Spanakorizo with tomatoes (spinach rice)

Spanakorizo with tomatoes (spinach rice)

Spanakorizo with tomatoes (Σπανακόρυζο με ντομάτες) is a favourite meal to serve especially during Lent, the fasting period of Orthodox Easter. Filling and nutritious it is a complete meal in itself. The word spanakorizo basically translates to spinach rice. In Cyprus and Greece this meal is enjoyed with or without tomato. It mostly depends on what else you would like to serve it with.


I have a variety of rice types in my pantry but my three favourites for this spanakorizo with tomatoes would have to be long grain, basmati and even brown rice. Long grain rice and basmati result in a similar texture. On the other hand, brown rice tends to be nuttier in texture and takes about 15min longer to cook, which means a bit more water will be required.


When I make spanakorizo with tomatoes I tend to use baby spinach, purely because of its convenience. But using English spinach, homegrown spinach or even frozen spinach would work just as well. As long as it is well washed and then roughly chopped before it is added the result will be delicious.


The sweetness of the spanakorizo comes from the browned onions, spinach and the tomatoes added. The sumac and lemon juice give the meal its tangy flavour. When I make this meal without tomatoes I tend to add dill for a more aromatic finish.

Spanakorizo with tomatoes

Prep Time 10 mins

Cook Time 20 mins

Resting time 15 mins

Servings: 5


• 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil

• 1 brown onion or 2 spring onions, chopped

• 250 g baby spinach

• 1 ¼ cup basmati, 250g (or long grain rice), washed and strained

• 400 g diced tomatoes or 300g tomato passata

• 400 ml water hot

• 1 tsp salt

• ⅛ tsp black pepper

• 1 tsp sumac, optional

• ¼ cup lemon juice


1. Use the olive oil to sauté the onions. Add the baby spinach leaves and allow them to wilt before stirring through the rice. Pour in the diced tomatoes, hot water and sprinkle the salt, black pepper and sumac.

2. Cover the pot and allow the rice to cook for 10min on low heat. After that time stir through the lemon juice, cover the pot again and allow the rice to cook for a further 5min.

3. Finally take the pot off the heat, cover the pot with a clean towel and then the lid on top. Allow it to rest for about 10-15min before eating. This meal is often paired with yoghurt and a fresh salad.