Spanakorizo (Greek Spinach and Rice)


Jackie Newgent / Flickr / CC2.0

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Total: 50 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
186 Calories
10g Fat
21g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 186
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 1g 7%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 138mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 14%
Protein 5g
Calcium 178mg 14%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Many people compare spanakorizo (in Greek σπανακόριζο or σπανακόρυζο, pronounced spah- nah-KOH-ree-zoh) to Italian risotto. Both are made with rice cooked to a creamy consistency. Risotto, however, is constantly stirred while spanakorizo is not. In addition, risotto often contains cheese while spanakorizo is not only vegetarian but could actually be considered vegan. Because it contains no meat, spanakorizo is often served during Lent.

While a basic spanakorizo recipe contains only spinach and onion, there are many variations on the dish. For example, some cooks like to add scallions (green onions), leeks, parsley, chickpeas, or garlic. Others add tomatoes for a "red" spanakorizo. For those willing to eat meat or dairy, sausage, and/or cheese can be a nice addition. Some cooks also like experimenting with the type of rice used; brown rice adds more nutrients, while short-grain white rice is creamier.

Traditionally, the vegetables, herbs, and spices are sauteed in a pot, after which the rice is briefly browned. Finally, water or broth are added, and the rice is cooked. This can make spanakorizo a terrific one-pot meal. Alternatively, spanakorizo can be eaten as a side dish combining vegetables and starch, along with a fish or meat dish. Try topping with a sprinkle of crumbled feta.


  • 1 spring onion (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/4 pounds spinach (chopped, washed, and drained)
  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups long-grain rice (or another rice of your choice)
  • 5 1/4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • Sea salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (freshly ground, to taste)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a stock pot, sauté the chopped spring onion in the oil over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add spinach and 1 1/3 cups of water and cook until the spinach wilts, about 5 to 7 minutes.

  3. Add rice and 5 1/4 cups of water, bring to a boil, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon juice and salt, cook for another 5 minutes and remove from heat. Stir, cover, and let sit for 20 minutes until the dish "melds."

  4. Another option is to hold the spinach until the rice has nearly finished cooking. Then add the spinach and allow it to steam on top of the rice.

  5. Serve with wedges of lemon and freshly ground pepper. Some cooks also like to add a side dish of feta cheese and fresh, crusty bread. Enjoy!