Easy Mediterranean Chicken and Spinach Rice Bake

Easy family comfort food- chicken and rice bake with spinach.

Looking for weeknight supper ideas for the (can you believe it's that time of year again?) back-to-school frenzy? This super simple toss-together recipe is budget-friendly and versatile. If you don't have chicken on hand try using pieces of cooked turkey or your favorite sausage. Vegetarian? Use a can of white or black beans instead. The Mediterranean and Santa Fe- thanks to the fresh and unexpected spike from tomatillos- flavors in this fabulous recipe cozy up to a parade of proteins.

A family favorite from the archives, this is easy comfort food to bake and savor before the fall begins its alchemy, spinning green into gold.

Mediterranean Chicken and Spinach Rice Bake Recipe

You'll love the combo of tomatillos and spinach. The citrus zing of the tomatillos adds a definite zip to the usual greens.


1 2-lb bag frozen chopped spinach
2-3 tomatillos, cored, chopped
3 large ripe plum tomatoes, seeded, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Sea salt
Gluten-free Lemon Pepper seasoning
4-6 oz. marinated mozzarella, sliced
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
3 large boneless split chicken breasts
Olive oil, as needed
2 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
Balsamic vinegar, as needed
2 cups cooked brown rice or brown basmati rice


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Thaw the spinach a bit (and pat dry if necessary) so you can scatter half of it in the bottom of a large baking dish. Sprinkle half of the tomatillos, tomatoes and garlic on top. Season with sea salt and lemon pepper. Scatter half the cheeses.

In the meantime, heat up a large skillet and brown the chicken breasts in a little olive oil. Season with sea salt and Lemon Pepper.

Remove the chicken from the pan and cut it into bite-size pieces.

Saute the portobello slices in a little olive oil and good splash of balsamic vinegar, till tender.

Add the cooked chicken and the portobellos to the spinach mixture. Spoon on the rice. Top with the remaining spinach, tomatillos, tomatoes and garlic. Add the remaining sliced mozzarella and goat cheese. Put the pan in the oven. Bake until done, about 25 to 30 minutes, till heated through.

Light a few candles and gather for a feast. This will serve six.

Savor slowly.

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More chicken and rice recipes from fabulous food bloggers:

Lydia's Chicken and Shrimp Jambalaya at The Perfect Pantry
Chicken and Rice Casserole at Simply Recipes
King Ranch Chicken Casserole at Closet Cooking
Grain-free, low carb Greek Lemon Chicken from Kalyn's Kitchen



  1. What exactly are tomatillos? (hides head in shame) I don't think I've ever seen them out here in Boston. If I can't find them, do you have any substitutions that you recommend?

  2. This looks so beautiful! I was doing quite well without spinach, untill all this recall started happening, that I really started craving it...

    PS: Thanks for the veg. tip

  3. bea at La tartine gourmande12:46

    What a vibrant colorful picture of an amazingly attractive dish! Yum!

  4. i love this spontaneous style of cooking - it's so me. the fall flavours are so what i am in the mood for.

    i tried you new mexican baked potatoes as a sunday dinner with the whole extended family - went over very well. i can't say i followed the recipe exactly, as i am prone to improvisation, but thanks for the inspiration, which you continually provide!

  5. Anonymous23:48

    This looks super! What company makes marinated mozzarella? Or do you marinate it yourself?

    I've been *craving* spinach and greens! No fresh greens seem to replicate the lightness (no crunchy watery bits), sophistication, or high green factor (antioxidants, vitamins!!) :(

  6. Anonymous09:13

    Hi Karina! I just wanted to thank you again for another wonderful recipe. I tried this over the weekend with white beans (instead of chicken) and it was scrumptious! I'm going to make it as a side dish for all the veggie lovers at Thanksgiving :-)

  7. Stella10:00

    Yet another wonderful recipe, I made it for lunch and HAD to take two servings of it :-)

  8. Karina15:25

    Tomatillos are husked green tomatoes; their fruit taste slightly tart. Here's a link for you:

    You can sub another kind of tomato if you cannot find tomatillos - I'd suggest yellow tomatoes, or even some chopped yellow pepper.

  9. Karina15:27

    Capelli braided mozzarella marinated in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, red pepper, basil and salt.

    We find it at Trader Joe's.

  10. Ellen at I Am Gluten Free09:26

    Karina - this looks great and perfect for a quick meal. Bet you could sub in any other greens as well. The recipe seems pretty adaptable. Thanks for the inspiration. As usual, looks delish!


    Recent blog:=- Gluten Free Blueberry Scones

  11. Karina - this looks great and perfect for a quick meal. Bet you could sub in any other greens as well. The recipe seems pretty adaptable. Thanks for the inspiration. As usual, looks delish!

  12. Yummy! Can't wait for dinner tonight!

  13. Karina, how can I sub the cheese or will it ruin the dish?

  14. Anna, I am dairy-free now, too, so I make it sans cheese. I just add extra olive oil, grape tomatoes and herbs. Sometimes I sprinkle in nutritional yeast, but I don't really think you need to.

  15. Anonymous20:31

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious!

  16. YUMMY! I don't know how important the layering is. I sort of just threw it all together. I used fresh spinach too, in order to avoid defrosting time. LOVED this recipe.

  17. We just had a baby and friends have been taking turns cooking for us. Tonight the friend was super concerned about cooking for my restricted diet... she searched online and came to your site and brought us this delightful dish. Yummy... loved the goat cheese. I was already a fan of your blog/tweets... thanks for making GF cooking accessible to my intimidated friend.

  18. good one I tried this yesterday and it was very tasteeeee

  19. kristina19:45

    This was fantastic. Even my non-GF-friends loved it. I will go back to this one again and again.

  20. Anonymous19:09

    This is an amazing recipe! I think the flavor and spice balances in your recipe are perfect, but this one is by far my favorite. I make it early in the week so we can eat a lot of leftovers, or to impress some guests. Thanks a lot!