Sautéed shrimp and chickpeas with bell peppers and onions get a dash of smoked paprika for small bites of Spanish shrimp essence.
Most days when I’m editing photos or cooking for the blog, I have something playing in the background. Keeping with the theme, it’s usually a cooking show I can tune in and out of. But when this simple shrimp tapas dish from an old episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives came on, I was quick to pay attention. It’s from a Barcelona tapas bar and is similar to a dish we loved when visiting a few years ago. Naturally, I had to remake it at home. Onions, bell peppers, and garlic are sautéed in swirls of olive oil with shrimp and then glazed with brandy before chickpeas are tossed in. Simply seasoned, I added smoked paprika to build on the depth of flavor and lots of fresh parsley for brightness. While this Spanish shrimp recipe is a small-plate tapas dish, it’s perfectly suited as a one-pot main meal or a protein-loaded salad that can be served warm or at room temperature too.
What’s In This Shrimp Tapas with Chickpeas
- Shrimp—Use large shrimp if serving this as a main, or medium shrimp as a tapas appetizer
- Kosher salt and red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- Yellow onion
- Red and green bell pepper
- Bay leaf
- Smoked paprika
- Chickpeas—I use canned chickpeas for ease. Rinse and drain well.
- Brandy—Brandy imparts a unique flavor but you can use a good white wine instead
- Italian flat-leaf parsley
How to Make Spanish Shrimp and Chickpeas
- Prep the shrimp. Thaw, shell, devein, and remove the tails from the shrimp. Season with kosher salt and red pepper flakes and set aside.
- Sauté the onion and bell peppers. I thinly slice the onion into small strips for some textural variety with the chopped bell pepper. The veggies should still have a body, and not taste mushy. Also, don’t be shy with the olive oil! It’s the flavor builder.
- Add the garlic, bay leaf, and smoked paprika when the veggies begin to soften. Sauté just until the garlic becomes fragrant, allowing time for the subtle smoky flavor to deepen.
Add the Proteins and Flavor Builders
- Cook the shrimp just until pink. Add the shrimp to the onion and pepper mixture, shifting so the shrimp has contact with the skillet. Shrimp cooks quickly so be watchful so it doesn’t get tough.
- Add the chickpeas and a splash of brandy. Cook for the chickpeas to warm through and the alcohol to evaporate.
- Finish with another drizzle of olive oil and a handful of chopped parsley. Season with more salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
Variations and Ingredient Substitutions
- Instead of chickpeas, try my savory cannellini beans.
- Add a bit of acid with a squeeze of lemon or a splash of good red wine vinegar.
- Substitute calamari rings for the shrimp.
- Instead of brandy, try a bright white wine or sweet marsala wine.
More Shrimp Recipes
- Shrimp Scampi
- Easy Shrimp Cocktail
- Crispy Baked Garlic Shrimp
- Saucy Greek Baked Shrimp
- Peel ‘n Eat Beer Steamed Shrimp
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Spanish Shrimp with Chickpeas
- 1 pound medium shrimp , thawed, shelled, deveined with tails removed
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil , divided
- 1 yellow onion , quartered and thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper , chopped
- 1 green bell pepper , chopped
- 6 garlic cloves , minced or pressed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ cup brandy
- 30 ounces canned chickpeas , drained and rinsed
- ½ cup parsley , roughly chopped
- Season the shrimp with ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and red pepper flakes and set aside.
- Heat ⅓ cup of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook until they begin to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and bay leaf. Season with 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt and stir in the smoked paprika. Cook for 2 minutes. Add ¼ cup more olive oil and the shrimp and cook until pink and becoming opaque, for 3-4 minutes.
- Move the skillet from the heat and add the brandy and chickpeas. Return to the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes until the alcohol evaporates and the chickpeas warm through. Season with the rest of the kosher salt to taste and sprinkle with a handful of chopped parsley. Drizzle with more olive oil before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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