Cumin-Scented Chickpeas and Spinach With Basmati Rice 4.000

James M. Thresher for The Washington Post

Nourish Mar 11, 2009

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.

Servings: 4
  • 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.

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Recipe Source

From columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

Tested by Stephanie Witt Sedgwick.

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