1/4cupfresh chopped dillor mint, parsley, or a combination
juice and zest of 1 lemon(about 1 teaspoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)
fresh cracked pepper, crumbled feta cheese, plus extra olive oil and chopped fresh herbsfor serving, optional
In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil (1/4 cup). Add the sliced green onions (remember to reserve 1/2 cup of the dark green tops) and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the baby spinach and sauté until wilted, about 2 minutes.
Add the basmati rice (1 cup) and stir to coat. Pour in the vegetable broth (2 cups) and add the kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon). Bring to a boil, stir once, cover, and simmer on low for about 15 minutes (or until rice is cooked - you should see holes in the top, and if you tilt the pot you should no longer see any water pooling).
Stir in the fresh chopped dill or other herbs (1/4 cup), the lemon zest (1 teaspoon) and juice (2 tablespoons), and the reserved sliced green onions (1/2 cup - keep some out for garnish if you like).
Season to taste with salt, and serve garnished with fresh cracked black pepper and crumbled feta cheese, with an extra drizzle of olive oil and sprinkling of fresh herbs, if desired.
For a richer taste, 1-2 tablespoons of butter may be stirred in at the end with the lemon juice, zest, and dill.
Other leafy greens may be used - such as mature spinach, fresh kale, or Swiss chard. Give them a chop and make sure to wash them well (here's a guide on how to prep and clean fresh kale, which is also helpful for other mature leafy greens), and allow for a bit more cooking time for them to wilt. You can also use baby or mature arugula, which will give the recipe a more peppery taste. If you like a lot of spinach, you can also double the amount to 1 full lb. (16 oz.).
Frozen spinach may be used. Thaw the spinach and squeeze out as much water as possible (I usually use a wooden spoon in a mesh sieve to push the water out). Add it to the scallions and butter and give it a quick sauté and then add the rice as directed.
Other rices may be used. Basmati rice and other long grain white rices cook very quickly and have a light and fluffy texture, which I prefer. Par-boiled (or converted) rice is common in this and other Greek recipes, and this recipe will also work with short grain white (such as arborio) or brown rice. Keep in mind you will need to adjust the cooking time and the liquid to rice ratio depending on what kind of rice you use.
You can add garlic if you like. It was purposefully left out to be more authentic (Greek food doesn't always have tons of garlic in it, despite what some people think!), and because I think the flavor is perfect without it. But if you like, you can add a couple of cloves of minced garlic after the scallions are done sautéing, until it becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds), then add the spinach as directed.