Simple Spinach Rice

Simple Spinach Rice

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 6 to 8 servings
Yield: 7 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
103 Calories
2g Fat
18g Carbs
4g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 103
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 3%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 134mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 19mg 97%
Calcium 139mg 11%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 506mg 11%
*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 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. For a well-balanced vegetarian or vegan meal, add some cooked beans or another vegetarian protein.

Not surprisingly, there are variations of spinach rice throughout the world, including Greece, where it is called spanakorizo, and Mexico, known as arroz verde. You can also use chicken broth instead of water for an easy and flavorful 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.

"The spinach rice was easy and turned out delicious with basmati rice. 10 ounces of baby spinach made 4 cups chopped. I used a serrano pepper, and have to say that whole pepper doesn't add a lot of heat." —Diana Rattray

Spinach Rice Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

  • 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. Gather the ingredients.

    Simple Spinach Rice ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    Add the oil to a deep pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

    onions cooking in a pot with oil

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    Add the thyme, hot chile pepper, and salt to the onion mixture in the pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    Add the spinach to the onions in the pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. 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.

    spinach rice cooking in a covered pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

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

    Simple Spinach Rice in a pot

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni


  • 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 or 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 jalapeño, chipotle, or Aleppo peppers which average 8,000 SHU.
  • For more chile flavor and heat, prick the whole chile a few times with the tines of a fork before adding to the pot.

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.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate leftover spinach rice in an airtight container within 2 hours and eat it within four days.
  • To freeze leftover spinach rice, transfer it to zip-close freezer bags or shallow, airtight containers and freeze it for up to three months.
  • To reheat, transfer the spinach rice to a microwave-safe container with a teaspoon of water. Place folded dampened paper towel over the container and microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until it is hot. Alternatively, put the rice in a saucepan with a few teaspoons of water and reheat it over medium heat, stirring constantly.