Tuscan Tomato Rice Bowl

It has been a loooong time since I’ve shared a recipe, or at least it feels that way.  When Trader Joe’s didn’t have what I needed to make a lentil curry dish for lunch this week, I was forced to go against the list.

Regular readers probably know that I’m a stickler to my store list.  My handy-dandy list limits impulse buys, ensures I remember (most) things, and keeps me from wandering around like a lost and very confused child.  Yes, the list is a must, so you can imagine how devastating it can be when my little TJ’s is missing 3 of the 5 ingredients I need for a recipe.

I improvised.  TJ’s – 1, Tiff – 0.  But my improvisations helped me make something awesome.  TJ’s – 1, Tiff – 1.  It’s a tie; I’ll leave it at that.

rice bowl of yum

Tuscan Tomato Rice Bowl

the yums


  • 5 servings of brown rice
  • 3 cups low-sodium veggie broth (best if it’s got a fair amount of tomato in it)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • small handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, chunked/diced/whatev
  • 1/2 cup fresh, thinly sliced basil
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (looking back, I think I’d buy a frozen box of it next time)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 3 oz sliced, sun dried tomatoes NOT in oil (I used 5/6 the full 3 oz.  I ate 1/6 in a sandwich.  Recommended!)


  1. Cook rice according to package directions in broth.  Meanwhile, prepare other ingredients.
  2. Heat oil in pan.  Add onion and saute until soft.
  3. When rice as 10 minutes remaining, gradually fold or stir in spinach.  It will wilt and cook down significantly.
  4. To onions, add fresh tomatoes and basil.  Cook and stir 3 minutes or so, then remove from heat.
  5. When rice is done cooking and needs to rest, stir in any remaining spinach, chickpeas, and sun dried tomatoes.  Then stir in the onion, basil, and tomato mixture.  Let all ingredients cool slightly.  Serve into 5 containers for a week of awesome lunches.
ready 2 go

This comes to approximately 310 calories per serving if you divide it into 5 servings.  It really depends on which ingredients you choose, but that’s about what mine equaled.

Note 1: I would have loved to have added a little more fresh spinach and some toasted pine nuts.  However, I cook on a budget.  I also cook simple meals.  I think you all will appreciate both aspects.  If not, go buy yourself some pine nuts.  I bet they’re lovely.

Note 2: I would have also loved to add feta cheese.  That’s no surprise.  I’m also keeping an eye on calories, and I think many of you will appreciate that as well.  If not, go buy yourself some feta.  I bet it’s lovely.

By the way… I named this “Tuscan” because of this funny “news” article from The Onion:

Area Woman Will Eat Anything With ‘Tuscan’ In Name

MARCH 2, 2009 | ISSUE 45-10

JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, NJ—Veterinary assistant Lauren Millardi, 27, will eat any dish prefaced with the word “Tuscan,” sources reported Monday. “Tuscan shrimp, Tuscan garlic chicken, it doesn’t matter,” said Millardi’s boyfriend, Tim Vernacini. “I’m not really sure if she even knows what makes food Tuscan, but there’s something about that region-specific culinary modifier that she finds inordinately appetizing.” Vernacini added that Millardi likely would have loved the 2003 movie Under The Tuscan Sun had it not failed to meet her strict film criterion of having taken place between the years of 1743 and 1919.

This dish would actually be much more “Tuscan” if it included white beans and orzo instead of chickpeas and rice.  Close enough though, right?

29 Responses to “Tuscan Tomato Rice Bowl”

  1. Looks good Tiff…The Onion is awesome… 🙂 Have a great day girl!

  2. Wow 5 meals?! That’s economical AND delicious 😀 Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  3. Haha Tuscan DOES kind of make everything sound a bit fancier, although I have no idea what makes a meal Tuscan either… It looks delicious though 😀

  4. Haha I love that news article…so random. That meal looks awesome! I need to be economical when I go back to school since I’m on a grad school budget, so this type of thing is perfect 🙂

  5. Hahahaaaa i love that movie! Love the lunch bowl and i’m a fan of the list too but i do get distracted by new products (insert mental image of donna wandering away from cart mid aisle coo-ing look how shiny this new packaging is here) 🙂 🙂 🙂

  6. Looks great!!! Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I’m the same way with my list. I make it on Sunday for the week and I only buy things on the list. It makes me fly through the grocery store too. I’m in and out in 40 minutes.

  8. Lol using the word Tuscon definitely makes it sound nice and fancy 🙂 I need to budget when I go back to school soon, so this is a great reminder that I need to get on that!

  9. Trader Joe’s is the best for quick healthy meals… Just had the frozen brown rice last night. I love that it’s already cooked!! Huge time savor…

  10. This sounds delicious! I’ll have to halve the recipe to accommodate just myself!

  11. That article is funny / random! She only watched films that had been made between 1743 and 1919?! Quirky bugger! haha 🙂 Your food looks yummy! I love dishes like that!! I also I love how organised you are! I really must learn! 🙂

  12. This sounds absolutely delicious! I would love to try it with orzo. And I totally will order anything with te word Tuscan in it- always yummy 🙂

  13. This looks SO delicious!!! I love that you cook simple meals..that is right up my alley! Bookmarking this now

    • Simple Indeed! It was really easy, and it didn’t take much time since you can prep all the other ingredients while the rice cooks. I even found time to wash some extra dishes!

  14. That looks so good! I need to follow your lead and (a) stick to a grocery budget which is a never-ending battle for me; and (b) make lunches for my week! I try, but you do much better than me!!

  15. Mmm this looks great! I bet the pine nuts / feta would be a great touch!

  16. I need to make more stuff like that to take to work for lunch! I’m starting to get sick of the turkey wraps I’ve been eating for the past few weeks.

  17. Thanks for the laugh! That does look good.

  18. Yum, i love a good rice bowl. And I will eat anything with Tuscan in the title. It makes me feel like I should be in rustic cafe somewhere sipping wine.

  19. This sounds like something that my Mr. A will have to make for me in the near future.

    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  20. Hey, great improv! So healthy and filling, I love it! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  21. Yum that looks delicious, I need to give that a try!


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