Brown Rice Pilaf with Spinach, Parmesan, and White Beans

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Beans are so much a mainstay of the cooking of Tuscany that Tuscans are known as mangiafagioli, or bean eaters. And spinach is so popular that dishes with spinach are known in French as à la florentine, after the capital of Tuscany, Florence. This is a wonderful combination of flavors.


  • 1 cup dried cannellini beans or 2 cans (19 ounces each) canned cannellini, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small onion, halved
  • 1 leafy rib celery
  • 1 clove garlic, bruised


    1. Drain the soaked beans and cook in plenty of water with the onion, celery, and garlic until the beans are tender, about 1½ hours. Drain well. (The beans can be cooked up to 2 days ahead.)
    2. Heat the oil over low heat in a large heavy saucepan. Add the diced onion and minced garlic and sauté, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in the rice and reduce the heat to medium-low. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the grains turn opaque, about 3 minutes.
    3. Stir in the broth and salt, if desired, and bring to a simmer. Cook, tightly covered, until rice is tender, about 45 minutes. Add the beans, spinach, and grated cheese, folding together just until blended. The mixture should be creamy; stir in a little more warm broth if needed. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the spinach is just wilted but still bright green, about 3 minutes.
    4. Serve at once, sprinkled with pine nuts and the sun-dried tomato.