I like to add vegetables into whatever I’m eating, whenever I can, and this Spinach Rice with Feta is such a great way to do that. The spinach adds just a little bit of flavor and color, leaving the rice just about as versatile as plain rice, all while giving you an extra little dose of vegetables with very little effort. It’s a great way to add just a little bit more interest to your plate without making your meal prep a lot more difficult.
This simple side dish is inspired by Spanikorizo, a Greek rice dish with spinach and tomatoes (see an authentic spanikorizo recipe here). I pared it down and decided to make it more like a pilaf instead of a saucy tomato dish, and kept the flavors super simple and light, so it would go with just about anything. I also took a major shortcut and used frozen spinach, just to make it as fast and easy as possible (and also because I always have spinach in my freezer). The result is something I know I’m going to be making very often.
What Kind of Rice to Use
The recipe below is written for any type of long grain white rice (regular, jasmine, or basmati all work). Brown rice requires more liquid and a longer cooking time, which may leave the spinach overcooked. Short grain rice varieties, like arborio, will create a sticker end product.
Can I Use Fresh Spinach?
Yes, I used frozen spinach just to make my life easier, but you can certainly do this with fresh spinach, especially if you have some on hand that you’re looking to use up! I suggest chopping the spinach and sautéing it in the pot until wilted, just after sautéing the garlic.
What to Serve with Spinach Rice
This week I served this Spinach Rice as the base for a bowl meal, along with Yogurt Marinated Chicken and some grape tomatoes. This rice would also go great with my Beef Kofta Meatballs and Roasted Vegetables, Sheet Pan Greek Chicken and Vegetables, or Chicken Piccata.
Spinach Rice with Feta
- 1/2 lb. frozen chopped spinach ($0.65)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
- 2 Tbsp butter ($0.14)
- 1.5 cups long grain white rice ($0.93)
- 3/4 tsp salt ($0.03)
- 2.5 cups water ($0.16)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice ($0.05)
- 2 oz. feta, crumbled ($1.10)
- Thaw the spinach by either letting it sit out at room temperature for an hour, or by microwaving for 1-2 minutes. Squeeze the excess moisture out of the spinach (it doesn't have to be extremely dry for this recipe, just make sure it's not pooling water).
- Add the minced garlic and butter to a medium sauce pot. Sauté the garlic in the butter over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the spinach, rice, salt, lemon juice, and 2.5 cups water to the sauce pot. Stir briefly to combine.
- Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to medium-high, and allow the water to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low, and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let the pot rest, without removing the lid, for an additional five minutes.
- Fluff the rice with a fork, gently folding the spinach back into the rice (it tends to float to the top during cooking). Finall, sprinkle the feta over top and fold to combine again. Serve hot!
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How to Make Spinach Rice with Feta – Step by Step Photos
First, thaw ½ lb. frozen chopped spinach (either at room temperature or in the microwave) and then squeeze out the excess water. Mince two cloves of garlic and add them to a medium saucepot with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté the garlic over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
Add the thawed and squeezed spinach to the sauce pot.
Also add 1.5 cups long grain white rice, ¾ tsp salt, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 2.5 cups water.
Give the pot a brief stir to make sure everything is combined (the spinach will float to the top). Place a lid on top, turn the heat up to high, and bring it up to a full boil. Once it reaches a full boil, turn the heat down to low, and let the rice simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let the rice rest for five minutes, without removing the lid.
After resting for five minutes, remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork, gently folding the spinach back into the rice as you fluff.
Add the crumbled feta to the rice and fold it in to combine (you can save a little to garnish when serving, if you’d like).
I have an allergy to citrus, can I substitute something else for the lemon? If not, I will try it without the lemon juice.
You can sub with another acid, like vinegar. XOXO -Monti
Tasty enough, but disappointed it turned out so watery rather than fluffy. Maybe too much frozen spinach?
Didn’t quite follow recipe as we use instapot to cook rice and didn’t have feta. Sautéd garlic and thawed spinach and stirred into rice after. Served with Parma cheese at the table. Was really good and a nice change to plain rice.
Once again, Budget Bytes makes cooking-what-you-have into a different and delightful quick supper. Thank you!
This is close to the lemon spanakorizo we make in Greek families. We use the spanakorizo with tomato sauce and Greek oregano is a great hearty side for red meats or a star in vegetarian meals. The light lemony spanakorizo doesn’t overpower seafood and other more delicate mains. We usually season it with fresh or dried spearmint, but dill is another good herb to pair with the lemon. Flat-leafed parsley pairs well with the lemon, herbs, and salty feta.
I don’t normally leave a review but this was AMAZING! I made this tonight but used a frozen bag of savory riced cauliflower instead of the rice. It came together super fast and we couldn’t be happier with it. This will be a new favorite at our house.
This was the best rice I’ve ever had. So much flavour. It was great with my yogurt marinated greek chicken
How long does this keep in the fridge? Would it freeze well? I used fresh spinach, if that makes a difference.
The leftovers will be good in the fridge for a few days, or you can freeze for a few months, but the quality can vary quite a bit depending on your freezer and storage containers. Either way, when storing leftover cooked rice it’s really important to get it into the refrigerator right away after cooking so that it doesn’t stay in the “warm” state very long. Once fully cooled in the refrigerator you can transfer it to the freezer for longer storage.
Probably my favourite from this site so far. Really nice fast, easy, and healthy recipe!
Loved this recipe! I did an even lazier/faster version by tossing the rice (my rice cooker is my ride or die) with ghee, fresh spinach, feta, and salt and pepper. The hot rice wilts the fresh spinach really well: no sautéing necessary. I definitely would’ve not skipped the garlic if I’d had the time and I probably would’ve just added it raw, into the rice through a garlic press. :)
Made this last night and got a “Phenomenal” from my husband. Great for my 2 year old also! Besides the feta, these are ingredients we almost always have on hand — so easy to add it into the menu rotation.
I loved this! I struggle with eating enough veggies so will definitely make this more often. I made it in the instant pot, reduced water to 1.5 cups and used Rice setting and it came out great!
But you’re down for the struggle.
So good! I followed the fresh spinach instructions and it turned out amazing. Mine cooked for about 20 minutes before all the water was absorbed.
Here’s a truly Budget Bytes inspired idea- the next morning, reheat a bowl of the leftovers and top with a fresh soft-boiled egg!
Yessss! My favorite type of breakfast. You know me well. :)