Such a healthy, hearty, tasty dish – this meal can be on your table in less than 40 minutes. Spanakorizo (Σπανακόριζο) is traditionally served as both a main and side dish. Pair it with a wedge of lemon and a piece of bread, this dish is delicious right off the stove or served at room temperature.
Guaranteed to become one of your go-to Greek vegan and Meatless Monday recipes, spanakorizo is another great option for take-to-work/school lunch. I use fresh spinach probably 90% of the time but in a pinch,will use frozen spinach with perfectly fine results. Which type of spinach you use is completely up to you and you can experiment with different varieties.
My favorite is spinach that is still attached to the roots. This kind of spinach, though not available regularly in my area, has the sweetest stems! I keep as much of the stem as possible and cut as close to the root bulb as I can. Bite a piece of raw stem and you’ll taste the difference immediately.
More often available here is small leaf or ‘baby’ spinach with sweet, light leaves and thin, tender stems. Baby spinach makes for an overall lighter dish. Large leaf spinach gives a delicious earthy, almost minerally taste to your spanakorizo but the stems are often tough and stringy so I usually cut them down quite short. Don’t worry about the tougher, larger leaves here as the cooking time for this recipe allows them to soften up fine.
If you go with frozen chopped spinach, make sure to let it thaw before using and drain off any liquid. A whole 10 ounce bag, the usual amount that frozen spinach comes in, will give you a spanakorizo that is very spinachy. I think using 3/4 of a 10 ounce bag (1 cup) will do fine unless you are a big fan of spinach!
And I’d suggest chopping your onions and garlic fairly small, no rough chopping here. You don’t need to go for a tiny dice but keep in mind you may get 2 or 3 pieces of garlic per fork and 3 big chunks could easily overwhelm your taste buds and upset the flavor balance of the dish entirely.
This recipe gives you herb options too. Both fresh dill and fresh mint are delicious partners to spinach – on their own or in combination! Try each and see which is your favorite. And remember to use authentic Greek oregano whenever possible and preferably off the stem and not bottled.
Traditionally spanakorizo is made both with tomato and without. Its just a matter of personal preference really as its just as tasty either way.
- 1 pound fresh spinach rinses and chopped OR 1 cup of frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/3 cup chopped garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill OR fresh chopped mint OR combination of both
- 1 tbsp dried Greek oregano
- 1 cup white rice (medium grain)
- 3 cups water
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- optional : 1/4 cup tomato paste dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
Sauté onions and garlic gently in olive oil over low heat. Add salt, pepper, oregano and dill or mint. Stir to combine well.
If adding tomato – mix tomato paste in 1/2 cup of warm water. Add to pot. Mix ingredients well.
Add rice and cook for 5 minutes stirring often. If rice starts to stick to the bottom of the pan, lower the heat just slightly.
Add spinach and 3 cups water to pot, mix well to combine and bring to a low boil.
Once you’ve reached a low boil, lower to a very gentle simmer and cover. Cook for 25-30 minutes. Check the rice for doneness at 25 minutes. It may need an additional 5 minutes or so for longer grains.
When rice is completely cooked, mix ingredients well, cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes before serving.
This recipe serves 4/6 – a family of 2 adults, 2 children with leftovers OR 4 adults.
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