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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132 Comments

  • Reply Lilly July 2, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Loved this recipe and will be making it weekly! Thank you! (Tomato paste is a must for me btw)5 stars

  • Reply Andriana June 30, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Thank you, thank you thank you! This is the best recipe I have found, it is so good and very close to my yiayias!5 stars

  • Reply Elna van der Merwe June 11, 2021 at 7:27 am

    I am making this for the second time today as the first time round it was so delicious! Thank you so much, Elena. Today I am adding a whole bunch of mint leaves. Also, I only now discovered the function where I can type in the number of servings – and then have the ingredients adapted. So helpful!

  • Reply joan liakos April 7, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Tasted just like yiayias! Loved it.

  • Reply Karen Neale March 29, 2021 at 8:21 pm

    I love love love your cookbook. I’m making one or two recipes a week, and I just made this one. It’s perfect!5 stars

  • Reply Tracy March 3, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Gunna make this today

  • Reply iliana February 10, 2021 at 3:12 am

    Surprisingly fresh and delicious! My grandma use to make it without the lemon. I like it with lemon better!5 stars

  • Reply Lynette January 22, 2021 at 12:22 am

    Just made this and came out delicious and is very comforting. I recommend always using the tomato paste bc that’s how my yia ya made it .5 stars

  • Reply Stephanie Birn January 21, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Can I use frozen spinach?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 21, 2021 at 2:52 pm

      Generally frozen spinach doesn’t provide the texture and flavor as fresh.

  • Reply Jackie January 17, 2021 at 1:10 am

    Made this tonight for the first time and I was very pleased with the results. Worked well as a side dish with salmon. Will definitely make this again.5 stars

  • Reply Leah January 7, 2021 at 4:27 am

    Love your site! It is helping me add so many more veggies to my diet!

    I’ve made this recipe a few times now and it never has nearly the spinach-to-rice ratio you have in your picture. It’s WAY more spinach with just a little rice. That’s not a bad thing but I’m wondering if I’m doing it right. Maybe I’m not wilting the spinach enough? It’s arborio rice; is that the issue?

    Thank you!5 stars

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN January 7, 2021 at 10:22 am

      No,it’s not a bad thing at all! Arborio should fine.The spinach continues to cook in the pot so I don’t think it is the wilting.

  • Reply George January 3, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    4+need honey+walnuts. Try.

  • Reply Nicky September 16, 2020 at 2:28 am

    Can I use silverbeet instead of spinach?

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN September 18, 2020 at 5:32 am

      Yes, you can! It will have a slightly different flavor but it will work texture-wise

  • Reply Jean Neely May 20, 2020 at 12:27 am

    This was delicious. I will be making it again!
    The only issue I had was that the rice was not quite done. Close but a few grains had a wee bit of crunch.
    I saw in answer to another comment that it should be covered while the rice is cooking. Yes? I did stir it occasionally to make sure all the grains got submerged at times. I was afraid to add too much water and make it too soupy. Any more details you can give about this step?
    Thanks!!5 stars

    • Reply Elena Paravantes RDN May 20, 2020 at 6:10 am

      Thanks Jean! Yes, it should be covered ( I just added that to the instructions). Regarding the rice, when l make, I’ll taste the rice, if not done I’ll add 1-2 tablespoons at a time of hot water and continue simmering until the rice is done.

  • Reply Anthony Vrondissis April 24, 2020 at 4:26 am

    I love this dish, and thank you for sharing. Have you ever tried cooking any of these rice and vegetable dishes in a slow cooker? If so, how long would it take and what setting would you use?

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