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Spinach Pie with Feta - Spanakopita

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Spinach Pie with Feta - Spanakopita

Spinach and Feta Cheese Pie - Spanakopita

Photo © Lynn Livanos Athan

Flaky phyllo sheets are layered with a savory spinach and feta cheese filling. Spanakopita can be made as a "pie" or pita, or as individual phyllo triangles.

I always keep trays of uncooked spanakopita in the freezer as a handy appetizer or side dish for guests. It freezes very well and heats beautifully.

This recipe makes enough filling for two 9x12 rectangular pans or approximately 100 folded phyllo triangles.

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs. spinach, chopped (you can substitute frozen, thawed well)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 large onions, diced
  • 2 bunches green onions, diced (incl. 4 inches green)
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped (substitute 3 tbsp. dried)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 lb. ricotta or cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb. phyllo pastry sheets

Preparation:

Wash and drain the chopped spinach very well. If using frozen spinach, thaw completely and squeeze out excess water. Spinach should be dry.

Heat the olive oil in a deep saute pan or large dutch oven. Saute the onions and green onions until tender. Add the spinach, parsley, and dill and cook for 5 to 10 minutes until the spinach is wilted and heated through. Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

If using frozen spinach, you will want to cook until excess moisture evaporates. Spinach mixture should be on the dry side.

Remove from heat and set the spinach aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the feta, eggs, and ricotta (cottage) cheese. Add the cooled spinach mixture and mix until combined.

Combine the melted butter with the olive oil in a bowl. Using a pastry brush, lightly grease two 9 x 12 rectangular pans.

Unwrap the Phyllo:

Carefully remove the Phyllo roll from the plastic sleeve. Most packages come in 12 x 18 inch sheets when opened fully. Using a scissor or sharp knife, cut the sheets in half to make two stacks of 9x12 inch sheets. To prevent drying, cover one stack with wax paper and a damp paper towel while working with the other.

Prepare the Pita:

Layer about 10 sheets on the bottom of the pan making sure to brush each sheet with the butter/olive oil mixture. Add half of the spinach mixture in an even layer and press with a spatula to flatten.

Layer another 10 sheets on top of the spinach mixture making sure to brush well with butter/olive oil mixture. Repeat the process with the second pan.

Before baking, score the top layer of phyllo (making sure not to puncture filling layer) to enable easier cutting of pieces later. I place the pan in the freezer to harden the top layers and then use a serrated knife.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the pita turns a deep golden brown. If the pita is frozen when you put it in the oven, you will need approximately 45 minutes cooking time. If fresh, plan for approximately 20 to 25 minutes of cooking time.

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