This dish goes well with roasted meats or chicken, but it is so full of flavor that it can just as easily be a main course.
The amount of sodium can be kept in check in three ways: The rice is fragrant and needs no extra salt. The vegetables need only a small amount. Skip the canned chickpeas and cook your own.
To do so, soak dried chickpeas in water overnight, then drain. Place in a medium saucepan, and cover with water and a lid; cook over medium to medium-low heat for 90 minutes, until the chickpeas are tender. A half-cup of dried chickpeas yields 1 generous cup, cooked.
Make Ahead: Chickpeas can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated 2 to 3 days in advance.
- 1 cup (uncooked) basmati rice (rinse if package directs)
- 2 cups water, plus 2 tablespoons for cooking the spinach
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small (3 ounces) onion, cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch dice (3/4 cup)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup home-cooked or canned cooked chickpeas (see headnote)
- Finely grated zest of 1 medium lemon
- 3 ounces baby spinach leaves
Combine the rice and 2 cups of water in a medium pot over medium-high heat. When the water boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover, keeping the heat just high enough so that the water maintains a very low boil (barely bubbling). Cook for 20 minutes, remove from the heat and let rest (covered) for 5 minutes.
After the rice has cooked for about 15 minutes, start the vegetables: Heat the oil in a large skillet or saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes, until it softens.
Add the cumin, salt and chickpeas; cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and stir to combine, then add the spinach and 2 tablespoons of water. Cover and cook undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes to wilt the spinach, then uncover and use tongs to incorporate it into the chickpeas. (If the spinach has not wilted, cover and let steam for 2 minutes.)
Divide the rice among individual plates. Top with the spinach-chickpea mixture; serve hot.
From columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.
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