Spinach Rice

I always have these glorious ambitions of making spinach smoothies for breakfast every morning and being super healthy, but that rarely pans out. As a result, I have a surfeit of spinach that needs attending to by the end of the week. Recipe searching ensues. And every once in a while, I stumble across a gem like Greek spinach rice, known in Greece as Spanakorizo.

Apparently, every Greek mother has their own version of this beloved classic, or so I learned in Debbie Matenopoulos’s It’s All Greek to Me cookbook. I can see why- it’s comforting, filling, can be made quickly, and yet, it feels very healthy. The secret is cooking the rice in chicken broth instead of water and adding plenty of lemon and Greek seasoning. I have opted to omit the traditional dill, but feel welcome to add it in if you happen to have fresh dill on hand. The Greek seasoning mix I use has salt, dried garlic, oregano, sesame seeds, and lemon extract. Though you can substitute ½ teaspoon dried oregano, I highly recommend seeking out a Greek seasoning mix. You’ll find that you suddenly start using it in everything, from salad dressings to chicken marinades. 

Spinach Rice

Inspired by Debbie Matenopoulos’s Spanakorizo

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2- 5 oz. containers spinach
  • 2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon Greek seasoning
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup Carolina long-grain rice
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon

Directions: 

  1. In a large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Sauté onion for 8 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add spinach and half the chicken broth and cook until spinach has wilted, approximately 4 minutes.
  2. Add rice and remaining chicken broth, along with Greek seasoning and several grinds of the pepper mill. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, without peaking. 
  3. Off the heat, stir in lemon zest and juice. Enjoy!

Note: One thing that really bothers me about sautéed spinach is that gritty feeling you get on your teeth after eating it. It also bothers me that no one else seems to admit to this phenomenon. Is it really just me?! If you are one of those poor souls afflicted by this injustice, please know that this recipe solves that problem by sautéing the spinach with the chicken broth, thus eliminating any subsequent grittiness.


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