Question: what do you do with leftover spinach? You know when you’ve forgotten about a bag of spinach and it ends up mushed in the back of the fridge until you discover it there. It’s a not so fresh that you want to make a salad out of it, but you don’t want to throw it away. Around our house, I often saute “leftover” spinach and put it in baked ziti, pasta, or even smoothies.

Flipping through the July/August issue of Cuisine at Home, I found another idea–green rice. The simple recipe uses a puree of spinach and cilantro to serve with BBQ shrimp (I wasn’t impressed with the overly sweet “creole” shrimp recipe). The flavor-infused rice is a great way to perk up a normally ho-hum side dish. Here are my two versions:

Green rice with spinach & cilantro

*Works well with spicy Mexican or American dishes

Prep time: 30 minutes

Servings: 4-6


Ingredients

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 cup Basmati or Jasmine rice

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 cup chicken broth, divided

1 cup milk

2 cups fresh spinach

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 lime

1/2 serrano chile (optional)

  1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until soft.
  2. Rinse the rice in cold water, then add it to the pan; cook for about one minute.
  3. Stir 1 cup broth and the milk into the rice. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 to 20 minute until tender.
  4. Meanwhile, puree the spinach, cilantro, juice from the lime, pepper (if using) and 1/2 cup chicken broth in a blender. Stir the spinach mixture into the rice and heat through (about 3 minutes).
  5. Serve.

Green rice with spinach & basil

*Works well with Italian or French dishes

Substitute 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves for the cilantro, a lemon for the lime, and add a dash of cayenne pepper in place of the serrano.

Kids’ reactions:

My youngest shied away from trying the rice at first saying, “What’s the green stuff, mom?” But after watching her older sisters finish off their plates she downed hers too. I served the rice with a wedge of lime for squeezing. I’ll definitely make this again.

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