The first time I met Spanakopita I was a kid: I watched my mum chop up the spinach greens, sweat them off, mix in the feta cheese, and then make up triangular filo pastry parcels.
I was mesmerised by the process, and the golden-baked goodies that smelt oh so good just a short time later.
Of course, at the time I didn’t know that the greens were spinach, I didn’t know the cheese was feta, and I wasn’t familiar with the amazing pastry that is filo. I was a kid, but even as a I child I recognised the tantalising smell of molten cheese hidden beneath layers of crispy-crunchy pastry.
It was so good! Ever since, it’s been a favourite of mine. A quick stand-by recipe for those nights that I can’t be bothered doing much. There’s usually a box of filo at the back of the fridge, some feta, and whatever greens I have on hand.
Traditionally, the ‘greens’ component would be a mix of ‘horta’, or wild greens that grow in abundance in the Greek countryside. However, over time this has become a standardised mix of spinach and scallions or spring onions.
I now know that the greens that my mum used included Swiss chard, or silverbeet, perpetual spinach, and either leeks, brown onions, scallions, spring onions, and/or shallots.
Basically, you can use whatever green vegetables you have. It’s a really forgiving recipe and is great for using up the bits leftover from the week’s shop. Whilst it wouldn’t be traditional in flavour, you could also use cabbage, leafy herbs, or other asian greens.
Wondering about how to make spanakopita? The recipe itself is easy to cook. It’s just a matter of timing; heat your oven, while that’s happening you cook off your greens. Then, mix them with the cheese, herbs, and spices, then wrap it up in pastry and bake. Job done, ready to eat!
You also don’t have to do spanakopita in triangles. Instead, you might like to try cooking it as a layered tray bake, like lasagna, or rolled into lengths like sausage rolls, or folded like a pasty.
One of my favourite ways to serve spanakopita is with a rich tomato sauce, and a few more crumbs of feta scattered over the top. It’s just too good! Another good reason to make spanakopita is you won’t need any fancy equipment.
So, what do you need to make spanakopita? A skillet or frying pan, a large mixing bowl, chopping board and sharp knife, and a baking tray of your choice (a shallow tray for folded shapes, or deeper for the layered version), and some spoons to mix it all together,
Having said that, here’s some recommendations on that equipment, and the herbs and spices:
Greek herbs: Mixing your own herb blend is a great way to personalise your gyros. But, that’s not always possible, this blend by Kalypso is a great stand-by!
Olive oil: This Ilada Extra Virgin Olive Oil has to be some of the smoothest, and freshest olive oil I’ve ever discovered. It’s a must for any pantry!
Salt: Is essential to all cooking, be it sweet or savoury. This sea saltis just divine!
Frying pan or skillet: Make sure you use a non-stick frying pan, or a cast iron skillet – they’re easy to clean, and give great flavour!
Chopping board: Is a must-have in any kitchen, this solid oak chopping board is a perfect example.
Knife: You won’t need a massive knife for this, just a little paring knife. You’ll want to be able to carefully cut down through the layers of pastry, so 10cm is fine. If you don’t have a paring knife, get one, they’re a great addition to your kitchen.
Mixing bowls: Are an essential piece of kit, having enough of them though is another matter entirely! This set will give you years of good service!
Baking sheet: This baking sheet is perfect for all sorts of baking due to having a perforated bottom – lots of hot air circulation!
Stirring spoons: I’ve mentioned them before, but I really do love these wooden. Wood’s my preferred medium for stirring etc, and I never have to worry about it scratching any non-stick cookware.
Right, now on to the recipe! Here’s the easiest and the best spanakopita recipe you’ll find!
- Skillet/frying pan
- Chopping board
- Mixing bowls
- Baking sheet or tray
- 1 box Filo pastry
- 1 med Red onions halved and sliced
- 2 Scallions or Spring onions finely chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic crushed
- 500 gr Spinach washed and roughly chopped
- pinch Grated nutmeg
- 200 gr Feta cheese crumbled
- 2 lrg Eggs beaten
- 40 ml Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
- Sauté the onions in a little oil until soft and turning golden. Add the garlic and fry for a 3 minutes. Add the spinach, tossing with the onions and garlic, and cover with a lid until wilted. Remove from heat, and cool slightly.
- When cool enough to handle comfortably, add the spinach and onion mix to a bowl – leave behind any liquid. Add to this the egg, spices, feta, and scallions.
Shaping the Spanakopita – layered method
- Place a sheet of filo on the pan and drizzle with olive oil, let the filo drape the sides. Place another 3 sheets like the first. Add the vegetable and feta mix to the filo lined tray, and fold in the filo that was draped over the tray edges.Now, repeat the first filo layering with the remaining filo, remembering to drizzle oil between each layer of filo pastry, and to tuck in the over hanging pieces of filo so it forms a neat parcel.
- Brush olive oil over the top, then score the top with a sharp knife so steam can escape.
- Bake for approximately 60 minutes, or until the spanakopita is golden in colour.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10-15 minutes, then cut to serve.
Thanks for checking out this post on how to make spanakopita with greens, feta, and filo pastry. I do hope you try it soon, and if you do, please come back and post a comment, or share a photo with the tag: #LarderPantryandGarden.
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