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).