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
Print Recipe Pin Recipe

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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132 Comments

  • Reply Patricia Reilly March 15, 2020 at 4:34 am

    This feels so delicious to my mind’s tongue! I thought I might serve it on a buffet in mini pitas with a scatter of chopped tomato and perhaps black olive to make it zip . Would that be blasphemous?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN March 19, 2020 at 11:36 am

      Sounds like an interesting idea, although the flavors of this recipe are best showcased as is, with a squeeze of lemon and some feta. It also may be a bit liquidy and may make the pita soggy.

  • Reply Brenda February 24, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    We use alot of your recipes and love them all but this one is incredible. Literally can’t stop eating it!!

  • Reply Alexandra December 1, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Excellent!! My favorite recipe, works every time we make it a few times a month.5 stars

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN December 1, 2019 at 8:47 am

      Thank you Alexandra!

    • Reply Tanya January 4, 2022 at 4:56 am

      Can the leftovers be frozen? Would freezing take away any of the nutrition? Thanks.

  • Reply jean spagadoros November 27, 2019 at 6:08 am

    05 stars

  • Reply Nejat October 30, 2019 at 9:24 am

    Hi Elena, Can I use pudding rice?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN November 6, 2019 at 6:26 am

      The rice should be medium grain, otherwise the texture will not be right.

  • Reply Duncan Witt October 11, 2019 at 6:28 am

    Staying at our house on Skiathos Island, we like to cook authentic Greek meals. Thank you for this great site with lovely recipes. My wife didn’t like spinach until I cooked Spinach this way with the rice and onion, I followed the recipe except I added the wilted spinach at the end. Needless to say she loved it so much so that we have had it twice in a week! Many thanks.

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN October 11, 2019 at 6:35 am

      Thank you for sharing Duncan! Happy that this recipe changed your wife’s opinion about spinach 🙂

  • Reply Gabriela August 1, 2019 at 2:34 am

    Thank you for this recipe, it’s the first time I have made rice with spinach that turned out right! I love it.
    I made your praso rizo as well and it was delicious. I had no clue that rice with lemon could work so well.
    I loooove your blog!

  • Reply O. Filakouris May 13, 2019 at 7:56 pm

    Do you think I could make this with quinoa?

  • Reply Lucy M Garcia May 11, 2019 at 8:03 pm

    do you cover the rice while its cooking.

  • Reply Dan May 11, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Hi, I tried your recipe and loved the flavor! The only thing is I have no reference since I’m completely new to Greek cuisine and where I live, there is no place for reference, so I’m not sure about its consistency. I know this dish is probably its own thing and I’m embarrassed to even ask, but should I aim more for the consistency of pilaf or that of risotto?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 11, 2019 at 5:36 pm

      Hi Dan, It should have more of a soft consistency (not totally like a risotto but it should well cooked. A good spanakorizo should not have a pilaf consistency.

    • Reply Duncan Witt October 11, 2019 at 6:15 am

      In answer to Lucy. If you cover rice or pasta it will boil over onto the cooker.

      • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN October 11, 2019 at 6:17 am

        Thanks Duncan, in this case you would cover it as it is simmering with the spinach, so it would not boil over.

  • Reply Calsly March 4, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Hello; I’m new to your site and wanted to say thank you, this dish is absolutely delicious and incredibly filling. I have also prepared the Barley Rusks and it was delicious and crispy this morning with greek yogurt and tomato. I am so glad I found your site!

  • Reply Ann Sims February 26, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    I am new to the Med diet and so delighted to find this website. I made this Spanakopita and fell in love. I love lemons so that’s why I tried this recipe first. Even my husband who doesn’t like spinach ate his full share and agreed to have it again. I omitted the tomato & feta and used Parmesan & pine nuts.

  • Reply Michelle February 7, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Thank you so much for this recipe!
    I’ve been trying to incorporate more greens into my diet, and this was just wonderful. It tasted so vibrant and fresh, even using brown rice.
    Thank you!

  • Reply Nan October 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm

    Is this good the next day?

  • Reply Mary September 5, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    I always use cooked brown rice for this recipe. I also add some crushed garlic and use frozen spinach. My husband loves it. He is diabetic and cannot eat white rice. Believe me it turns out very good.

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