Easy Spinach and Garlic Rice

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I tend to make the same side dishes day after day – usually something like roasted potatoes or a simple salad. Delicious, but not the star of the show.

But every now and then, a simple side dish comes along that’s totally worth a little bit of extra effort. This spinach and garlic rice is unbelievably tasty, with heaps of buttery sautéed garlic, toasted pine nuts, and parmesan cheese… the flavour is seriously irresistible.

Garlicky rice in a bowl with spinach and pine nuts.

With a slightly more interesting side dish like this garlicky rice, you can afford to make the ‘main’ part of your meal a bit more straightforward – see below for some ideas of things you could serve it with!

🥗 Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make this buttery garlic rice recipe. See the printable recipe card below for detailed ingredient quantities.

Ingredients for garlic spinach rice laid out with text overlay.
  • white rice. It needs to be a long-grain rice, e.g. basmati rice or jasmine rice
  • fresh spinach. Frozen spinach would also work!
  • onion
  • garlic. For a lot of recipes, I use pre-minced garlic puree, but for this garlic rice, I like to use fresh garlic, so I can use full slices. It’s hard to tell in the photo, but my garlic cloves were enormous, so I only used 3. If they were a more normal size, I’d probably have used 4.
  • parmesan cheese. Make sure it’s a vegetarian version!
  • pine nuts. These take on so much wonderful flavour if you toast them in the pan.

Becca’s Top Tip

If you like, you can add extra veggies to this rice dish. Some grated zucchini (courgette), for example, would be a nice addition, or some frozen peas.

👩🏽‍🍳 How to Cook Rice

I’ve deliberately designed this recipe so you can cook the rice using your preferred method, before adding all that lovely buttery, garlicky goodness. I didn’t even know rice cookers existed until I was at least 20, so I use the same method I’ve always used.

I cook rice in the same way I’d cook pasta, in a saucepan with lots of water. I don’t measure the water – I just make sure the rice has plenty of room to move around as it cooks. Then, when the rice is cooked, I drain any excess water.

This method of cooking rice is very standard in the UK, but I know other parts of the world have their own ways of cooking rice. If you prefer, you can use a different method (e.g. the absorption method, or using a rice cooker).

📹 Recipe Video

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Garlic spinach rice with pine nuts.

🖨️ Printable Instructions

A bowlful of garlicky rice with pine nuts and spinach.

Easy Garlic Spinach Rice

Easy cheesy spinach and garlic rice with toasted pine nuts – for those days when plain old white rice just isn't good enough!

If you’ve cooked this recipe, don’t forget to leave a star rating!

5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Comment
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 420kcal
Author: Becca Heyes


  • 300 g (~ 1 ½ cups) long-grain white rice
  • 2 Tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 large handfuls baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 50 g (~ 1 ⅔ oz) vegetarian parmesan-style cheese, finely grated


  • Cook the rice using your preferred method, until cooked to your liking. I boil my rice in plenty of water for around 15 minutes, then drain. You can use a rice cooker if you prefer.
    Cooked white rice in a saucepan.
  • Meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp of butter in a frying pan, and add the diced onion. Cook over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes, until slightly softened, then add the sliced garlic and pine nuts. Continue to cook for another 5 minutes, until the garlic and nuts are lightly toasted and everything is golden brown.
    Fried onions, garlic and pine nuts in a frying pan.
  • Add the roughly chopped spinach, cooking for a couple more minutes until the spinach has wilted. You can add it a handful at a time if there’s not enough room in the pan.
    Sautéed spinach with garlic and pine nuts in a frying pan.
  • Melt the remaining butter into the spinach mixture to make it glossy and luxurious. Then combine the mixture with the cooked rice, plenty of black pepper, and the finely grated cheese. Mix well to combine. You can add a little salt if you think it needs it.
    Cooked rice in a saucepan with garlic spinach and parmesan.
  • I like to serve this garlic rice topped with a few extra toasted pine nuts. Just cook a few nuts in a dry frying pan (or the same frying pan you used before – no need to wash) for a few minutes, tossing regularly, until golden brown. They can burn quickly so keep your eyes on them!
    A bowl of garlic spinach rice topped with toasted pine nuts.



Nutrition Facts
Easy Garlic Spinach Rice
Amount Per Serving (1 portion)
Calories 420 Calories from Fat 109
% Daily Value*
Fat 12.1g19%
Saturated Fat 5.8g29%
Cholesterol 24mg8%
Sodium 202mg8%
Potassium 444mg13%
Carbohydrates 66.3g22%
Fiber 2.9g12%
Sugar 1.5g2%
Protein 12g24%
Calcium 197mg20%
Iron 5mg28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on your exact ingredients. Please calculate your own nutritional values if you require accuracy for health reasons.

Tried this Recipe? Leave a Comment!Comments and star ratings really help support the site – thank you!

🍚 What to Serve with Garlic Rice

Since this garlic fried rice does take a little more time and effort to make than plain boiled rice, you might want to serve it alongside something pretty simple. Generally, if I’ve spent time and energy preparing my side dish, I want a more straightforward main dish to go alongside it – and vice versa.

Here are a few ideas of simple proteins that would pair nicely with this rice dish:

💭 Recipe FAQs

How to store leftover rice

Make sure any leftovers are cooled quickly, transferred to an air-tight tub, and placed in the fridge as soon as possible. Leftover rice should ideally be eaten within a day.

How to reheat leftover rice

This rice will reheat nicely in the microwave. Just make sure you always reheat rice very thoroughly to avoid food poisoning – see the Food Standards Agency for more details. Rice can only be reheated once.

Can I make this garlic butter rice vegan?

Absolutely – just skip the parmesan, and make sure you use a vegan butter.

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. I haven’t made this yet, but it looks really good. I don’t think I’d bother to serve it with anything – just on a plate by itself, especially if I added extra vegetables. The pine nuts and parmesan will provide adequate protein.

  2. Who wouldn’t want to say yes to cheese? This rice sounds great–rich and comforting and full of greens besides. :)