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Recipe: Arroz de Grelos (Rapini Greens with Rice)

Cooking 20 min Preparation 5 min 4 easy
Recipe type: Vegetable Cuisine: Portuguese

If you’re not coming to Portugal for a fabulous food tour, then follow our recipe for a taste of Portuguese cuisine at home!

The list of reasons why I love Portugal is long … I could tell you about the goodwill of the people—definitely towards the top of my list. How excited they get when they recognize a genuine interest from a visitor about their country. How they’re always ready to set the table with the best they have to offer and try really hard to understand you—even if only through smiles and gestures. All of these reasons, and more, add up to why I love Portugal. But I’ll fess up to my unrelenting gluttony, and tell you that what’s at the VERY TOP of my list is the food! Not only because of the fusion of flavors you can enjoy due to the influence of Portuguese maritime discoveries and colonial-era ties on its Mediterranean  foundation, but most importantly, how integral delicious and nourishing food is to the fabric of Portuguese life – and this recipe is no exception. 

Grelos is a catchall word for leafy greens in Portuguese, but only rapini is exclusively called grelos. Others that are in the same category include: nabiças (turnip greens), mustard greens, and very young cabbage and spinach (espinafres) leaves. With their light bitter taste, they’re perfect for cutting rich, fatty meats like alheira and heavy dishes like açorda. So don’t hold back in experimenting with it!

If you’re looking for more recipes, check out our book on Northern Portuguese Cuisine, or book a custom Portuguese food tour with us today!


  • 1 bunch nabiças (turnip greens)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cups (300g) uncooked rice
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • coarse salt


  1. Wash the nabiças thoroughly to remove any dirt. Trim the ends of the stems and discard. Roughly chop and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat. Add in garlic and onions, sautéing until lightly browned on the edges; about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium low and add in the chopped nabiças and stir everything together. Cover with a lid and allow the greens to wilt and the stems to soften, stirring occasionally; about 7-9 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and add the rice to the pan, stirring to combine. Add in about ¼ of the water to the pot and stir. Allow the rice to absorb some of the water before adding in the rest of the water. Stirring occasionally, allow the rice to finish cooking through. The texture should be creamy, not dry. Turn off the heat.
  5. Add vinegar and season with salt, stir well. Cover and let sit 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
  6. Turnip greens or young cabbage sprouts can also be substituted for the nabiças.

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