Saturday, December 15, 2012

SPANAKORIZO (Braised Spinach and Rice, made in the Greek Style)

To Greeks, braised spinach and rice is a very popular recipe that can be served as a main meal or as a side dish. The best way to eat it? No bread, no salad, just spanakorizo! In the southern regions of Greece, there is usually tomato or tomato paste that is added during cooking. Up North it's out with the tomatoes, in with the lemon juice. Just as an aside, I think lemon flavour makes a recipe really Greek because Greeks try to introduce lemons in just about anything that can be eaten: is it a dessert? Add some lemon juice. Is it a salad? Lemon juice, and while you are at it, throw in some lemon zest just for good measure. I am not finished: having breakfast? Add some lemon juice to your tea. Try never, ever, to cook anything without adding something lemon. 

Just a note: It's not traditional to add carrot, but a carrot will provide a nice bright contrast. 

4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
¾ to 1 cup rice 
3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 pounds fresh spinach washed and chopped (or if you’re in a hurry use the frozen spinach that comes  pre-chopped)
Juice of 1 ½ lemons
4 ½ cups water or vegetable juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1 carrot, diced (totally optional)
lemon slices for garnish
olive oil to drizzle on top


Heat the oil in the saucepan.
Add the onion, and garlic.  Sauté until softened.
Add the rice and sauté until the rice is well coated with the olive oil.
Add the water or broth and let it come to a boil.
Add the spinach and stir until wilted.
Reduce the heat and add the scallions, carrot, parsley, dill, lemon juice, and salt and pepper.  

Mix, cover and simmer about 35 to 40 minutes, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. 

Pretty much done cooking ...  It should not be dry when it's done. It should have a juicy consistency. Not soupy, not dry. You know what I mean, don't you?

Serve garnished with lemon slices, and for an extra depth of flavor drizzle some good extra virgin olive oil on top. That's an important step.  


  1. Nice looking meal. I wish I had a bowl. We just got home from shopping and we are all starving. We are waiting for pizza, but this would be fine as a first course as you say. LOL!

    1. Hello, Karen!
      What kind of pizza did you order?

  2. Ana, your recipe looks delicious alone or even better yet with some of your mom's delicious chicken, mmmm. Woodland Santa looks quite handsome, too.

  3. I'm from Athens we never prepare it with tomato evoo and lots of fresh lemons and no carrots for sure....can you say purist lol?

    1. Hilarious!!! You are hilarious. I was trying to get away from the purist version for once. Believe it or not, the suggestion to add carrots came from a friend who lives in Thessaloniki. No jokes about the second protevousa, Athenian!
      I like it very much just plain with lemon. An old standby!