Thursday, May 10, 2018

Seskoulorizo - Greek rainbow chard with rice

I came back from the market the other day with a bagful of rainbow chard and when I was done staring at it, admiring its gorgeous colors and photographing it, I started contemplating what to do with it and couldn’t wait to taste it in a dish. I’m sure you know that these greens are not all show; they are delicious too.

I didn’t want to make a Greek pie, which is a common way to use chard in my country, but wanted something a bit different. And then it hit me; I would make a riff on the classic, traditional spanakorizo (Greek spinach rice) using my beautiful, multicolored chard instead of spinach.

That’s what I did, and the result was amazing. There’s so much creaminess, flavor and warmth in this dish. Tasty, smooth and comforting, with fresh flavors from the chard and the herbs, richness from the olive oil and rice, and of course plenty of lemon squeezed over the whole dish to bring it to life and add a much welcomed acidity.

With some good, tangy Greek feta on the side and a few slices of dark, crusty bread, it’s one of the simplest, healthiest and quickest dishes to make.

Hope you enjoy, and don’t forget to tag me on instagram if you make any of the recipes from my blog so I can see them!

Seskoulorizo - Greek rainbow chard with rice

The rice used in this dish is Karolina rice, a very typical kind of white, starchy, medium-grain rice used a lot in Greek cooking, but the Italian Arborio would work perfectly as well.

Yield: 2 main course servings

500 g fresh rainbow chard (or regular swiss chard)
6 Tbsp (90 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
4-5 spring onions, white and pale green parts only, sliced thinly
A big handful of fresh dill, divided into stems and leaves, finely chopped
A big handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided into stems and leaves, finely chopped
⅓ heaped cup Greek Karolina rice or Arborio rice
Freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Special equipment: large, heavy-bottomed pan with lid, colander

Using a large knife, slice the leaves and stalks of the chard as shown in the photo below. Rinse well under cold running water and drain in a colander.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat and when it starts to shimmer, add the red onion, green onions, dill and parsley stems and sauté, stirring constantly, until they soften but don’t color.

Add the chopped chard, the rice, salt and pepper and stir until the chard settles. It will take 4-5 minutes as there’s a lot of it. Add 1 cup of hot water to the pan together with the chopped dill and parsley leaves, put the lid on the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes, making sure to check after 10 minutes to see if it needs more water.

Note: If you are used to making spanakorizo (Greek spinach rice), then you’d think that the greens will release a lot of water but chard isn’t the same as spinach. Chard releases less water, that’s why you need to keep checking while cooking so the dish doesn’t dry out, and add more water if it does.

Keep simmering until the chard stalks are tender and the rice is cooked. It will need about 25 minutes in total. Cooking time is dependent on the kind of rice you use and the thickness and toughness of the chard.
In the end, the rice must be a little al dente and not mushy or broken, and the chard must be soft but not mushy. Also, the dish should be wet but not soupy, and, again, it shouldn’t be dry.

When ready, check the seasoning, adding more if needed, and give 4-5 squeezes of a lemon to start. Stir and take the pan off the heat. Allow to stand for 10 minutes with the lid on.

Serve warm or at room temperature with extra lemon juice.


  1. Using the frozen brown/wild rice in the freezer will make this a nice quick dish

    1. Hi Trace. Wild or brown rice would not work in this recipe. It needs a starchy kind of rice to make it creamy, otherwise you'll have a completely different dish that will probably be dry as well. So I would suggest you use Arborio in order to achieve the authentic flavor and texture of this dish.

  2. Delicious! I had all this chard and couldn't figure out what to do with it, I thought maybe i can make something like spanakorizo and behold, a recipe was already made for me! love it.

  3. This came out very nice! I had a bunch of chard I needed to use up and came across your recipe. Luckily I also had dill and parsley on hand. The only deviation is that I tossed in a couple of crushed garlic cloves towards the end of sauteing the onions. I didn't have Karolina rice, but I always keep Calrose rice on hand which works well for this sort of thing (I use it frequently in spanakorizo).