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Spanakopita

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This recipe hails from Greece, but the inspiration for it actually came from my cousin in Kentucky. She always sends me suggestions for recipes based on foods her boys love and believe it or not, Spanakopita is one of them. Spanakopita is a savory Greek pastry comprised of flaky phyllo dough filled with spinach and feta cheese. The phyllo can be homemade, but it's a time intensive process that is unnecessary since you can purchase quality prepared phyllo in the freezer section of your grocery. Spanakopita is a fun lunch, snack or dinner choice for your family because little kids can hold the individual servings in their hands and they are easy to eat.

I played around with this recipe a lot, worrying that it might be too involved compared with most of the simple recipes featured on weelicious, but once you get the hang of making them, it only takes minutes. And in my opinion, they're worth it. I made this for dinner the other night with Kenya and he loved getting to stir the filling as I layered the phyllo and rolled the Spanakopita into triangles. An added bonus is that this recipe freezes beautifully, so you can store half of what you make now and just pop it into the oven on the nights you don't have time to cook.

Whether you're making this dish in Athens, Georgia or Athens, Greece, your family will definitely love you for it!





Below is a diagram on how to fold the Phyllo triangles:


Spanakopita  (Makes 30 Triangles)

  • Prep Time: 15 mins,
  • Cook Time: 20 mins,
  • Rating:
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This recipe hails from Greece, but the inspiration for it actually came from my cousin in Kentucky. She always sends me suggestions for recipes based on foods her boys love and believe it or not, Spanakopita is one of them. Spanakopita is a savory Greek...

Ingredients

  • 1 10 oz block chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained well (i drained it once in a fine mesh strainer and then once again, squeezing it in a towel to remove any excess moisture)
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (you can use either part skim or whole milk ricotta)
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package phyllo dough, defrosted
  • 1 4 oz. stick unsalted butter, melted

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. 2. Place the first 5 ingredients into a bowl and mix.
  3. 3. Gently place one sheet of phyllo on a work surface and brush gently with melted butter (while you work, make sure the remaining phyllo dough is covered with a damp towel because it dries out quickly).
  4. 4. Place another sheet of phyllo on top and brush with more butter.
  5. 5. Add a third sheet of phyllo to the top of the stack, giving you a total of 3 layers (no need to brush the top with butter).
  6. 6. Cut the buttered stack into 3 lengthwise strips (each about 12 inches long and 3 inches wide).
  7. 7. Take one strip and put 1 tbsp of filling near the corner nearest to you, then fold corner over to form a triangle.
  8. 8. Continue folding over, like a flag, keeping a triangle shape.
  9. 9. Place the stuffed triangles, seam side down, onto a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and lightly brush the tops with butter.
  10. 10. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. 11. Cool and serve.
  12. *I like to bake half of the Spanakopita and freeze the other half. To do this, after step 9, freeze the triangles on the baking sheet for one hour until solid, then place triangles in a zipper bag and freeze for up to four months. When you’re ready to cook them, continue with step 10. No need to defrost before baking.
Spanakopita

Nutrition Information

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Comments






  1. ambs

    April 23, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    I found this for those who are having trouble!
    Variation: Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking pan, and spread 6 sheets of filo, brushing each with butter, on the bottom. Spoon the spinach filling over the filo, then cover with 6 more sheets of filo, buttering each sheet. Score the top 3 sheets with a sharp knife. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is golden, let stand 15 minutes, then cut into squares and serve warm.

    Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/spanakopita-spinach-triangles-or-pie-recipe.html?oc=linkback

  2. Jenn

    February 28, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    This was sort of an epic failure. I was able to make 6 or so, but that’s about it. I didn’t understand how to fold the phyllo and I couldn’t figure out how to use the phyllo without it breaking a part. The ones that I did bake came out tasty, but this was a little too difficult for me. Would love to see a video on how to do this.

  3. Crystal

    March 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    We’ve made this before and LOVED it! Have you tried making it as a pie instead of triangles? Would you use the same recipe, but just sandwich it between phyllo??

    • catherine

      March 26, 2013 at 10:10 am

      I have not tried that, but I think it would probably be okay…

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  6. Annie

    September 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    My greek friend and I made these for a family party one time. 100s of spanikopita, but so deliciously worth it! We make ours with cream cheese instead of ricotta-it’s a creamier texture that is more kid friendly and just tastes better! Try it! Just do not use fat free because it doesn’t melt. As for vildan’s question–you’re freezing the spinach and then cooking it! The heat from the oven would kill anything that would grow, but you should be fine anyways as long as you don’t leave them sitting out for a long time before freezing.

  7. acm

    September 15, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    I can say that I’m of Greek heritage, and have learned to make phillo from scratch (you don’t roll it paper-thin, but instead the layers are inside a ball), but my dad just told me that he’s switched to using frozen puff pastry in place of the phillo and likes it even better! Could be a good way to make a recipe like this less labor-intensive for hard-pressed parents.

  8. vildan

    May 6, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    For freezing the spanakopita: How can you re-freeze the already defrosted spinach? Wouldn’t that make you sick? Is it safe to re-freeze the veggies in general?

  9. shanfoga

    December 7, 2010 at 12:51 am

    My husband and I enjoyed them a lot but like Amy, my 21 month old took a bite or 2 and then “all done”, even after offering him sauce to dip it in (marinara). On a bright note, he drank the date smoothie tonight (refused this am). Bottom line, just keep offering it and sooner or later they like it :)

  10. Amy

    September 10, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    These are awesome!! I added some grated parmesan cheese too – my little one had a few bites – I think it is more of a texture thing, as the dough is flakey and she’s never really had anything like that before. We’ll definately be making these again!

  11. Sara

    August 27, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I don’t use frozen spinach, I’d like to use fresh, then do I have to boil the spinach,strain and then use it??
    Your reply is appreciated.

    Thanks,

    • catherine

      August 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm

      You can just saute the spinach (not boil since you lose most of the nutrients) or you can steam it and then strain the water and chop and use :)

  12. Jackie R.

    June 2, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Thank you for getting back to me Catherine. I will let you know how they turn out when pre-cooked, frozen and microwaved. It gets so hot out here in California during the summer. We try to avoid cooking in the regular oven during the hot season. Take care. Love your recipes! Wish they were around when my own kids were little.
    Jackie

    • Emily

      August 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm

      What about using a small toaster oven? I just heated min in that and it worked wonderfully since the kids will only want one for a snack

      • Avari

        October 2, 2011 at 8:10 am

        Furrealz? That’s marvlesuoly good to know.

      • catherine

        August 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm

        Awesome!!

  13. Jackie R.

    June 2, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Hi. I would love to make these for my little grandson and freezing them would allow his mom to cook them for him at other times. However, they live in a small apartment and the oven really heats up the place when she uses it. Is there any way these could be pre-baked before freezing and then re-heated in the microwave? If so, how long would you suggest she re-heat two of them in the microwave? Thanks.
    Jackie

    • Mrs. L

      June 30, 2011 at 7:53 pm

      How about reheating in a toaster oven? The crispness is worth us heating up the oven. It may not be economical though…

      • catherine

        July 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

        Sure :)

    • catherine

      June 2, 2010 at 2:53 pm

      You can definitely cook them ahead of time and freeze them but my only concern would be that once you reheat them they won’t be crispy and they will be soggy. As for reheating, I would suggest about 30 seconds until its warm.

  14. giselle

    May 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Dawn – I think you’re confused. I think you only make ONE triangle per strip. So you’re going to fold over several times, like maybe 4 or 5. Try it with 1/3rd of a piece of paper. Just fold the first corner up to make a triangle and then fold over on one side of the triangle and again on a different side, etc until the end of the strip.

    Ok even better, look at this: http://lldzines.com/spanakopita/folded.htm

    • catherine

      May 11, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      Gisella this is great! Thanks so much! I’m going to add this in the post!

      • Sara

        May 30, 2010 at 8:49 pm

        Could you substitute in other stuff like broccoli, tomatos and mozzerella cheese. I personally do not like feta or ricotta cheese and substitute in mozzerella anytime those are in a recipe, but wanted to see if that would even work.

        • catherine

          June 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

          You can definitely do that! The true Spanakopita has feta and just spinach in them but you can just put about anything in phyllo dough and roll them up!

  15. Dawn

    May 11, 2010 at 11:49 am

    These look great and a lot easier to make than I thought, but I don’t understand the process of folding and putting them on the baking sheet. Aren’t there two seamed edges? When you say to put the seamed side down isn’t that one side of the triangle? I also assume that you make a cut after each triangle is formed before folding the next one?