Turkish Spinach with Tomatoes and Rice

Not every tradition allows rice during Passover; in this fragrant dish there’s just enough of it to add substance to the vegetables. Some Sephardic Jews have traditionally allowed rice during Passover, whereas many Ashkenazi Jews do not. There isn’t much of it in this Turkish spinach dish, adapted from a recipe in Clifford A. Wright’s “A Mediterranean Feast,” just enough to add substance to the vegetables.


  • 2 pounds spinach, stemmed and washed in 2 changes water, or 1 pound baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice or, in season, 1 1/4 pound tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock, vegetable stock, garlic broth or water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons long grain or basmati rice, rinsed in several changes of water, or 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ to 1 teaspoon sugar (to taste)
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

      200 calories; 9 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 25 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams dietary fiber; 6 grams sugars; 10 grams protein; 1 milligram cholesterol; 307 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

4 to 6 side-dish servings


  1. Wash the spinach and, working in batches if necessary, steam for about 2 minutes above an inch of boiling water, just until wilted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, lidded skillet or casserole and add the garlic. Cook, stirring, until it begins to sizzle and smell fragrant, about 30 seconds, and stir in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly. Add the stock or water, the lemon juice, rice, salt, paprika, cinnamon, sugar and steamed spinach and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until the mixture has the consistency of a thick stew, about 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot or warm.
  • Advance preparation: You can steam the spinach 1 or 2 days ahead. This dish makes a great leftover that I enjoyed for 3 days running.

50 minutes

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