Lentils, Brown Rice, and Spinach

Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

  • About

Lentils and rice were always a welcome combination at our house. My mom still uses a lot of lentils in her cooking. We love their delicious flavor, and we like knowing that lentils are rich in protein and iron and are also fat-free. At Claire’s, we often use twenty or more pounds per week.


  • 1 pound lentils, picked over
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 cup brown rice, uncooked
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 10-ounce bag fresh spinach, rinsed well and chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Grated Romano cheese (optional)


    1. Put the lentils and water in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the brown rice, bay leaves, and parsley. Lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the beans and rice are very soft, about 1¼ hours. Keep the mixture warm. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, until softened but not brown.
    2. Add the spinach, basil, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted. Add the spinach mixture to the lentils and stir to combine. Taste for seasonings. Serve with plenty of good bread for dunking, and sprinkle with grated Romano, if desired.