Spinach And Feta Pie (Spanakopita)
Popular Greek Spinach and Feta Pie (Spanakopita) is great for a meatless, light every day. Simple one pot meal, packed with wonderful flavors.
Spanakopita is a Greek pastry made with phyllo dough and a filling of chopped spinach, green onions, dill, eggs and feta cheese. Filling is often wrapped or layered in phyllo, which is usually brushed with olive oil or butter (or a mix of both) to make it flakier.
This spinach and feta pie could be made in a large baking dish or rolled into individual triangular servings.
Before I proceed with the recipe, I would like to mention that this is just one of the many ways to prepare this spinach and feta pie. It is a popular dish on the Balkans and each country and community has its own way to prepare it. I’m not saying that this is a traditional or classic recipe, this is just the way my family likes it. And of course one of the easiest ways to prepare.
I always use store bought phyllo dough, but there is a way to make a homemade version of this pie crust with flour. It makes it crunchier, but I’ve never attempted to make it. Only experienced cooks like my grandmother (or good housewives, who follow traditions) can make it.
Spanakopita only takes about 1 hour to make and can be enjoyed as a meal or snack. Great for a party, if you cut it into small pieces or roll it into triangles.
The best part – it contains 2 of my favorite cooking ingredients, constant staples in my kitchen – spinach and feta. Of course it could be made with other white, fresh, salted cheeses like Haloumi or even Vermont Cheddar.
Canned spinach could be substitutes, but I prefer using fresh, whenever I could. I like to blanch its leaves in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, then drain and transfer to a bowl with ice cold water for 2 minutes. Drain again and very important : squeeze out as much water as possible, to prevent your pie turning soggy. Phyllo pies are all about crunchiness and getting the most water out of the spinach is advised.
This spinach and feta pie is very easy to make if you follow the instructions and it tastes delicious! I love cooking with spinach, because it is low in calories and contains fiber and iron. Feta cheese contains vitamins and minerals, but it can also be high in saturated fat and sodium. I like it in meals like this one, because of its tangy flavor.
I’ve heard that phyllo dough could be found in a gluten free version, but I haven’t seen it in the store I get mine from.
Spinach and Feta Pie (Spanakopita)
- 1 to 1.5 lb — (1/2 to 3/4 kg) fresh spinach, thoroughly washed
- 4 scallions chopped
- 11 oz (300 gr) feta cheese crumbled
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
- 8 sheets of phyllo dough sheets thawed — (12x7 in each)
- 3/4 cup melted butter or extra virgin olive oil — ( I've used a mixture of both and it works great)
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- salt — (optional, since feta is pretty salty most of the time)
Make sure that spinach is cleaned and washed thoroughly. Remove any thick stems.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and add spinach. Blanch for 2-3 minutes, then carefully drain. Transfer spinach to a large bowl, filled with ice-cold water. Let it cool for 2 minutes. Drain again, squeeze as much water out of it as you can. Roughly chop.
In a large bowl combine spinach, scallions, parsley, dill, black pepper, eggs and feta cheese. Mix well. Add salt if needed.
Preheat oven to 350 F (190 C). Brush a 13x9 inch (33x23 cm) baking dish with butter (olive oil).
Brush a sheet of phyllo with butter (olive oil) and place it in the baking dish, allowing it to hang over the edges. Add 4 more sheets, brushing each one with butter (olive oil) and placing them at different angles.
Spoon spinach feta filling into the phyllo "case", then top with 2 of he remaining 3 phyllo sheets (brushing each one with butter/olive oil).
Fold the over hanging phyllo pastry over the top sheets to close. Brush top with butter/olive oil.
Brush the last pastry sheet with butter/olive oil and scrunch it on top of the spinach feta pie. Brush top with olive oil again.
Optional : Sprinkle the top with 1 tbsp cold water, to prevent edges of the pie from curling.
Bake for 40 minutes, until golden.
Allow the pie to cool for about 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Any left overs could be stored in air tight container in the fridge for up to a week.