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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
this looks so good. i love spinach and can’t wait to make this.
Thank you Jaz, this is such a simple yet very tasty spinach meal, I hope you enjoy it 🙂
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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.
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
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I missed these locanta so much when I lived in England.
I greatly miss them too Annie, such a wonderful variety and abundance of delicious home cooked style food.
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.
Thanks Peri; it is a family friendly dish, with all cooked together, one of our favorite comfort meals, glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Ozlem xx
. . 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!
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 : )
Simple flavours in a lovely combination – it couldn’t be more comforting. I really like the addition of the yoghurt at the end.
Thanks Phil, the creaminess of yoghurt is really a nice, refreshing touch, complements the spinach so well; glad you enjoyed it : )
Merhaba Ozlem, thank you so much for all your wonderful recipes and congratulations on your new cookbook! =) I was wondering if I might be able to make this in the pressure cooker and if so, how long you’d recommend cooking?
Merhaba dear Malia, many thanks for your kind note, so glad you are enjoying my recipes! Re cooking on pressure cooker, to be honest I haven’t cooked on it but I presume it will cook on a much shorter time. Spinach cooks very easily, for rice, I suggest if you can check the instructions on your cooker – such a comforting meal, hope you enjoy it! Afiyet Olsun, Ozlem
I love your recipes. We spent a total of 6 years in the Karamurel and Incirlik area of Turkey and Turkish food is our favorite. I was wondering if you will ever offer your cookbook in the United States. Ordering from Amazon UK could get pricey for us.
Thanks for all the great recipes…I’ve saved your website to my Favorites but would love to order your new cookbook from Amazon USA and support your efforts.
I appreciate you publishing so many wonderful recipes on your website.
Merhaba dear Trish,
Many thanks for your kind note, delighted to hear you are enjoying my recipes. I know the Incirlik area; one of my aunts live in Adana and we visit as often as we can, how nice you have special memories there.
And huge thanks for your kind interest for my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table. It’s been so popular and first print run almost finished, so we plan to do the general release with the 2nd print run and I would love it widely available in the US too. I will do my best and talk with my publisher and hope to make it on Amazon US, fingers crossed.
In the meantime, Signed – limited – copies available at this link, and the publisher actually absorb quite a chunk of the shipping costs to the Americas and Far East. Still I know it is not cheap, but I wanted to let you know we try hard for this very special book to reach far and beyond.
My sincere thanks for your kind note and support, really means a lot.
My best wishes,
We add feta cheese to this recipe. Sorry that I don’t know what feta cheese is in turkish, But I do know there is Turkish feta cheese, it just has a different name. So as a dutchman who loves turkey. our family holiday this year will be, Istanbul, Izmir, Pamukkale, and Dalyan, when should I mix in the white cheese?
Many thanks for your note and apologies for my delayed reply, I was traveling and teaching in Turkey. Feta is beyaz peynir for us; I would crumble it over once this meal is cooked, Afiyet olsun, Ozlem