Worknight Dinner Recipe: Warm Spinach Salad with Brown Rice & Feta

by Maris Callahan on January 7, 2010


Earlier this week, I decided that I would start eating healthier. It isn’t a “New Year’s Resolution”  and I’m not “on a diet” but when possible, I’m making a commitment to myself to eat fresh whole foods, fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of water.

To help inspire you, I posted six recipes that anyone can cook (which for the most part are all figure-friendly). Then what do you know? But the next day all I can talk about is chocolate chip biscotti.

Even though it’s no secret that I am easily distracted by all things chocolate chip it’s a new year and people are trying to eat healthy. There’s been a lot of debate on the internet lately about whether weight directly affects a person’s health: can someone be overweight and still healthy?

I’m not a doctor or a scientist (or a size 4) but all I do know is that I feel better when I am working out regularly and eating a healthy, balanced diet. And what I also know is that I like me some sweets.

So to balance out my share of treats like chocolate chip biscotti I make sure that most of my meals are nutritious and have reasonable calories. That doesn’t stop me from having my way with a bowl of butter-soaked gnocchi on an occasional Saturday night, but it does propel me to prepare salads, wraps and lean meats for weeknight meals.

Recently, this salad made the line-up. Brown rice isn’t an ingredient I use often; I don’t love rice. So when it wound up in my pantry this weekend I took the opportunity to boil a bag – ten minutes in the microwave in a glass or microwave-safe bowl – that I could stretch into a few meals fror the week.


Warm Spinach Salad with Brown Rice & Feta

Serves one as a main dish, 2 as a side


1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cups baby spinach, rinsed and torn
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 oz sliced almonds
2 ounces reduced-fat feta cheese


1. In a heavy-bottomed saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat until pan begins to appear shiny. Add spinach and cranberries and cook about 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until spinach begins to wilt.

2. Reduce burner heat to medium-low. Add brow rice, stirring until incorporated. Cook 2-3 minutes longer

3. Remove pan from heat, stir in almonds and then feta. Serve with crusty bread or your favorite soup as a main dish or share with a friend or special someone as a side dish.

Note: It should also be said that this dish is perfect for the dishwasher-free like me, because you need one bowl to cook the rice in and one pan for the spinach on the stove top. You can use measuring cups for the ingredients but if you trust your chef-ly instinct, feel free to eyeball estimates.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Cate O'Malley January 7, 2010 at 9:39 am

Wouldn’t have thought to put the rice with the salad, but it’s definitely a new twist I can try!


kat January 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

Nice salad, especially the cranberries which are very good for you.


Libby January 7, 2010 at 2:25 pm

yum. This one sounds good. I’m in a feta phase now, so I’ll definitely give this a try :-)


Sarah Caron January 7, 2010 at 3:52 pm

What an interesting idea! I’ve never thought of putting rice into a salad before. Going to give it a shot.


ToKissTheCook January 7, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I really like this concept. The concept of add a warm healthy element to a cold salad. Jason just did this with arborio rice and Greek salad yesterday and it sounded delicious. Healthy New Year! Woo!


Jenny January 7, 2010 at 5:00 pm

It’s all about moderation. I think you’ve got a great mindset :)
And this warm salad idea is something I’d love to try! I’m not a huge rice fan either, but if I can make it interesting, it’s okay.


mandy January 7, 2010 at 5:22 pm

I am a fan of rice and cranberries and spinach. This is right up my alley.


rachel-asouthernfairytale January 7, 2010 at 5:52 pm

I love spinach and feta.. and occasionally, brown rice.
The salad looks and sounds delicious!
Here’s to eating healthier :-)


Caz January 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Yum that sounds delicious! I’ve been eating a ton of salads lately, but am often wanting something to bulk them up to make them more dinner satisfying. Brown rice is an awesome idea!


kage January 7, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Recipes – amazing….I’m the same – eating healthier without necessarily being “on a diet” or under the spell of some resolution doomed to fail!


Meal Makeover Mom Janice January 8, 2010 at 9:24 am

Yum yum, all my favorite foods! Glad you are settling into Chicago. Come visit us in Boston anytime!


Sonja @ ActiveFoodie January 9, 2010 at 12:08 am

What a great salad! I love adding a warm element to salads, it makes it feel more like a comforting meal. I can’t wait to try this combination!


Kerstin January 9, 2010 at 12:26 pm

What a lovely salad! I like the brown rice addition because it bulks things up a bit but is still healthy!


Lexi January 10, 2010 at 11:13 am

This sounds really good! I am off to the grocery store this afternoon,so I think I may add a few of these things to my shopping cart!


Susan January 11, 2010 at 10:30 pm

That recipe looks amazing!


Heather (The Single Dish) January 14, 2010 at 11:07 am

This looks great, and perfect for the week night! I will have to make it soon :)


Yummy Food March 10, 2010 at 3:53 am

Spinach Is really Good for Health…Thanks for Sharing.


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