This dish promises to put you to sleep... no, really!

You can serve this warm as a veggie supper or with grilled fish, lamb or chicken. The brown rice and chickpeas are both good sources of tryptophan and have a natural sedative effect.

Greek rice pilaf with lemony greens, dill and chickpeas

Serves 4
15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes

90ml olive oil
1 bunch spring onions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
4 tomatoes, skinned and chopped
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 kg spinach, washed, trimmed and chopped
1 small bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
juice of 1 large lemon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Greek yoghurt to serve

For the rice pilaf
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
225g brown rice (dry weight)
1 tsp paprika
480ml chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon
1 long strip of lemon zest
a handful of fresh dill, chopped
4 tbsp currants


Make the rice pilaf: heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pan over a low to medium heat and cook the onion, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until tender. Add the rice and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring all the time. Stir in the paprika and then add the chicken stock, lemon juice and zest and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked and has absorbed all the stock. Remove the lemon zest and add the dill and currants. Fluff up the rice with a fork.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan and cook the spring onions and garlic over a low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until tender.

Stir in the ground spices and paprika and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and spinach and cook gently for 3-4 minutes until the spinach wilts and the chickpeas are warmed through. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then stir in the chopped dill and lemon juice.

Divide the rice pilaf between four bowls and top with the chickpea and spinach mixture. Serve with some Greek yoghurt.

Extracted from Eat to Sleep by Heather Thomas and Alina Tierney, MSc (Vermilion, approx €15). Photography by Joff Lee.



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