Almost Turkish Recipes

Spinach with Yogurt (Yoğurtlu Ispanak)

Most of my friends when we were kids ate spinach only because of Popeye. I did not. I ate spinach because my mom made delicious spinach and I never understood how Popeye's spinach that comes out of a can could be tasty or powerful, especially without yogurt. Here's my mom's recipe; almost her recipe, because I made a few moderations in years.

1 1/2 pound (app. 700 gr.) spinach, fresh, chopped into bite sizes- baby spinach would be good, too!
1 big onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp tomato or pepper paste (or half/half)
2-3 tbsp olive oil or for a tastier spinach 3 tbsp butter
1/4 cup rice, definitely white
1/3 cup milk or yogurt (milk helps with that weird taste on your teeth after eating spinach) [half&half or even heavy cream could be nice and creamy as well]
1 cup hot water
1/2 tsp (or as much as you want) black pepper
pepper flakes

-Heat the oil in a pot and add onion and garlic. Stir for 10 minutes or until they're cooked and add tomato/pepper paste. Stir on medium heat for an other 3-4 minutes.
-If it's fresh, add spinach in small batches, and as they wilt, keep adding more. Stir for approximately 10 minutes until spinach changes into a darker green.
-Add rice and cook stirring for a minute or two.
-Pour first milk,yogurt, half&half or whatever you decided to use, cook for a minute or two.
-Add hot water, black pepper and salt to your taste. (This spinach dish is great with some heat, so feel free to add pepper flakes)
-Cook on low heat until rice is cooked (approximately for 30 minutes).
-Serve with yogurt on the side. Spinach means nothing to me if I don't mix it with yogurt, yet again there are a lot of people who like it plain.

PS: To digress from the Turkish recipe towards an Indian touch, replace tomato/pepper paste with curry.


  1. This sounds just wonderful, and I've never seen spinach prepared like this so I'd love to try it.

    BTW, I used some of the red pepper in a chicken soup yesterday, just a touch for a little bite and it was fantastic. Thanks again!

  2. We love spinach and I have to try your recipe. Sounds so delicious. :))

  3. It's totally delicious! Adding rice is something new to me, but I still like the idea!

  4. Hi there - Just wanted to let you know I've included this recipe in this week's Semi-Weekly Gluten-Free Roundup.

  5. this recipe has been here a couple years so you may never read this post but would you use dill with this? im trying not to be the stereotypical greek who goes on about how we make this in greece too but we blah blah etc but unfortunately i am.
    anyway my grandmother taught me to use dill with this sort of meal and am wondering if you ever do. i plan on trying without. how's that for breaking the stubborn greek mould?
    Having said that I think an epic "cook-off" between your mother and my grandmother could well be the definitive culinary contest of our time...

  6. Hi Constantino,
    No, we do not use dill with spinach. Never heard of it or any other herb with spinach. Next time I kind of want to try.

  7. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Selam, ispanaklari 10-15 dakika cevirip sonra pirinci koyunca erimiyor mu? Ben pirinci once salcayla 1-2 defa cevirip sonra ispanagi koyuyorum o zaman bile pirincler tam pismiyor. Bu arada blogun cok basarili! Phd belasina ben de epey sardim yemek isine, arkadaslar da tarif isteyip duruyordu. Ingilizce bir iki tarif ariyordum ve tariflerini cok begendim. Ben biraz olcusuz yaptigim icin zor oluyordu tarif vermek, sen vakit ayirip yapmisin, cok da guzel olmus. Artik tarif sorana blogunun adresini veriyorum. Hollanda'dan selamlar.