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A simple, flavorful Greek Rice recipe, also known as Spanakorizo.

Last month while attending a food bloggers conference down in Miami, I had the huge pleasure of going on a lunchtime excursion with my blogging friends Christie and Leigh Anne.  We ate lunch at Taverna Opa in the Mary Brickell Village neighborhood of Miami Beach, and I ordered a wonderful meal – Santorini sunfish with a clementine citrus sauce that was served with grilled asparagus and Greek rice.

It was a fantastic meal – my first time eating sunfish – and I loved the accompanying citrus sauce.  But surprisingly, I haven’t been able to get that Greek rice out of my mind!  It was a simple recipe of rice and spinach – but it was also flavored with fresh dill and lemon – a combination I never would have thought to put together with rice.  The dill added such a different, fresh twist to the rice – and I knew that I wanted to recreate this side dish at home.

A simple, flavorful Greek Rice recipe, also known as Spanakorizo.

Today’s recipe is my attempt at recreating that wonderful Greek rice, which I have since learned is known as “Spanakorizo” or spinach rice.  There are many variations of this recipe – sometimes served with feta cheese or an egg on top (our version does not include those).  Like the version I enjoyed in Miami, our recipe has a wonderful distinctive dill and lemon flavor.

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Greek Rice (Spanakorizo) - A Family Feast

Greek Rice (Spanakorizo)

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings

Description

Note: You will need a medium-sized sauce pan with lid for this recipe.


Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon garlic
  • Zest from one lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ pound baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped and divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • A few grinds freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice from one lemon

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Sauté onions until translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add garlic and sauté for another minute.
  2. Add the lemon zest, cumin and spinach and cover the pan. Cook until the spinach wilts down (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Stir the rice, vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons of the dill, salt and pepper into the spinach mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce the heat to a simmer, replacing the lid on the pan, and cook until the rice is tender (about 15 to 20 minutes –follow your rice’s package instructions).
  5. Stir in the lemon juice and the remaining fresh dill before serving.

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    Comments

  • Janine wrote:

    No cumin in Greek cooking please. Traditionally one would not use garlic either. The flavor comes from dill, greens, onion, olive oil, and lemon.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Janine

  • Lori wrote:

    I recently found this recipe, and it has quickly become one of our favorites! I like to eat the leftovers with a fried egg and a bit of feta cheese.

    • Martha wrote:

      Great idea Lori!

  • Melissa Burden wrote:

    I worked in a Greek restaurant in college. I have been wanting to make this and found your recipe. It was the BOMB! I am making it again with Greek stuffed tomatoes and peppers for dinner. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Melissa! Sounds like a fantastic menu!

  • Jeanie Rosted wrote:

    One of my go to recipes when I have company over. This dish is always a hit!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jeanie!

  • Rochelle Steinfeld wrote:

    We made this last night as part of our authentic Greek themed family dinner. Our box of spinach contained only half the quantity called for and we didn’t chop it after cooking. No matter it still looked beautiful. So easy to make and delicious delicious!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Rochelle!

  • Briseida wrote:

    Delicious!! So lemony and yummy 😋

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Briseida! Glad you enjoyed the recipes!

  • Mark E. wrote:

    I’ve been using this recipe for years and I substitute shallots instead of onions as a personal preference but is delicious either way and always a big hit!

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you like it Mark!

  • Heather wrote:

    Does rinsing the rice go without saying? Because I did not, and the texture of this dish is not great. I see other reviewers talked about rinsing. I do like the flavor, but slightly disappointed with the end result.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Heather – I think the answer depends on the brand of rice you buy. Some basmati does require rinsing (check the package label), others don’t require it.

  • Bob Shea wrote:

    What is the calorie count and fat percent in the Greek rice dish please and is this a good dish to eat on a diet? Thank you, ps I love the rice, I hope it is low in fat and calories.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Bob – I just calculated the recipe’s nutritional information and it’s now at the bottom of the recipe. Hope it works out for your diet! (It is low in calories, and you could try sauteeing the onions in a little less olive oil than our recipe calls for?)

  • b wrote:

    Simple and very flavorful

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks B!

  • marlene wrote:

    I made this the other night for 12 people and it was a huge hit! It accompanied an “everything bagel” crusted salmon dish just beautifully. I followed it exactly as written and it was perfect. So delicious! I just thought it might be nice to have a drop more texture so I toasted and chopped up some slivered almonds and mixed them in before serving. I also had crumbled feta on the side for anyone who wanted it. This is an awesome dish and I can’t recommend it enough! If you’re on the fence and are hunting for a great rice dish, you can stop looking now. This is a keeper!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Marlene – great suggestions!

  • Gabriel wrote:

    I think first made this recipe a few years ago when I found this post and it’s been In rotation ever since. Perfect rice with great flavour. A great side dish or even a main. Great the night of and the day after. Everyone I’ve ever cooked it for has always asked for the recipe or for me to repeat it.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad the recipe is a hit Gabriel!

  • Laurie wrote:

    This sounds delish. Is it better fresh the night it’s cooked, or is it one of those dishes that tastes better the next day? Making for an upcoming dinner party! Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Laurie – With the fresh dill, I think it’s best served fresh. But I will say that leftovers the next day are pretty delicious too! Enjoy!

  • Melissa wrote:

    Made this to go with some Greek chicken I grilled last night and it was amazing. A new favorite for me! It really packs in the flavor and is a great way to add in some good greens. I think the flavor was a bit overwhelming for our boys, but it’s a definite overall win for me and the hubs!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Melissa!

  • Tena wrote:

    Looks delicious! I have some questions!
    1. Can I use chicken broth instead of vegetable?
    2. Frozen spinach?
    3. Can this be done in a rice cooker? (similar to an instant pot, it has a lot of functions)

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Tena – Yes – you can use chicken stock if you prefer. You can use frozen spinach, but I’d suggest thawing it and squeezing out the excess liquid before using it in this recipe. We did have another reader use a rice cooker (successfully) for this recipe…here are her comments and suggestions: “I made this for a large group – so quadrupled the recipe and used my rice cooker. I rinsed the rice a lot (at least 5 or 6 times) because I read basmati rice can get gummy in a rice cooker if you don’t get the extra starch off. I did steps 1 & 2 on the stove, then added everything from step 3 to mix it well before adding to the rice cooker. Cooked it on my cookers white rice setting and It came out great and fluffy. I got lots of compliments.” Hope this helps!

  • Barbara C wrote:

    Amazing recipe.!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Barbara!

  • Gail wrote:

    Going to make this tonight. Can you substitute frozen spinach?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Gail – Yes – just make sure it is well-drained. Hope you enjoy the dish!

  • Susan orrell wrote:

    What can I sub for the dill? I don’t have access to fresh herbs at the moment, though I do have dried dill.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Susan – The dill really is the predominant flavor in this dish – you can certainly try using the dried dill. Since dried herbs are more intense, typically you use half the amount of fresh called for in a recipe. Hope that helps!

  • Patti L. wrote:

    Hi…This must be delish ! After spinach is wilted, did you chop it ? Looks like you may have. Thanks…

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Patti – Yes – we did! Thanks for catching that – we will update the recipe. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Sara wrote:

    I love this recipe and have made it several times now, all my family members request it. I follow the recipe exactly, only adding feta cheese at the end (because I love cheese) and it’s perfect every time. Thank you for sharing!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Sara! I love the idea of adding feta at the end!

  • Stacie P wrote:

    I have to start by saying that I’ve made 100’s of recipes that I’ve found on Pinterest. This is the only one I’ve felt compelled to leave a review. This rice is the BEST rice dish I’ve ever made. The flavor was amazing. The seasoning was spot on. The rice turned out perfectly fluffy. Maybe it was because of the basmati rice, but I can never get rice to come out fluffy where you can easily separate the grains. I did spend some more time than usual rinsing the rice first. Maybe that’s where I’ve been going wrong all these years! I served the rice with a tomato and cucumber salad and some baked falafel. They were good, but the rice was the star on the plate! I’m so happy to have found it. Hours of searching has paid off big time 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow Stacie! Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed the rice recipe!

  • Missy wrote:

    This rice does not disappoint! Absolutely delicious!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Missy!

  • dave wrote:

    great recipe. everyone loved it

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Dave!

  • Sharon wrote:

    Ive been using this recipe for a couple of years now…family and visitors always really enjot it. I make chicken souvlaki , flat breads and tatziki with it mmm

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Sharon! Sounds like a wonderful meal!

  • Mary wrote:

    Love this recipe! Easy to follow!!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Mary!

  • Kelley C wrote:

    I made this for a large group – so quadrupled the recipe and used my rice cooker. I rinsed the rice a lot (at least 5 or 6 times) because I read basmati rice can get gummy in a rice cooker if you don’t get the extra starch off. I did steps 1 & 2 on the stove, then added everything from step 3 to mix it well before adding to the rice cooker. Cooked it on my cookers white rice setting and It came out great and fluffy. I got lots of compliments.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you all enjoyed the recipe Kelley!

  • Jo Richardson wrote:

    Tried the Greek rice this evening and it was LOVELY! Such an authentic flavour! I put the spinach in last though as prefer it lightly cooked. Will definitely try your other recipes. Thank you!! xx

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jo! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Melissa wrote:

    I made this tonight to go with Greek souvlaki pitas and my husband and I both loved it! I love that is includes spinach, any way to get more veggies in is good in my books! I just loved the lemony flavour! I forgot to buy fresh dill, so I subbed in dry dill, I used about a teaspoon and it had lovely dilly flavour!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Melissa! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Evita wrote:

    Just made the Greek Rice as per your recipe, (except I, by mistake, used twice the amount of spinach.)
    It was absolutely AWESOME!! I’m sampling it in the kitchen and I’m making so much noise my cats went hiding 😉 Truly flavorful, delicious, lip smacking good!! and just like -if not better- than the rice they serve at this well known Greek place here in Florida where I frequently dine.

    10 stars for sure! I’ll be making this over and over. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Evita! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! 🙂

  • Carolyn wrote:

    Yumm!! I made this today to accompany some stuffed zucchini with Feta & sundried tomatoes, roasted cherrie tomatoes, and a cannelloni bean parsley/lemon salad and it was perfect! I usually make lemon-oregano roasted potatoes for the carbs when I make Greek mezze, but this is a bit of a fresher tasting option. I cook for people who can’t have onions & garlic because they work close with their customers, so I simply omitted them and added a bit more veggie broth powder, and it didn’t taste like it was lacking anything. Definitely will be making this again!

    • Martha wrote:

      Sounds like a delicious meal Carolyn! So glad you enjoyed the recipe and the swaps worked out just as well!

  • Danya wrote:

    Wow! This was so good! The whole family loved it! I put a lot of spinach in and not a complaint, they ate it up.
    I can’t wait to make it again!! Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Danya – so glad you all enjoyed the recipe!

  • Jessica wrote:

    I made this last night and absolutely loved it – thank you for the recipe! I did sprinkle a bit of feta cheese on top, and I served it with some herbed pork and a dollop of tzaziki. Delicious!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jessica! Your additions to the recipe sound delicious!

  • Daelia Bay wrote:

    Made this for dinner last night. It was very good. My husband also loved it and it’s rare that he finds Greek food that he really likes here in the US. Thanks for this authentic tasting recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Daelia and we’re so glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe! Have a great weekend!

  • Heather Lampman wrote:

    Hi Martha.
    I’m not a fan of Dill. Can you suggest a replacement?

    • Martha wrote:

      I would just leave it out Heather! The rice will still have a nice lemony flavor along with spinach.

      • Ruthann wrote:

        Permit me: Dill isn’t my thing either so I use oregano when I make this rice dish. It so happens to be greek oregano which I grow year round in a pot. Just strip a branch of its leaves and toss them into the rice, don’t bother to chop them.

        • Martha wrote:

          Sounds like a great adaptation Ruthann – thanks for sharing!

          • Kelly M wrote:

            Tarragon came to mind for a different lighter fresh tasting herb. Just to compare — both Dill and Tarragon are good with fish since they have a brightness to them. Just a thought.

          • Martha wrote:

            Thanks for the suggestion Kelly!

  • Kathy wrote:

    This looks delicious! My husband would love this! He goes crazy for Greek food!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Kathy!

  • Fran Turner wrote:

    Thanks for posting this! I used to get this several times a week at a small Greek restaurant in Vienna, VA and have been looking for a recipe for this for many years since moving from VA. As I recall, it had a little diced tomatoes in it also. Yum!

    • Martha wrote:

      That sounds like a great variation Fran!

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