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Spanakoryzo (Greek Spinach with Rice)

Spanakoryzo (Greek Spinach with Rice)

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Spanakoryzo also written spanakorizo, pronounced spah-nah-KOH-reeh-zoh, is a traditional healthy and delicious Greek vegan dish, made with spinach and rice.

Before going to the recipe, let me tell you a few things about Greek Farmers’ Market.

Greek Farmers’ Market

Greek Farmers’ Market in Greek is called Laiki agora pronounced lah-eeh-KEE ah-gho-RHA.

In Athens, but also in most of the parts of Greece, once or twice a week, every neighborhood has its farmers’ market, which is called “laiki agora” meaning peoples’ (popular) market.

Farmers' Market image

There you can find freshly cut, ripened-to-perfection fruits, vegetables, produce, herbs, fish, flowers, plants, clothes and household items.

Usually the marketplace occupies four or five blocks of roads and the stalls are put together from the crack of dawn and start disassembling after 3 p.m, once they have sold out.

Fresh spinach image

Farmers’ Market in Greece

These street markets are organized by the local municipalities who determine where they will be set and usually the place is fixed.

The producers or the merchants selling their produce have their fixed spot and pay a due to the municipality. 

On its part, the municipality is responsible to provide them with mobile toilets, which they place in nearby streets, from the previous night.

After the market finishes at about 4 p.m., immediately the garbage collectors pass and gather everything they have left behind and clean the roads and of course collect the toilets.

Most people prefer to go and do their shopping there as apart from everything being fresh, when it is near ending time they reduce the prices considerably, so that they can sell out and you can get the vegetables and fish really cheap. 

Of course that is the most crowded time.  However, some products are still expensive even at the farmers’ markets.  

Last Tuesday, which by the way is the day my neighbourhood has its street market, I spotted some really expensive things. 

Chestnuts range from 6 – 9 euros a kilo, walnuts (in their shell)  from 3 to 6 euros a kilo, mushrooms around 6 euros a kilo and stamnagathi (chicorium spinosun), a coastal chicory, a small tasty leaf which the Minoans used to serve  up with oil and vinegar, which is a wild green found mainly in Crete was 12 euros a kilo.  

No thanks!  These were too expensive and we can wait until prices are cheaper.

I usually make supplies to last until the following week and this week among other things I bought spinach, which was cheap, to make spanakoryzo.

baby spinach image

Spanakoryzo is a Greek  vegan dish and means spinach and rice.  This is a dish that our family loves and enjoys, especially during lent. 

This is the traditional recipe for this delicious dish that is a warming and hearty meal but mostly nutritious and healthy and we usually serve it as a main dish but if you like you can serve it as a side dish as well.

A different Spanakoryzo

Greek Vegan Spanakoryzo (Spinach) Risotto with herbs image

You can also make spanakoryzo without the addition of tomato but instead you can add some lemon juice. 

Just make it the same way you would normally make a risotto: 

Blanch the spinach, drain and cut it into smaller pieces. 

In a skillet saute the onion until translucent, add the garlic and mix until fragrant and then add the rice and mix to toast the rice. 

Add the spinach and broth. 

From here on we do not continue same way as risotto as we add all the broth and seasoning and mix until it is cooked, adding the herbs and lemon juice at the end. 

When we are not fasting, we add some feta inside and serve it with Greek yoghurt on top.

spanakoryzo without tomato image

Spanakoryzo or Vegan Spinach Risotto

I made the video when making a healthy vegan risotto, which is made the classic way, adding onions, leeks and aromatic herbs, which add an amazing taste to this dish!

Instead of adding cheese, I added some raw extra virgin olive oil at the end to make it creamy.   

The quantity of rice added depends on what you want to prevail in the dish. 

When my children were younger and did not like spinach, I used to add more rice but now we love it with less rice. 

Update 30th October 2012:  

Depending on the availability of other aromatic herbs, we can add kafkalithres, myronia, wild fennel, seskoula (baby chard, called seskla in Argolida), koukakia (young leaves of fava beans) and vrouves, mustard greens (Sinapis arvensis).

Other greens to add to spanakoryzo image

Some useful tips

Tip No. 1: Add herbs towards the end as they keep all their aroma and flavor.

Tip No. 2: You can prepare the dish ahead and just before lunch heat it again and just add and cook the rice. 

It is best cook the rice last minutes as the longer it stays, the rice will continue to absorb the juices and it will become very dry.

Tip No. 3:  Serve it with Greek yoghurt or Greek Feta  or Green or Kalamata olives, or Gavros Marinatos (marinated anchovies) and lots of crusty bread to mop up the sauce and you have heaven.

Empty plate of Spanakoryzo spinach and rice with yoghurt image

Although, the following dish would not qualify to be called a “spanakoryzo”, however sometimes, instead of rice I like to add some bulgur to the spinach. 

Bulgur wheat is called “pligouri” in Greek, so this would be called “spanakopligouro”!!!

Spinach and bulgur wheat image

However, it is equally delicious!

Spanakoryzo spinach with feta and Greek yoghurt image

Spanakoryzo (spinach and rice)

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Spanakoryzo also written spanakorizo, pronounced spah-nah-KOH-reeh-zoh, is a traditional healthy and delicious Greek vegan dish, made with spinach and rice.


  • 750 grams fresh spinach (about 500 grams frozen)
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 ripe tomatoes grated or 1 cup passata
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (or 2 cups water and 1 organic vegetable bouillon)
  • 1 cup Carolina rice (or any risotto rice)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup of dill, finely chopped


  1. Clean and wash the spinach If leaves are big, remove the stem and cut it into 2 or 3 pieces If not place them whole in a big pot without adding any extra water (just the water which is still on the leaves) and place the pot on the heat, stirring for about 5 minutes, until the spinach wilts. (This will reduce the volume of the leaves and most of the water will drain easier). Drain and set aside It is not necessary to thaw the frozen spinach.
  2. Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until translucent Add the garlic and sauté for a few seconds until fragrant.
  3. Add the spinach and mix a couple of times.
  4. Add tomato, water, vegetable bouillon, salt and pepper and bring to a boil Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add the rice and cook for 20 minutes, making sure to stir regularly until the rice is cooked If necessary, add more hot water.
  6. Just before the rice is cooked, add the lemon juice add the herbs and mix.
  7. Serve with Kalamata or green olives, feta cheese or with Greek yoghurt.


  • It is not necessary to thaw the frozen spinach.
  • The preparation time is for frozen spinach. You will need more time to clean and wash the fresh spinach.
  • If you don't like dill, you can substitute it with other herbs: such as parsley, kafkalithres (Mediterranean hartwort) or myronia (chervil).
Nutrition Information
Yield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 163Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1489mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 4gSugar 3gProtein 5g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

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Collage Spanakoryzo Greek Spinach with Rice image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!

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Friday 11th of January 2008

Absolutely Laurie, I love to stroll around and enjoy the colours and smell of fruit and vegetables.

Laurie Constantino

Friday 11th of January 2008

I do love the laiki - you can often find things there (like various horta) that are just not available at the supermarkets. Plus it's more entertaining than the supermarket!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen

Friday 11th of January 2008

This is great Ivy! I just posted about my farmer's market today! They are great!

I also want to formally welcome you to The Foodie Blogroll!


Friday 11th of January 2008

Peter, I absolutely agree with you. I can remember when I was newly wed and came to Greece I didn't like anything with oregano in it and now I adore it. I now see this with my children. As they grow and decide to taste things they wouldn't eat when they were younger they end up loving them.

Peter M

Friday 11th of January 2008

Ivy, I love shopping in the Laiki and I miss it.

As for Spanakorizo, as a child I hated spinach and anything with spinach but as an adult I've grown to like it.

People should always re-try dishes they once hated as I now adore Spanakorizo.

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