Rice & Lentils with Vegetables (Chicken Optional)

Heidi Hoerman


This recipe takes it spice inspiration from Moorish Spain and North Africa. The sweet spiciness of cinnamon with the acidic heat of cumin and the rich warmth of smoked paprika impart a tastiness to the plainer ingredients.

This recipe can be made vegetarian by simply omitting the chicken.


★★★★★ 1 vote

2 as a main dish
15 Min
45 Min


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1/2 c
1/2 c
lentils (any), dry
1/4 tsp
2 c
boiling water


1 Tbsp
olive oil
1 stick
celery, diced
1 dash(es)
asafoetida (hing)
replace celery and asafoetida with 1/2 small onion, diced, and 1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 c
sliced yellow summer squash or zucchini
3 c
fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp
6 oz
cooked chicken, diced


3 Tbsp
olive oil
2 Tbsp
red wine vinegar or lemon juice
1/2 tsp
ground cumin
1/2 tsp
ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp
smoked paprika, hot paprika or chili powder
1/4 tsp
black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 tsp

How to Make Rice & Lentils with Vegetables (Chicken Optional)


  • 1Preheat oven to 375F. Wash and drain the lentils, discarding any debris.
  • 2In a square glass baking dish, mix together rice, lentils, and salt. Stir in boiling water. Cover with foil.
  • 3Bake 30 minutes or until both rice and lentils are well cooked (pleasantly softened and not raw tasting). Drain and discard any remaining water.
  • 4Using medium high heat, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saute pan (with cover for steaming the spinach later). Saute the celery and asafoetida (or onion and garlic) for about 3 minutes.
  • 5Add sliced squash and continue to saute on medium high heat, allowing the squash to toast a bit, about 5 minutes.
  • 6Add the spinach and 1 tablespoon water and cover to steam the spinach for 1 minute. Optionally, add chicken, replace the cover and heat an additional minute or until the spinach is soft and the chicken is heated through.
  • 7In a tightly sealed container, shake the 3 tablespoons olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, salt, and pepper with the 3 tablespoons olive oil and the red wine vinegar until thoroughly mixed.
  • 8Pour the dressing into the spinach and squash mixture while it is still on the heat. Stir and remove from heat. Allow to sit one minute in the hot pan to help the spices mellow.
  • 9Toss together the rice and lentils with the dressed spinach and squash mixture. Serve.

Printable Recipe Card

About Rice & Lentils with Vegetables (Chicken Optional)

Course/Dish: Other Main Dishes
Dietary Needs: Vegetarian
Other Tags: Quick & Easy, Healthy

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