Authentic spinach pie with feta cheese. A classic Greek snack.
You can make this simple and delicious pie over and over, and once you taste it, you will most definitely want to. It is a really great thing to have around the house when you are a little munchie or even to prepare for a picnic. Regardless of your reasons, this is a sure-to-be crowd pleaser, and something very common in everyday Greek culture. Almost on every corner, you can find somewhere to buy a spanikopita or a tiropita (cheese pie), but in my opinion it is hard to find one that has the quality of a homemade spanikopita! Even better is one with a yiayia’s touch, prepared by a grandmother with decades of experience!!!
In this particular recipe, I have not made my own phyllo dough but easily purchased them. You can see a homemade village phyllo dough recipe here. The village phyllo is much thicker and slightly chewy, really wonderful but a little time consuming!!! I also used fresh spinach because it is in season right now, but I have used frozen spinach many times before. Another favorite addition is to add some sautéed leeks or zucchini to the spinach, they both make a great compliment to the pie.
Spanikopita Recipe: Serves 12 small pieces, 1 small pie
1 bunch of spinach, about 6-8 cups fresh or approx. 2 cups frozen
1-2 leeks or zucchini, cleaned and chopped, optional
1 large onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsp. fresh dill, or a little less than 1 Tbsp. dried dill
EVOO (Olive oil) on hand to saute and brush phyllo
1-2 eggs, slightly beaten
6-8 oz. fresh feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Phyllo sheets (usually found in your market’s freezer section)
If you are using fresh spinach, be sure to soak and wash it 2-3 times to ensure it is well cleaned. Even buy organic if it is somewhat affordable, spinach is one of the “softer” vegetables where buying organic makes a difference. Add 2-3 Tbsp EVOO to your pan and saute your onion on medium – medium high until translucent, add any other veggies now and cook until tender, finally, add the spinach stirring to mix. Cook the spinach down until it is wilted. Turn off heat (unless you have gas stove, then keep on low, and add your seasonings to cook another 2-3 minutes. Remove completely from heat to cool enough not to scramble your eggs! Preheat your oven to 190° C / 375° F. Prepare a baking pan (round or square) brushing olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Place 3-4 phyllo sheets on the bottom and be sure to brush oil between each sheet. Add the beaten eggs and crumbled feta to the saucepan and mix with spinach until blended. Spread half (or all) of the spinach mixture onto the phyllo sheets evenly, adding 2 more phyllo sheets if you prefer a slightly more dense pie, again remembering to lightly brush with oil each sheet, add the remaining spinach and feta mix, and then top with 3-4 more phyllo, again brushing each sheet. The middle phyllo layer can easily be skipped if preferred. In my pan I fold over the bottom sheets’ edges onto the top layers to create a nice sealed pie. You can also choose to cut you pie before cooking or after, both are good. I prefer to cut before, because then the pie is easier to serve and the phyllo doesn’t break off everywhere. If you forget, no worries though. You can also sprinkle on a few drops of water if you need to “seal” down your phyllo, this works great in keeping the sheets from rolling up in places it shouldn’t! Bake in preheated oven for 30-45 minutes or until golden brown. Removen from oven and cool for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
This recipe can easily be doubled, and will also freeze well if wrapped properly. I hope you enjoy this as much as me and the rest of Greece!!!