Greek Spinach and Rice – Spanakorizo

Spanakorizo: A traditional Greek rice and spinach dish that will become a winter comfort food, thanks to its wonderful flavor and texture.

spanakorizo Greek spinach and rice

Ah the spanakorizo … This dish was a winter staple in our home. My mom would make it once a week, all winter long. She would usually accompany it with a small cheese pie (tiropitaki) or one or two Greek meatballs, and while you may think that as children we would hate it because of the spinach, it actually was a comfort food.

It is soft and creamy, and along with plenty of lemon juice, a bit of olive oil and of course feta, it was delicious (and still is).

Spanakorizo is such a simple dish as many Greek ones are, but yet delicious and easy to make. Oh, and did I mention its nutritional value? Spinach full of antioxidants and fiber, the lemon helps with some absorption of the iron in the spinach and the rice is a source of carbohydrates to provide sustenance. The actual recipe has little olive oil during the cooking stage, but adding some olive oil while serving makes it even more delicious and the addition of fat helps with the absorption of antioxidants. Now this recipe makes about 2 main course servings, so basically you are getting ½ pound of vegetables in one sitting. The beauty of the Greek diet… getting your vegetables effortlessly.

The rice

A note about the rice: It is important to use the right type which in this case is medium grain rice. You do not want short grain rice which may end up giving your dish a sticky texture, but not long grain either as you will not have the smooth texture we are looking for in this recipe. As for brown rice, it takes a while longer to cook, it will not have the same texture will not cook to the point of being creamy and as a result you may be overcooking the spinach as well.

*Most traditional Greek recipes require medium grain rice, here in Greece it is called “Carolina” but you may use Arborio if you are unable to find medium grain. From a quick search on Google there are several brands that carry medium grain rice.

Serve it with

This can be enjoyed plain (without feta) for a vegan dish or with feta. And this is considered a main course, but you may serve it as a side dish. It goes well with fish or beef patties (biftekia).

You may also like these recipes

Greek cuisine has numerous delicious rice-vegetable combo recipes. Check out some of my favorites:
Greek Leeks and Rice – Prasorizo
Greek Cabbage with Rice – Lahanorizo
One-Pot Greek Zucchini Rice

Greek Spinach and Rice – Spanakokorizo

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Spanakorizo: A traditional Greek rice and spinach dish that will become a winter staple, thanks to its flavor.
Course: Entree, Side Dish
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Vegan
Keyword: Spanakorizo Greek Spinach Rice
Servings: 2 Main Course servings or 4 sides
Calories: 350kcal
Author: OliveTomato.com
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound (450 g) fresh spinach rinsed
  • Juice of half lemon
  • 1 onion chopped or 2-3 spring onions chopped
  • 2 ½ tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • I teaspoon dry mint
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup (60 g) medium grain rice
  • Salt/Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste optional

Instructions

  • In a large pot wilt the spinach with the lemon juice and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Set aside to drain.
  • In another pot sauté the onion with the rest of the olive oil until soft.
  • Add the spinach, dry mint, dill and 2/3 cup warm water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the rice, salt (as needed) and pepper and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes until rice is soft. Add additional warm water as needed.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature with a squeeze of lemon juice and a bit of olive oil and feta.

Notes

You may add the tomato paste in step 4.
Nutrition Facts
Greek Spinach and Rice – Spanakokorizo
Amount per Serving
Calories
350
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Greek Spinach and Rice Spanakorizo

Image by Elena Paravantes © All Rights Reserved


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125 Comments

  • Reply Gail Dunning January 10, 2022 at 1:03 am

    This was easy to make and good. My only issue was that I don’t have a pan big enough for 1 pound of spinach! Because it is good and easy I will make it again and figure out how to avoid a spinach explosion.5 stars

  • Reply Courtney Riedel January 7, 2022 at 10:04 pm

    How do you think kale would taste in this instead of spinach?

  • Reply Regina January 5, 2022 at 12:55 am

    I made this for dinner tonight and absolutely loved it. I made it with Arborio because that was the only medium grain rice I could find in my store. I used about 1/3 of a large onion. I’ll definitely make again!5 stars

  • Reply Michelle January 5, 2022 at 12:05 am

    Was yummy! I was pleasantly surprised on the flavor and how easy it was to make.5 stars

  • Reply Elsa January 4, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    Yes this is a delicious comfort food that is healthy!5 stars

  • Reply Sandi January 4, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    I made the recipe yesterday and because the weather was so hot here, 27C I put the dish in the refrigerator for later. When having a salad lunch I thought to add two heaped tablespoons of the cold spinach and rice and found it a yummy addition to the salad. delicious.

  • Reply Kim January 4, 2022 at 12:16 am

    I made a horta version tonight. Had lots of beet greens leftover from yesterday’s lunch (beets) and todays breakfast (roasted beet stems). Would typically make the whole recipe annd save leftovers for lunch, but only had haf a pound of greens. Used instant brown rice, but didn’t change any amounts or times. Had dry dill and fresh mint, so thought I’d adjusted the recipe accordingly, but ended up with full amount of both. Also added tomato paste. Feta replaced need for salt, but added pepper. Very good. Will have to try it again and follow the directions.

    • Reply OliveTomato.com January 4, 2022 at 9:59 am

      Brown instant rice absorbs different amounts of water. This recipe works best and the method is best using medium grain white rice.

  • Reply Tracy Willans January 3, 2022 at 11:52 pm

    I will use brown rice. I find that as long as I give it a good long soak prior to cooking it takes the same amount of time as white rice

  • Reply Konstantina January 3, 2022 at 11:28 pm

    Growing up Greek, mom always made this dish at least twice a week as a main dish or as a side. Delicious with lots of lemon squeezed on it and feta crumbled on top. Oh such beautiful memories!!5 stars

  • Reply Wendy December 12, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Excellent! I make this every week! It is so good!5 stars

  • Reply Andrea October 28, 2021 at 8:02 pm

    I love this! Reminds me of my childhood… If I made a big batch (and manage to not eat the whole lot in one go) would it freeze?

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