Brown rice with carrots and spinach

Serves 6

I know the thought of brown rice makes many people's heart sink – gluggy, boring and bland. But I have always loved pulses and grains so this is a dish that I am drawn to. I think you will find that when all the other ingredients are stirred through, it is quite delicious and satisfying

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into one-inch chunks
200g/7oz short-grain rice
200g/7oz spinach, rinsed wellto remove any grit
50ml/2fl oz mild extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
100ml/31/2fl oz light soy sauce
The juice of one lemon
3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch of basil, leaves only

Place the carrots in a pan and add enough cold water to just cover, then add a good pinch of salt. Place over a medium heat and cook until just tender – this will take about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the carrots are cooking, rinse the rice well under running water and place in a heavy-based saucepan. Cover with enough cold water to come one-inch above the rice, add a pinch of salt, place a lid on the pan and simmer for 35 minutes – the rice should be tender, but still have a bite. Check the water every now and then while the rice is cooking, for it may need to be topped up from time to time.

Once tender, remove from the heat and, if necessary, drain off any excess water. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach has just wilted. Now simply add all the other ingredients, stir well to combine and serve.

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