wine magazine in 2003.

Chef François resides in St Albans, Vermont with his wife Lisa and ten-year-old son Beaumont, who has proclaimed himself the family saucier. Chef François' latest publication French Cooking for Beginners: 75+ Classic Recipes to Cook Like a Parisian takes you on a culinary journey well beyond the streets of Paris. Francois is a professional photographer specializing in food/product photography, real estate photography and shooting rural landscapes of Vermont and France. Explore his work on

Take a look at his website Simple French Cooking filled with delicious recipes and beautiful photos. Also follow Francois on Medium for more tempting dishes Pistou and Pastis.

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