When asked what dish she would love to make for her mother, chef Deborah VanTrece pointed to this spinach rice recipe. She says, “There are so many dishes I’d like to make for my mom today. That’s one of the reasons I created a restaurant named after her, Oreatha’s, where we celebrate moms all over the world who feed and nourish their families with love. But if I had to pick one dish, it would be my grandmother’s (Grandma Lou’s) Spinach Rice. It’s a dish that represents family, love and traditions. My mother made it for me and I make it for my daughter. To me, it embodies a mother’s love. Of course like all love—and all delicious food—it’s best shared. It’s the dish I’d like to share most with my mom on Mother’s Day.”
Recipe reprinted with permissions from © The Twisted Soul Cookbook: Modern Soul Food with Global Flavors by Deborah VanTrece, Rizzoli New York, 2021. Images © Noah Fecks
Photo by: James Smith
Serves 6 to 8
3 cups cooked white rice, chilled
2 large eggs beaten
½ cup butter (1 stick)
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped red onion
4 pounds baby spinach, washed and trimmed
1 cup chopped marinated artichokes
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sour cream
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a deep casserole or 13×9-inch baking pan. Set aside
- In a large bowl, stir together the cold rice and beaten eggs. Set aside
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the celery, peppers, onions, and spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the spinach is wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, Parmesan, and garlic.
- Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cream cheese has melted and all of the ingredients are well combined. Add the spinach-cheese mixture to the rice. With a wooden spoon, stir in the black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
- Pour into the prepared casserole, and cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.
- © The Twisted Soul Cookbook: Modern Soul Food with Global Flavors by Deborah VanTrece, Rizzoli New York, 2021.