Spanakorizo (Greek spinach risotto)
A Main-dish recipe, by Gina Lioti.
“Spanakorizo is an easy, light and healthy dish that can be eaten as a main or as a side, any time of the year. In Greece it is mostly used as a main dish and it is served with feta cheese. Its main ingredients are spinach and rice.”Gina Lioti
Here’s why you’re going to love this
As with most dishes, different places make it differently. The most usual versions are with chopped tomatoes or lemon juice. As an avid lover of lemons, the latter version is the one I prefer. The end result is also much lighter than if it would be if you were to make it with tomatoes.
You can also tweak the spinach and rice ratio to your preferences. I prefer more spinach and less rice; I think the taste and texture are better this way. But try it yourself and see what you like better.
The traditional recipe for spanakorizo calls for sautéing the onions in olive oil, then adding the spinach and finally the rice and boiling them all together, but I think this is the wrong way to do it for several reasons. Firstly, you ruin your onions and it loses most of its nutrients when it is heated in high temperatures for prolonged periods of time. Secondly, olive oil is much, much better tasting and healthier raw. Lastly, boiling spinach for 25 minutes makes it taste like grass, not to mention you lose each and every one of its health benefits. You might as well eat straw.
Plus, spinach's oxalic acid gives you the sensation of having eaten chalk, but with my recipe the problem is minimized; you will hardly sense it. And most importantly, adding lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice (vitamin C) on top of your plate (again, not boiling away all of it) helps your body absorb the spinach’s iron that oxalic acid blocks.
The end result is a clear, clean and fresh taste, quite different than the original, but much better and healthier.
Tip: Click on ingredients to discover more recipes!
spinach preferably baby, organic — 400 grams
rice 140 grams
onion chopped (optional — 1
saffron (optional) — 2-3 strings
To serve ingredients:
- Pour 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to the boil.
- Add your rice, the saffron, if you are using any, and the chopped onion and stir until the rice is almost done. Your rice should be covered with water at all times. If not, add half a cup of water. If you want your rice soft, not al dente, so it’s alright to pour water at this point.
- When your rice is ready, turn down the heat at medium and add your spinach, stirring carefully as to not break the leaves too much, but make sure all of them have been submerged in the warm water. You only need to make sure all of the spinach leaves are tender; it takes only a few minutes at most. Don’t overdo it.
- And that’s basically it; to serve it, just pour olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice (the more, the better), salt and cracked black pepper and enjoy.
You can serve it with freshly grated parmesan or crumbled feta cheese on top. Furthermore, although I don't recommend it, you can also place it in the oven for a few minutes (set to grill), to make it golden and crunchy, with or without the cheeses.
Gina Lioti Cooking Club
“I want to show you the absolute best of the Greek cuisine. Learn to cook delicious, healthy and easy dishes. Exclusive to members.” Gina Lioti
With every new recipe, I hand–pick dishes that complement it well. You can enjoy Spanakorizo (Greek spinach risotto) with any of the following.
Discover more recipes in this category.