Brown Rice Paella with Chickpeas - Cook for Your Life- anti-cancer recipes

Brown Rice & Chickpea Paella

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Clock Icon for Prep Time 30 min prep
Person Icon for Serving Size 4 servings
Carrot Icon for Number of Ingredients Size 16 ingredients

No need to be intimidated by the ingredient list, the super simple cooking method makes up for it. You can even use leftover Brown Rice to cut down the number of steps!


  • 1¼ cups short-grain brown rice
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoons crumbled saffron threads
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • ½ pound washed spinach leaves or frozen leaf spinach
  • 2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Nutrition Facts


441 cals


19 g

Saturated Fat

3 g

Polyunsaturated Fat

4 g

Monounsaturated Fat

12 g


60 g


4 g


7 g


10 g


131 mg


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the rice and 2½ cups of the stock, bring to a boil, lower the heat and cover. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, in a pot combine 1/4 cup of water and enough broth to bring it to 1¼ cups of liquid. Bring to a boil, add the saffron threads, cover and keep warm.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a wide paella pan over medium-high heat. Add the pine nuts and brown slightly, then add the garlic, onions, and red pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until the vegetables are slightly wilted. Add the tomatoes and parsley and sauté 2-3 minutes or until the tomatoes have cooked down. Add the spinach and cook until it has wilted, if using fresh, or when thawed, if using frozen.
  4. Stir in the paprika, thyme, cumin, and oregano, and blend well. Add the partially cooked rice, along with any remaining broth, coating it well with the mixture.
  5. Pour in the saffron infused broth and bring to a boil. Taste for salt. Add the chickpeas and continue to boil, stirring and rotating the pan occasionally.
  6. When the rice is no longer soupy but there is still liquid left to cook (this should take about 5 minutes), transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until the rice is almost al dente. Cover the pan with foil and let the paella sit in a warm place for about 10 minutes until the rice is cooked to taste.

Chef Tips

If you like to cook your chickpeas from scratch, and a little heat in your food, cook them with a small dried chipotle pepper and a couple of whole cloves of garlic, and use the broth as part of the stock for the paella.

Registered Dietitian Approved

All our recipes are created by chefs and reviewed by our oncology-trained staff Registered Dietitian, Kate Ueland, MS, RD, to ensure that each is backed with scientific evidence and meets the standards set by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


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