Simple spinach lemon rice is a great side dish incorporating the fresh flavors of citrus and herbs. Why serve plain rice when it’s so easy to embellish it? Of course, if you’d like, you can use another grain — quinoa, whole-grain couscous, or farro work well, too.
Whichever you opt for, you’ll need about 4 cups cooked grain. You can also substitute arugula or baby power greens for the spinach.
The goods on the baby greens
Spinach and arugula were once considered cool-weather leafy greens, but now they’re commonly available available year round, along with other baby greens mixes.
All the baby greens following are good used raw as well as lightly cooked. They’re a great addition to smoothies, in which their mild flavor blends beautifully with fruit, and as salad greens.
Spinach comes in a surprising array of varieties, but it seems like many of us have gotten stuck on baby spinach. It’s so convenient — no chopping or stemming. Well, actually, if there are a lot of long skinny stems, I do like to pull some of those off.
And unlike fresh batches of larger leaf varieties, baby spinach is triple washed and super clean. That said though, I still like to give any greens, even those labeled triple-washed, a good rinse before using.
Arugula has a bold flavor, sometimes described as peppery or mustardy, though somehow those fail to capture its unique flavor. Baby or young arugula leaves are less pungent than larger leaves that are left to grow larger before harvesting. Arugula is used raw (in which form it retains more of its bite) and wilted or very lightly cooked.
Arugula is similar to spinach in the ways it can be used, and can be interchanged with it in many dishes, or it can replace part of the amount of spinach called for, like this one.
Power greens are a new addition to the market, combining baby chard, baby kale, and baby spinach in one neat package. You’ll find this located wherever baby spinach and baby arugula are shelved in the produce sections of well-stocked supermarkets.
Learn more in our Guide to Baby Greens.
- 1 cup raw long-grain brown or white rice, rinsed
- 2 to 3 ounces baby spinach (or use arugula or mixed baby power greens)
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or dill, or a combination
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Sliced lemons or lemon wedges
- Parsley or dill sprigs
- Combine the rice with 3 cups water (for brown rice) or 2 1/2 cups water (for white rice) in a saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 30 minutes (for brown rice) and 15 minutes (for white). If the rice isn’t done to your liking, add 1/2 cup more water and simmer until absorbed.
- If you’d like a super fine chop of the baby greens and herbs, combine them in a food processor with the scallions and parsley. Pulse until the mixture has the consistency of pesto, more or less. Otherwise, finely simply chop the greens, scallion, and herbs by hand.
- Once the rice is done, heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the garlic and sauté over low heat until golden, not more than a minute or two.
- Add the rice to the pan along with the chopped spinach, scallions, and herbs. Stir together.
- Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, stirring often.
- Serve at once, using either or both of the garnishes for individual servings.
If you like this simple rice dish, you might also enjoy …
See lots more easy vegan salads & sides.
Photos of Lemony Spinach Rice: Julie208 / Bigstock