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Greek Spinach Rice

Bright, lemony, and full of fresh flavor.

I didn’t expect to like this even half as much as I ended up enjoying it, because let’s be real, “spinach rice” doesn’t sound particularly exciting. But this Greek Spinach Rice really is exciting! Filled with a bright lemony twist and plenty of garlic and fresh herbs, it has enough spinach to make Popeye proud but it tastes like so much more. Also known as spanakorizo, it’s more or less a rice pilaf, but you can just go ahead and think of it as a side dish that steals the show.

We eat a fair amount of rice in my family, but I rarely go to the trouble of doing anything to jazz it up — it’s usually a side of plain white or brown rice for us. Big mistake! This recipe is a good lesson in how a rice dish can really be the centerpiece of a meal and really it doesn’t take you too much extra time. I love that this is a one-pot recipe and how the cooking method really ensures that there’s a true layering of flavors. The rice cooks right in there with the herbs and the spinach so it’s really infused with flavor.

Speaking of herbs, there’s both oregano and dill in here, which (along with lemon) are the flavors that really sing “Greek” to me. I love dill and use it wherever I can, so I made sure that it’s cooked into the dish and stirred in at the end as well — the qualities of it cooked and fresh are a little different so stirring some in before serving really does brighten things up.

And this is a bright dish! Sunny and much lighter than you’d expect a spinachy rice dish to be, it’s perfect as a spring or summer side dish. It goes with just about everything, which just gives you plenty of opportunities to put it into your cooking rotation.

Serves 4

15m prep time

15m cook time

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped and divided
  • 1/2 lb baby spinach
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • Juice & zest of 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Feta cheese, crumbled, for serving (optional)
Preparation
  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
  2. Stir in oregano, half of the dill, and spinach. Cook, stirring frequently, until spinach wilts, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the rice, the vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to medium-low and let simmer 20 minutes.
  4. Uncover, stir in butter, lemon juice and zest, and remaining dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with feta cheese, if desired. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooktoria.

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