Spanakorizo is a Greek spinach and rice dish with all the great flavors of spanakopita but much easier to make! Tender rice seasoned with dill, lemon, herbs and feta cheese.
Greek Spinach and Rice, Spanakorizo, is a classic Greek vegetarian dish made with spinach and rice. It is also one of the healthiest traditional Greek recipes because it’s packed with lots of spinach (a well known “super food”), onions, fresh herbs, and lemon.
One of my favorite side dishes to serve with a meal is rice. It is so versatile and fun to try different variations. Rice never gets boring in our house! With so many types of rice available, such as basmati, short grain, long grain, brown rice, etc., why not experiment with different flavors.
The Best Greek Spinach Recipe
It’s no wonder Popeye ate so much spinach! Spinach is loaded with abundant amounts of nutrients, such as iron, calcium, vitamins C, A, K, folic acid, magnesium, potassium, lutein and zeaxanthin, that help promote bone, eye and skin health, can help regulate blood pressure and a healthy nervous system and brain function.
What’s even more impressive is that cooking spinach actually increases its health benefits, as the body cannot break down completely the nutrients in raw spinach. Lemon juice helps the body absorb the calcium and iron.
I love that spanakorizo has all the great flavors of my favorite crispy Greek spinach and feta appetizer, spanakopita! But it’s a lot less work involved in making it. I hope this recipe will also become a staple in your home, it is simply delicious!
What is in Spanakorizo?
- Rice – for this dish I recommend using a long grain rice (ex. basmati) as the rice will be light and fluffy rather than sticky which would be the result of using short grain rice. Basmati rice is a long grain rice that is easy and quick to cook. Once cooked and fluffed the rice will be light and fluffy and you will be able to see the individual grains
- Broth – instead of cooking the rice in just water, vegetable broth (or chicken) is used. Not only does the broth add flavor to the rice and the whole dish, but you can kick up the health benefits of this dish by using bone broth!
- Spinach – the star of this dish. If you are trying to get more veggies into your diet (or your kids diet), this rice dish is perfect for you. It is so flavorful and the spinach cooks down in tender bite sized pieces, you won’t even notice how many nutritious bites of spinach you are eating!
- Lemon – lemon zest is cooked in the rice and fresh lemon juice is stirred into the dish after cooking. The lemon not only adds a fresh pop of flavor, it compliments the spinach, dill and green onions perfectly. Cooking spinach increases the health benefits and adding lemon helps the body absorb the calcium and iron.
- Green Onion (or chives) – a mild flavor and pop of color is added to this dish with green onions (or chives)
- Dill, Oregano, cumin, salt, pepper – the herbs and spices in this dish are classic Greek flavors
- Butter – what better way to finish this rice dish than to stir in some butter? After the rice is cooked butter is stirred into the rice giving it a creamy texture
How to Make Spanakorizo
Full printable recipe at bottom of page
1 Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Sauté onions until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
2 Add the cumin, 1 tablespoon of dill, lemon zest, oregano, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of chives/green onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
3 Stir in the rice and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add in the vegetable broth and the spinach. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
4 Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with the lid, and cook until the rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes – follow your rice package instructions).
5 Stir in the butter, lemon juice and the remaining fresh dill and remaining chives/green onions before serving. Add in cubed feta and gently stir to combine.
6 Garnish with crumbled Feta cheese and enjoy!
Tips for Cooking Rice
Properly cooking the rice is the most important part of making Spanakorizo. The goal is rice that’s perfectly cooked, not mushy or sticky. Here are a few tips to help:
- Always rinse the rice first. Rinse the rice under cold water until it runs clear, instead of cloudy. Rinsing the rice removes the starch, which is what makes rice too sticky.
- Don’t remove the lid during cooking. Though it may be tempting, avoid lifting the lid while the rice is cooking. Lifting the lid will allow all the steam to escape and affect the cooking time.
What to Serve Spanakorizo With?
Spanakorizo is the perfect side dish to complement your favorite protein. Try pairing this rice with some of my favorites:
- Pork Souvlaki – my favorite Greek marinates skewers! Grilled to perfect and packed with classic Greek flavors.
- Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin – this is a family favorite in our house and really… who doesn’t love bacon?!
- Sticky Sesame Chicken Drumsticks – I love this Asian inspired dish! The drumsticks are tender and coated in a sweet and sticky sesame glaze.
- Greek Feta Potato Salad – an easy no mayo potato salad with all the classic Greek flavors!
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, may earn me a small commission.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp chives or green onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ pound baby spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth, or chicken broth
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- ½ tsp salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ¼ cup feta cheese, cubed
- feta cheese, crumbled
- Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Sauté onions until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Add the cumin, 1 tablespoon of dill, lemon zest, oregano, salt, pepper, 2 tablespoons of chives/green onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the rice and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add in the vegetable broth and the spinach. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover with the lid, and cook until the rice is tender and all liquid is absorbed (about 15 to 20 minutes – follow your rice package instructions).
- Stir in the butter, lemon juice and the remaining fresh dill and remaining chives/green onions before serving. Add in cubed feta and gently stir to combine.
- Garnish with crumbled Feta cheese and enjoy!