Spanakorizo – Greek Spinach “Risotto” With Fennel and Bone Marrow (Keto, AIP, Paleo, Wahls, Whole30)

When most people think of Greek food, they think fried calamari, tzatziki and/or Greek salad. But, truth is, there are tons of traditional Greek recipes that are filled with flavor and incredibly easy to adapt to a grain-free and even dairy-free lifestyle!

Greek dishes typically don’t use tons of ingredients, but they do utilize a lot of fresh herbs. Some of the herbs that are most widely used are dill and parsley (often along green onions). Fennel does not feature prominently in Greek cooking, but I like adding it to my spanakorizo because I think it really makes the flavors pop. If you’re not a fan of fennel (or licorice!), you can easily replace it with yellow onion, which is what is traditionally used in this recipe.

Spanakorizo is an incredibly simple dish – as many Greek ones are! – yet delicious and easy to make. It’s also unbelievably versatile, and can be adapted to different diets, protocols and diet preferences.

Spanakorizo can be enjoyed on its own, or served with a side of cheese/ protein. In Greece, it’s frequently enjoyed with fresh feta, plain yogurt or a few meatballs, but it’s also delicious with fried pork belly (I get the precooked one from Trader Joe’s), fried or poached eggs, fried/ grilled haloumi, or steamed white fish (drizzled with olive oil and topped with some fresh parsley or dill). If you are using bone marrow as your fat, I wouldn’t go with the fish or the yogurt as a side, FYI!

Talking about fat, you don’t have to use bone marrow, but it adds A LOT of flavor here. If you are going for a vegetarian version, I recommend using olive oil, or at least drizzling the finished ready risotto with some high-quality, cold-pressed olive oil, like Kasandrinos.  I haven’t tried it, so I’m not sure, but the one fat that I don’t think would work great is coconut oil, unless you’re using a refined version (i.e., flavorless and odorless).

If you do modify the dish, please let us know how it goes in the comments below!

YIELD

1-2 servings (depending on whether you’ll have it as a main or a side)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped dill (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1/3 cup fresh, chopped parsley (or 1 and 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fennel bulb (or yellow onion)
  • 1/4 cup dried mushrooms (I like shiitake, morels, chanterelle or porcini)
  • 1 thinly sliced spring onion
  • 1/4 -1/3 cup bone or vegetable broth
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg (omit for strict AIP or replace with mace)
  • salt and pepper to taste (omit pepper for strict AIP)
  • 3 tbsp marrow fat (you’ll need one long marrow bone or 2-3 thinly sliced one)* or other fat of choice

PREPARATION

  1. Submerge your mushrooms in a cup of hot water. If you are using full mushrooms, make sure the gills are touching the water. Soaking time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the mushrooms. Most thinly sliced mushrooms will be rehydrated in 20 to 30 minutes. Whole mushrooms, like shiitake, can take around 3-4 hours to rehydrate fully.
  2. If you don’t have marrow fat ready, roast your bones while the mushrooms rehydrate, and chop your herbs while waiting for the bones to roast.
  3. Remove mushrooms from water, pat dry and, if using whole mushrooms, cut into slices.
  4. Add the fat to a cast iron skillet and sauté the fennel until it is soft and translucent.
  5. Add the chopped herbs and spring onion and sauté for a 1-2 minutes, until the herbs have started to release their aroma. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking.
  6. Add the cauliflower rice and spices, and mix well.
  7. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat, add spinach and cover. Once spinach has started to wilt, blend with the rice mixture. Add a little broth, if needed.
  9. Simmer for 4-5 minutes, until cauliflower rice is cooked. Allow the rice to absorb the broth until it is tender but not mushy.
  10. Remove from heat and serve with a drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil, a slice of goat milk feta or other protein of choice. (see above suggestions)

*Roasting the marrow bonesPreheat oven to 450 degrees. Put bones on foil-lined baking sheet or in an ovenproof skillet. Cook until marrow is soft and has begun to separate from the bone, about 15 minutes for small and halved marrow bones, about 30-40 minutes for full-length bones.

 

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