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

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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: Elena Paravantes
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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 (preferably spearmint)
  • 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


150 Comments

  1. So simple and so delicious! Definitely more than the sum of its parts. I used Arborio rice, topped the finished dish with a couple of spoonfuls of chickpeas and a handful of crumbled feta. Finished with some peppery Cretean olive oil , a sprinkling of lemon juice and more pepper. What a relaxing dish to prepare and what a luscious reward5 stars

  2. Just made this as per recipe from the med book. Very nice with just some crumbled Feta.
    I can’t believe how tasty these simple dishes are.
    Every time I start cooking one I’m thinking “this can’t be right” (I didn’t think the amount of rice would be enough) but then it turns out delish !5 stars

  3. Made this tonight with pearl barley (rice comes in 10kg bags where I live, and I don’t need 10kg of rice–plus, I wanted to try mt hand at barley). Half-cooked the barley first, and adjusted the water to barley instead of rice, but otherwise followed the plan and it came out really nice. AND it smelled so nice while cooking!5 stars

  4. If I wanted to make the spanikorizo as a side for 40 people, how much spinach and rice would I need? Thanks, Lester

  5. I made this as written the first time and enjoyed it, but wanted to make this with brown rice instead of white for health reasons, so I used 1 pound of frozen chopped spinach (that I squeezed hard in my hands to get out as much moisture as possible), and I doubled the measurement for the rice.

    I don’t know if the TEXTURE is what you have in mind, but the taste was similar, and to use brown rice I just did the recipe and put the brown rice for 20 minutes, then added the spinach for the final 20 minutes, then took off the lid and turned up the heat and stirred until any excess moisture was gone (I should have squeezed the spinach more thoroughly), then took it off heat, covered it, and let it sit for 10 minutes.

    Very tasty. I’ll make it again.5 stars

    1. My kids always beg me to make this recipe! I use a bag of frozen spinach and triple the rice and water. Sometimes I just chuck all the ingredients into my instant pot for 20 minutes. It turns out great everytime!5 stars

  6. I didn’t have any issue. It doesn’t specify fresh dill or dried dill but I just used freeze-dried dill (Lighthouse brand) which is usually in the produce section of the grocery store. At any rate, if not for you, leave it out. It’s the lemon, spinach, olive oil that makes it, and any recipe can be tweaked to your liking.

  7. Loved this. Can’t eat spinach so used collards. Also, I’ve been substituting Minute brown rice for white in most of my recipes. turned out great. I did add the rice first, then put the spinach on top. Closed the lid and it was done to perfection.

  8. I make this every fortnight in a large batch for lunches. Such a delicious recipe, I crave it. So simple and delicious. Very comforting.
    If I want to add more protein, a can of drained chickpeas goes very nicely in it.
    I love it as a stand alone dish, or as a side to some yummy lemony fish.

  9. Hi Renee, You first wilt the spinach in a pan as noted in the step 1. Then you add the water and 1/3 cup of rice and everything cooks together. There is no point where you drain the rice.

    1. Utterly delish!
      I done every step until the rice cooking, I put it in my rice cooker, came out perfect.
      Sprinkled with feta and oil.
      Yummy.5 stars

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