Simple Spinach Rice

Rice
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  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 25 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
400 Calories
1g Fat
87g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: Serves 4
Amount per serving
Calories 400
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 205mg 9%
Total Carbohydrate 87g 32%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Protein 11g
Calcium 204mg 16%
*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.)

Spinach rice is an ideal dish to have in your repertoire—it is nutritious, flavorful, versatile, and easy to make. It also combines the starch and vegetable in one dish, saving you time in the kitchen. It can be eaten as a vegetarian or vegan dish main dish or served as an accompaniment to meat, seafood, or poultry. Turn it into a rice bowl and place slices of chicken or steak, or grilled shrimp, right on top for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 3 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 whole hot chile pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 cups chopped spinach (preferably fresh)
  • 2 cups long grain white rice (washed and drained)
  • 2 2/3 cups water

Steps to Make It

  1. Add the oil to a deep pot and heat over medium heat.

  2. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add the thyme, hot chile pepper, and salt to taste and continue to saute for about 1 minute.

  4. Add the spinach and toss to wilt it and reduce the volume slightly.

  5. Add the rice and water, stir, cover, and bring to a boil. Let boil for 3 minutes and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

  6. Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Choosing a Chile

When choosing a chile pepper for this recipe you may be limited by what is available in your local market. If you are a fan of very spicy dishes, go for what is considered a "hot" pepper, such as habanero and scotch bonnet, which can reach up to 350,000 on the Scoville Scale. If you need to take it down a notch, think about serrano peppers or cayenne chile peppers which can hit 50,000 SHU. For a touch of heat without burning the palate, look for jalapeno, chipotle, or allepo peppers which average 8,000 SHU.

Recipe Variations

This recipe is perfect as is, but is also a great base for adding other vegetables, nuts, cheese, and protein. Feel free to toss in a few fresh herbs (dill is always nice) or some chopped tomato; a sprinkling of toasted pine nuts would be a welcome crunch, and a bit of crumbled feta cheese would complement the dish. Finish the rice dish with slices of grilled cumin lime chicken, a few margarita grilled shrimp, or thinly sliced grilled skirt steak in a citrus-chipotle marinade.

Not surprisingly, there are variations of spinach rice throughout the world, from Greece where it is called spanakorizo, to Mexico where it is known as arroz verde. You can also use chicken broth in place of water for an easy spinach rice pilaf, or turn it into a baked casserole with a few herbs and Parmesan cheese. Blending the spinach into a pesto is a bit of a twist on this simple dish, making room for other healthy ingredients such as eggs, avocado, and radicchio.