Many people associate Greek cuisine with lamb, souvlaki, olive oil and feta cheese. However, the vast majority of Greek meals are peasant dishes that use simple ingredients, and are typically vegetarian. Spanakorizo is one of those traditional vegetarian meals that I’ve been eating for years. Its name translates to spinach rice and it is such a simple meal to prepare. I’ve been serving this to my children since they were babies and I love that they still get excited to eat it rather than rolling their eyes at me and mumbling “disgusting” under their breaths.
If you’re not familiar with this meal, it can be somewhat compared to an Italian risotto dish but without any butter or wine. It can be served as the main dish or as a side dish. At our home, I typically serve it as the main dish on the first day, and whatever is left over either makes it into the kid’s lunch boxes the next day or else, it becomes a side dish the following night accompanying some type of meat protein. And all this for maybe $5 total. Definitely not more than $10!
Variations include substituting the spinach with leaks, cabbage, or kale.
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 medium-sized onion or 6 fresh green onions
- a handful of dill (This is traditionally used but I leave it out)
- 2 bags fresh broad-leaf spinach
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups of Italian rice (or Arborio rice)
- 1 tsp salt
- fresh ground pepper
- fresh squeezed lemon juice
- Heat oil in a medium sized pot over medium-high heat
- Chop onions and dill and place in pot, stirring until onions are almost translucent
- Roughly chop the spinach and add to pot stirring until spinach wilts and reduces in volume
- Add salt and pepper to spinach, stir
- Add 3 cups of water and tomato sauce to pot, stir
- Let spinach cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes
- Add 3 more cups of water and bring to a boil
- Add rice, stir and reduce heat to low
- Let this cook for approximately 20 minutes,stirring from time to time and adding more water (if needed) to ensure the rice doesn't stick to the pot
- The spanakorizo is ready when the rice is soft and tender (cook longer if required as it depends on the rice)
- Serve in a bowl with freshly cracked black pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice on top.