Greek Spinach Rice (Spanakoryzo or Spanakorizo) is a healthy and light Vegetarian dish cooked with extra virgin olive oil, lemon, onions, and dill. It's super simple, very nutritious, and so yummy!
The traditional Spanakorizo recipe is a staple of Greek cuisine. A favorite family comfort food that takes no more than 30 minutes to make (if using fresh spinach it takes a bit longer to prepare the spinach).
What Is Spanakorizo?
Spanakorizo recipe is a Greek spinach and rice dish that's served as a main meal in Greece. It's not a solid rice dish like spinach pilaf for example. Instead, it's a saucy rice dish with more spinach than rice in it and plenty of extra virgin olive oil.
The ingredients you need to make Spanakorizo are:
- Spring Onions
- Garlic (you can use Spring/green garlic if you prefer)
- Medium-grain rice (used in the traditional recipe, you can use long grain if you prefer)
- Spinach. To make the best Spanakorizo recipe use fresh, whole, baby spinach. Otherwise, use just fresh spinach, or in the last case scenario, use frozen spinach.
- Lemon juice + zest
- Dill fresh. Can be swapped for mint.
- Extra virgin olive oil. It needs to be extra virgin olive oil to make this dish really flavorful so avoid using plain olive oil in this recipe.
- Optional: Vegetable or chicken stock. In Greece we just use water but if you want extra flavor use stock instead.
How To Make Spinach Rice
It's very simple! Just saute the onions, garlic, and leek with some extra virgin olive oil. Add the spinach and cook until wilted.
Next, add some more olive oil and the rice and cook for 2 minutes before adding hot water (or stock) to it. Cover with the lid and cook over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes until the rice is cooked. Finish off by mixing in the dill, lemon juice and zest.
About The Rice
As I mentioned above, you can use long-grain rice instead of medium-grain rice to make this rice and spinach dish. Just make sure you rinse the rice well before using. This will remove dust and debris, reduce the amount of arsenic in the rice, but also help the rice absorb water and cook more easily.
If you want a thicker more gelatinous rice with spinach, soak the rice for 30 minutes in cold water before cooking it.
Can I Use Brown Rice With Spinach?
Yes, you can. Brown rice and spinach are even more nutritious. Soak the brown rice for about an hour in cold water first. Then cook it the same way as white rice. But leave it to cook for a little longer as it takes 10-15 minutes more than white rice to cook. Depending on the brown rice variety you are using, you may need to add some more water to it so keep an eye on it.
Preparing The Spinach
To prepare fresh whole spinach for this Greek spinach rice recipe:
- Trim off the hard part containing the hairy roots on the bottom of the spinach, don't chop off the bottom yet.
- Remove any old and yellow leaves.
- Wash the spinach by soaking it in cold water and then draining it in a strainer. Repeat 2-3 times depending on how much dirt there is on the spinach.
- Allow to drain.
- Chop off the bottoms and then chop them into smaller pieces (if it's baby spinach no need to chop them any smaller)
- Coarsely chop the leaves and stems.
To prepare frozen spinach: Just thaw it in a strainer at room temperature before using.
Leafy green vegetables are some of the most nutritious foods. Spinach is no exception. The benefits of eating spinach raw or even cooked are numerous. From cancer prevention, to asthma prevention, to lowering blood pressure, to helping us have healthy bones skin, and hair. Below are the Nutrition facts (per one cup of raw spinach) that promote all these benefits:
- 27 Kcal
- 0.86 grams Protein
- 30 milligrams Calcium
- 0.81 grams Iron
- 24 milligrams Magnesium
- 167 milligrams Potassium
- 14.7 milligrams Phosphorus
- 0.16 milligrams Zinc
- 8.43 milligrams Vitamic C
- 2,813 micrograms Vitamin A
- 58 micrograms Folate
- 0.66 grams Fiber
- and more...
This delicious lemon spinach rice goes amazing with chicken if you want to serve it as a side dish. Try it together with these Chicken Patties or Grilled Chicken. To serve as a main dish like we do in Greece, just serve it together with some bread, olives, and extra lemon to squeeze on top.
Store spinach and rice leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan on the stovetop, over low heat, along with a splash of water.
Reheating spinach can be toxic. Because it increases levels of nitrates (a naturally occurring compound in spinach that provides health benefits that can lead to serious health effects if consumed in excess). To avoid this don't reheat spinach at high temperatures. Instead, reheat gently over low heat. If using a microwave, switch it to low heat and stir often to distribute the heat evenly.
Other Greek Spinach Recipes To Try:
- Greek Yogurt Creamed Spinach
- Healthy Spinach And Feta Wraps With Whipped Feta
- Warm Potato Salad With Spinach And Feta
- Spinach And Feta Filo Triangles
- Crustless Spinach Pie With Feta Cheese
Greek Spinach Rice (Spanakoryzo)
- 500 grams (1.6 pounds) spinach fresh or frozen see the text above for instructions on how to prepare it
- 10 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 50 grams (½ medium-sized) onion minced
- 60 grams (3 medium-sized) spring onions minced
- 50 grams (1.7 ounce) leek finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 80 grams (2.8 ounce) medium-grain rice rinsed
- 4 tablespoons fresh dill minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ lemon zested
- kosher salt
- freshly ground pepper
- Heat 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a cooking pot over moderate heat.
- Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the spring onion, leek, and garlic. Saute until softened and translucent.
- Add the spinach in, in batches. Season with some kosher salt and cook until wilted.
- Add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add the rice. Cook for 2 minutes more stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Pour in 2 cups hot water or stock and bring to a simmer.
- Cook covered over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is cooked. If your stove is too strong you may need to add an extra splash of water depending on how saucy you want it to be.
- Stir in the lemon juice, lemon zest, dill, and remaining olive oil. Taste for additional salt, cook for a minute more, and remove from the heat.
- Serve with freshly ground pepper. And some extra lemon squeezed on top if you like.