Or, a fancy schmancy Greek way of saying spinach-‘n-rice. In Greek, “spanaki” is spinach and “rizi” is rice. I hope you’re paying attention to some of the Greek tidbits you’re learning from my blog because you never know when you may need them. Maybe your next Cranium question is going to ask what a spanakophobe is, and of course you’re going to know right away that, obviously, it’s someone who fears spinach.
[Okay, I just did about 20 seconds of googling and was not able to confirm that a person who is scared of spinach is called a spanakophobe or anything remotely close to that. So let’s not use that example, but it could come into play somewhere, I promise. Maybe not with spanakophobe or rizophile, but some time.]
At any rate, spanakorizo is a very common Greek side dish. The flavors are very typical of other Greek dishes and they taste great when combined. The bonus is that this can double as your vegetable and your starch side. Normally, I am not one to do that (veggies are important and most veggies incorporated into starches tend to be in very small quantities), but here I am giving you the go ahead. About 1.5-2 lbs. of spinach are put into this rice, and the amount of rice you eat is actually less than the serving (how often can you say that about a starch?) but don’t worry, the portion is still plenty.
Traditionally, spanakorizo has quite a bit more olive oil to start, but I like to make a healthier version. I suppose using brown rice would make it even healthier but for some things, even I just say no to brown rice. Some Greeks add tomato paste or fresh tomatoes to their spanakorizo but I am not one of them. I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with that, but I like the combo of the dill, spinach and lemon as it stands.
In case you’re wondering, we had this with a very Greek-flavored pork tenderloin that I quick marinated in fresh lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and oregano and then seared and roasted.
1.5 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2/3 cup long grain white rice
1-1/3 cup water
Juice of 1 large lemon
2 bunches or about 1.5-2 lbs. fresh spinach, chopped (and remove any stems that don’t seem very tender)
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped (or about 1 T dried)
salt and pepper
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil. Once heated, add the onions and saute until tender. Add the rice and stir to coat it in the olive oil, “toasting” it for a minute or two. Add the water and lemon juice and bring to a boil.
Add the spinach, dill and some salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture down to a simmer. Cover tightly and simmer about 15 minutes or until rice is cooked.
Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 205 / Fat: 6g / Carbs: 33g / Fiber: 4.5g / Protein: 7.3g