Spanakorizo: Greek Spinach and Rice

Jackie Newgent/Flickr
Ratings (17)
  • Total: 50 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
186 Calories
10g Fat
21g Carbs
5g Protein
(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 freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. 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.

  2. 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."

  3. 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.

  4. 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.