Spinach and Rice, Spinaq me Oriz in Albanian or Pirincli Ispanak in Turkish, was one of my favourite dishes as a kid. My mom makes it with paprika and veal meat, but many of my Turkish friends make it the way I am sharing with you. I had issues with eating veal when I was a kid and still do…probably why I prefer it this way! Plus my daughter Dina loves it, it’s one of her favourite dishes!
I make this with, and sometimes without, ground beef. My kids like it both ways. I usually have extra cooked up ground meat to add to dishes such as this, so it works out perfectly for me!
What you will need:
- 2 bags spinach
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1/4- 1/2 cup rice (your preference)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp red pepper paste ( I use 1 whole roasted red pepper and puree it when I am out of paste)*
- Few spoons of cooked crumbled ground beef
In a large pot, heat some olive oil and add in the tomato paste and pepper paste. Then add in the rice, diced onion and spinach. Stir around until the rice and spinach is mixed. To the pot, add 2 cups of water (you may add another 1/2 cup if you want it soupy as seen in photo), season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low- med heat until rice is cooked. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil before serving. Traditionally eaten with yogurt on the side.
*If you do not have any pepper paste or roasted red pepper, you may use a a finely diced red bell pepper. It won’t be as flavourful as the pepper paste or roasted pepper, but will do. What you can do to help bring out the flavour is pan fry it first to release the oils and flavours from the pepper then add the onion.