Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf

Happy weekend, everyone! As you may have noticed, things look a little different around here! Budget Bytes has gotten a sparkly new makeover. We’re still working through a couple display issues, so please be patient, but I promise to post a blog tour once everything is where it should be. :) I can’t wait to show you the new features and how to easily find just what you’re looking for. But in the mean time, I still have recipes to share (like this Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf)!

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf is a tasty little skillet dish that can easily be used as a side dish for roasted meat (I’m thinking something like Herb Roasted Pork Loin or Greek Marinated Chicken), or can be served in bigger portions as a vegetarian main dish. With its herby flavor and bright pops of lemon and feta, it definitely has enough going on to stand on its own. I’m going to be eating it as a main dish this week, probably sometimes topped with a fried egg (because I luuuuurv my fried eggs).

It cooks up quickly with only one skillet and very little chopping. This one should freeze pretty well, too, so if you have leftovers don’t let them go to waste!

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf - BudgetBytes.com

4.6 from 27 votes
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Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf

This Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf is infused with herbs and bright pops of lemon and feta. Cooks in one skillet for easy cleanup! 

Total Cost $4.71 recipe / $0.79 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 (1 cup each)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 yellow onion $0.14
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp oregano $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp cumin $0.03
  • 1 cup long grain white rice $0.33
  • 1/2 lb. frozen chopped spinach $0.80
  • 15 oz. can chickpeas $1.15
  • 1 fresh lemon $0.85
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth $0.22
  • 1 oz. feta, crumbled $0.56

Instructions

  1. Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil over medium heat in a deep skillet until the onion are soft and transparent (about 3-5 minutes).
  2. Add the smoked paprika, oregano, cumin, and dry rice to the skillet. Stir and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes to toast the rice and spices. You should hear the rice popping and it should begin to look slightly transparent.
  3. Drain the chickpeas and add them to the skillet along with the frozen spinach (no need to thaw). Zest the lemon and set the zest aside. Squeeze about 2 Tbsp of the lemon's juice into the skillet. Add the vegetable broth and stir the ingredients to combine.
  4. Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow it to come to a boil, then immediately turn it down to low or just above low. Let the skillet continue to simmer for 20 minutes, with the lid in place. After 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit undisturbed for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and fluff the skillet with a fork to redistribute the chickpeas and spinach. Sprinkle the lemon zest and crumbled feta over the skillet just before serving.

Recipe Notes

The pilaf is shown with parsley, which is an optional garnish, but not needed for flavor.

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf - BudgetBytes.com

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf - BudgetBytes.com

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf - BudgetBytes.com

Step by Step Photos

Sauté Onion and Garlic

Mince two cloves of garlic and dice one yellow onion. Sauté the onion and garlic with 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a deep skillet until the onion are soft and transparent.

Add Spices

Add 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp oregano, and 1/4 tsp cumin.

Sauté Rice and Spices

Add one cup long grain rice (uncooked). Sauté the rice and spices over medium heat for about 2 minutes. You’ll hear the rice snapping and popping and it should begin to look a little transparent. This toasts the rice and spices and increases their flavor.

Add Spinach and Chickpeas

Add 1/2 lb. of frozen chopped spinach (just estimate 1/2 of a one pound bag), and one 15oz. can of chickpeas (drained).

Add Lemon Juice

Zest the lemon and set the zest aside. Squeeze about 2 Tbsp of juice into the skillet.

Add Broth

Add 1 3/4 cups of vegetable broth to the skillet and stir to combine all the ingredients.

Simmer Skillet

Place a lid on the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high, and let it come to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low (or just above low) and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. The goal is to keep the heat on the lowest setting that keeps the liquid simmering. This will vary a bit from range to range and depending on the thickness of your cookware.

Simmered Pilaf

After it has simmered 20 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit with the lid still on for an additional 5 minutes. Finally remove the lid and it will look a little something like the photo above.

Fluff with Fork

Fluff it up with a fork and stir the spinach and chick peas back into the rice.

Add Feta and Lemon Zest

Finally, sprinkle the lemon zest and 1 oz crumbled feta over top (you really don’t need a whole lot of feta for this one). I added parsley to brighten up the photos, but it’s not really needed for the flavor, unless you’re really a parsley fan.

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf - BudgetBytes.com

So yummers!

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf - BudgetBytes.com

I’m definitely topping this one with an egg, cuz that’s how I do.

Spinach and Chickpea Rice Pilaf - BudgetBytes.com