This is a really easy, simple recipe without the added sodium from broth or bullion cubes. It's light, flavorful, healthy and really filling! I like having this with a crisp salad and crusty artisan bread.
Heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, celery and carrots, sprinkle with salt, and stir. Sweat the vegetables until their moisture is released and they begin to soften.
Add everything except the canned tomatoes, zucchini and spinach. Add the water slowly and make sure it covers the vegetables by at least 1 inch, also making sure there is room in the pot for the last few ingredients.
Turn the heat to high, bringing the water to a boil, reduce and simmer for at least 30 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender and the lentils and rice are cooked.
Add the tomatoes and zucchini and simmer for another 10 minutes. Before serving, add the spinach and stir well to combine everything. Add more salt or pepper if needed.