Spinach Stew with Vermicelli Rice – Lina Saad

Spinach Stew and Vermicelli Rice

Credit: Lina Saad

Having originated in the Middle East, this mainly Persian dish spread all over the region through invasions and the Ottoman Empire.

Middle Eastern Yakhnis come in different flavours and with different ingredients. Some are made in tomato sauce and others in white sauce comprising of water, lemon and garlic.

Lebanese Yakhnis are renowned for their sophistication. Since this is a seasonal dish, a wide variety of vegetables can be used therein.

Spinach with minced lamb and pine nuts is one of my favourite Yakhnis. I always add plenty of lemon juice, as well as crushed garlic and coriander, which elevates the flavours, before serving with rice and toasted pine nuts

Finally, I am pleased to announce that I have started operating as Lina’s Catering, where I can cater for parties and offices Lebanese Food. Contact me below for a copy of the menu I’ve created and if you order now, you’ll be guaranteed 15% off.


  • 1kg of fresh spinach  (baby leaf)
  • 350g minced lamb
  • 50g pine nuts
  • ½ bunch of coriander finely chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic crushed
  • Juice of two lemons
  • Salt to taste
  • A dash of vegetable oil
  1. Wash the fresh spinach thoroughly and wilt down with a dash of vegetable oil in a deep pot.
  2. Stir the wilted spinach, season with salt and add about 1 litre of hot water.
  3. In the mean time, into a frying pan toss fry the crushed garlic and chopped coriander and then add into the spinach. Stir for two minutes and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat.
  4. In a frying pan, add another dash of vegetable oil and cook the pine nuts until golden. Remove and put on kitchen paper.
  5. Add the minced lamb into the same pan and cook thoroughly. Add the pine nuts to the lamb again and season with salt and a ¼ tsp of ground cinnamon.
  6. Add the cooked minced lamb and pine nuts into the spinach and allow to cook further on low heat for about 35-40 minutes.
  7. Add the juice of the lemons and adjust the salt seasoning according to your like.


  • 1tbsp unsalted butter
  • Dash of vegetable oil
  • 1cup basmati rice
  • ¼ cup vermicelli
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • salt to season
  1. The first step is to get the water kettle to boiling point.
  2. Into a pot, add the butter, some oil, the vermicelli and stir with a wooden spoon until golden.
  3. Add in the rice and stir for two minutes; season with salt.
  4. Add in the two cups of hot boiling water, reduce the heat immediately and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes or until the rice is fluffy and thoroughly cooked.
    Hint: Please do not fork the rice and stir after you add the water.

lina-saad-ramadan-expressAward-winning food author, Lina Saad, won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2018 for the ‘Best Book in the World’ (here’s a link to her book available on Kindle Amazon for just £3.50).

Representing the UK, chef Lina’s second cookbook ‘Ramadan Express’ was one of eight shortlisted for the Arab Cuisine category.

This is the second time she’s been awarded the Gourmand accolade after her debut cookbook ‘Land of White: Lebanese Cookery’ also triumphed in 2016.

Born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, Lina left for Lebanon to attend school in Beirut, before moving to London when she was 18 to study for a BA in Hotel Management at Westminster College.

Having previously run the acclaimed Lebanese restaurant Alicia on London’s Warren Street for several years, the mother of two now resides in west London as a full-time author and recipe developer.

Follow her on: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

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