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Comforting (and gluten-free) Spinach with ground meat, onions & wholegrain basmati rice – Kiymali Ispanak

Comforting & delicious Spinach with ground meat, onions and wholegrain basmati rice - also gluten-free!

Comforting & delicious Spinach with ground meat, onions and wholegrain basmati rice – also gluten-free!

Kiymali Ispanak, Spinach with ground meat, onions and rice is one of my favorite comfort food that I turn to often. Spinach is a much loved vegetable in Turkey and often finds its way in boreks, savory pastries and also enjoyed with eggs. This dish, like other all-in-one pan dishes called “Tencere Yemekleri” in Turkish, is a popular one at home. Spinach, rice and ground meat are cooked together in the pan, with a generous tomato based sauce to dip your bread in. It is very easy to cook, delicious and you have a complete, healthy dish in a short time. This meal is also gluten-free if you use wholegrain basmati rice.

Scrumptious array of home cooked stews, stuffed vegetables, dolmas, koftes and more at traditional lokantas in Turkey

Scrumptious array of home cooked stews, stuffed vegetables, dolmas, koftes and more at traditional lokantas in Turkey

“Tencere Yemekleri” is also popular by the locals, enjoyed at  the traditional, local restaurants called “Esnaf Lokantasi”. Trays of mouthwatering precooked and gently heated bean stews, rice, vegetables cooked in olive oil, stuffed vegetables, spinach with onion and eggs and many more are displayed in a buffet style. This is slowly cooked “fast food”, Turkish style; all you need to do is to pick up your tray and point to the Chef, Asci, which dishes you would like to try. They are ever so inviting, healthy, delicious, great value and a wonderful way to sample some home style Turkish meals. We enjoyed this feast in Asik Restaurant in Didyma during our Culinary & Cultural Turkey tour this year; really a feast to all senses.

Kiymali Ispanak; Spinach with ground meat, onions and rice, a complete, healthy & delicious meal.

Kiymali Ispanak; Spinach with ground meat, onions and rice, a complete, healthy & delicious meal.

I hope you enjoy this favorite comfort food featuring spinach. I like to use all the stems and leaves of the spinach, once washed well. Plain or garlic yoghurt with crusty bread aside go really well with this spinach meal.

Bulgur and potato patties with spring onion; bulgurlu, patatesli kofte

Bulgur and potato patties with spring onion; bulgurlu, patatesli kofte

We also enjoy this potato and bulgur patties, bulgurlu & patatesli kofte, to go with this spinach dish; they are delicious to dip into wonderful sauce of the spinach meal.

Serves  4

750 gr/1lb 10oz fresh spinach, washed and coarsely chopped

2 medium onions, finely chopped

225gr/8oz/1 cup ground beef

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

90gr/3 ½ oz. / ½ cup wholegrain basmati rice, rinsed and drained

30ml/2 tbsp. tomato paste (or 1 tbsp. double concentrated tomato paste)

30ml/ 2 tbsp. olive oil

750ml/ 1 ¼ pints/3 cups hot water

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Plain natural yoghurt to serve

Red pepper flakes to serve

Heat the olive oil in a heavy, deep pan. Stir in the onions and cook until golden. Add the ground beef and garlic, stir and cook for a few minutes, until the juice from the meat is evaporated. Add the rinsed rice, tomato paste and the hot water, stir well. Once the mixture starts to bubble, add the chopped spinach and season with salt and ground black pepper. Cover the pan and cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes.

Comforting & delicious Spinach with ground meat, onions and wholegrain basmati rice - also gluten-free!

Comforting Spinach with ground meat, onions and wholegrain basmati rice

You can serve this delicious spinach meal with a dollop of plain yoghurt over the top, sprinkled with red pepper flakes. Fresh, crusty bread aside is ideal to mop up the delicious juices.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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12 Responses to Comforting (and gluten-free) Spinach with ground meat, onions & wholegrain basmati rice – Kiymali Ispanak

  1. jaz October 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    this looks so good. i love spinach and can’t wait to make this.

    • Ozlem Warren October 22, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      Thank you Jaz, this is such a simple yet very tasty spinach meal, I hope you enjoy it 🙂
      Ozlem

  2. seniordogsabroad October 22, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    Özlem, Another great-sounding meal for a winter’s evening. The potato patties are also interesting. We like bulgur in çiğ köfte and Turkish potatoes quite a bit so the combination of the two flavors sounds brilliant. Take care.

    • Ozlem Warren October 22, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

      Thank you Jolee; the bulgur & potato patties are brilliant and so versatile. Finer – koftelik bulgur – works best here, they are great to mop up juices of any casserole or served as an appetizer. Glad you enjoyed the post; cok selamlar, Ozlem

  3. BacktoBodrum October 22, 2013 at 7:10 pm #

    [Marked as spam by Antispam Bee | Spam reason: Server IP]
    I missed these locanta so much when I lived in England.

    • Ozlem Warren October 22, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      I greatly miss them too Annie, such a wonderful variety and abundance of delicious home cooked style food.

  4. Peri October 23, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    Wholesome and delicious dish, Ozlem. Love using spinach and the basmati rice with a dollop of yogurt makes it a perfect meal:) great recipe! XxPeri.

    • Ozlem Warren October 23, 2013 at 9:08 am #

      Thanks Peri; it is a family friendly dish, with all cooked together, one of our favorite comfort meals, glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Ozlem xx

  5. Alan October 23, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    . . as you know, J and I drive all over Turkey and it’s lokanta food by day and soup through the night – your dishes look wonderful!

    • Ozlem Warren October 23, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

      So worth it, isn’t it Alan, I would do the same! Enjoy those lokantas for us too! and thank you for your kind words : )

  6. Phil in the Kitchen October 23, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    Simple flavours in a lovely combination – it couldn’t be more comforting. I really like the addition of the yoghurt at the end.

    • Ozlem Warren October 24, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      Thanks Phil, the creaminess of yoghurt is really a nice, refreshing touch, complements the spinach so well; glad you enjoyed it : )

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