My Mom’s “Spanakorizo” (Spinach and Rice)


Growing up watching Popeye the sailor man, eating spinach from a can, had me convinced that spinach was my way of becoming super woman. Time passed and the closest I got to acquiring super powers, was when I accidentally almost electrocuted myself by sticking a nail into a plug (the fact that I’m alive, puts me in the “people with special powers hall of fame”!).

Despite my “adventurous” past, my mom’s spinach and rice recipe brings back only happy memories of my childhood. She makes this dish so creamy like a risotto, only it’s not. She adds leeks and spring onions, dill and two whole bunches of fresh spinach, along with grated tomatoes and rice.

When cooking for my family, I almost forgot about this lovely dish. It was only until I met my dear friend Gunna, who came to live with us and happens to be a vegetarian, that I decided to make “spanakorizo”. I must admit, I didn’t expect the raving reviews when I cooked it for her, since this was a very familiar taste I grew up with. Sometimes, I forget how fantastic our Cypriot family dinners tasted. She just loved it and asked me to make it many times since then. It was one of the treasured recipes she took with her when she went back home to Iceland.

This is my lovely mom’s spanakorizo. A recipe I will treasure and try to feed to my kids. My very own “super-heroes”.



  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 leeks, chopped, white and pale green parts
  • 5 spring onions, chopped (white and green parts)
  • 4 Tbs chopped dill
  • 2 bunches fresh spinach (about 600 grams)
  • 1 ¼ cup grated or crushed tomatoes (from a carton or can)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth (or 1 vegetable stock cube dissolved in 1 cup boiling water)
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • Salt and freshly grounded black pepper


Heat the olive oil in a heavy based, large pan. Sautee the onion, spring onions and leeks over medium-high heat until soft, then add the dill. Roughly chop the spinach in big chunks (include the stems) and add to the pan. Lower the heat and cover the pan until spinach cooks, about 10 minutes (spinach must be cooked before you add the tomatoes and rice). Then add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and rice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix everything together and lower the heat. Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes. Give it a stir, cover the pan again and cook for 10-15 minutes longer until rice is cooked. Turn off the heat and cover pan with a kitchen towel. Put the lid back on and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with Greek yogurt.

To reheat, add a little water.




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