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Spanakopita- Greek Spinach and Feta Pie

Spanakopita- Greek Spinach and Feta Pie


Spanakopita is a delicious savory Greek pie made of perfectly crispy layers of phyllo dough and a comforting filling of spinach and feta cheese. It’s perfect for a large crowd, to serve as a main dish or as vegetable based side dish accompaniment.

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What is Spanakopita:

Seen on menus at Greek diners, served as triangular shaped hors d’oeuvres at cocktail parties, or in a large casserole form at Greek Festivals- Spanakopita has become a pretty mainstream Greek dish served here in the U.S.

It’s funny because, I grew up with this dish being a staple in my home, and we are not even Greek! I later came to realize that the reason my mom made this so much was because she was actually married to a Greek man for a short time before she met my dad. So she became pretty well versed on cooking Greek cuisine, because she learned from his mother and sisters. Sounds like a good story… but sorry.. no further details on that! Back to the recipe!

I simply love Spanakopita, the Greek Spinach – Feta casserole style baked pie. Besides having a nostalgic familiarity for me, it is just so damn tasty! Chock full of spinach, salty feta cheese, bright fresh lemon, crunchy buttery layers for paper thin phyllo dough- it’s a dish that always makes me smile!

baked greek spanakopita spinach pie

What Is Phyllo Dough?

Not to be confused with puff pastry, phyllo (also known as Filo) is a very thin unleavened Middle Eastern dough that is used in pastries like baklava. When cooked it crisps up and forms airy flakey layers that just melt in your mouth, especially when brushed with butter as called for in this recipe.

side angle baked greek spanakopita spinach pie

It can typically found in the freezer section of your local grocery store next to things like pie crust and puff pastry. Once the box is opened you will see two separetely packaged rolled lengthwise bunches of phyllo dough. You will only need one of these packages. Remove one of the packages from box and let thaw in refrigerator overnight or set on counter to thaw for an hour before working with the dough. Keep it in plastic wrap however, you don’t want it to dry out.

Ingredients In Spanakopita

Leeks and Scallions and Garlic: Aromatics are essential to building flavor and breaking up the spinach.

Spinach – I always frozen spinach for this recipe. Since it calls for 4 pounds, it’s much more economical to purchase this way. Get the chopped variety.

Lemon – Fresh lemon juice is preferred, brightens flavor and balances acidity.

Cheese – High Quality Feta is an absoulte must! I also add a little mozzarella for texture, but cottage cheese is also a great addition.

Eggs – The eggs will bind the filling and also give it some volume while baking

Spices – Dill, salt and pepper are all I am using. However a little nutmeg and oregano would be complimentary as well.

Butter – Use unsalted butter

Phyllo pastry – layered sheets of tissue-thin pastry dough.

How To Make Spanakopita

Soften Aromatics: Be sure to take your phyllo pastry out of the freezer to allow it time to defrost. Using a clean kitchen towel or cheese cloth, squeeze all excess moisture out of spinach. In a large skillet melt 2 tbsp of butter over on medium heat. Add the leeks, scallions and garlic and saute until soft. Remove from heat and let cool when you assemble the rest of filling.

spanakopita spinach feta pie filling being assembled

Assemble the filling:  Thoroughly drain thawed frozen spinach of all water by squeezing it in a cheesecloth or kitchen towel. Wet spinach will make a soggy filling, and that would not be good! Combine dill, salt, pepper, beaten eggs, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, spinach, and softened leeks/scallions in large mixing bowl . Fold ingredients together until fully combined, careful to not break up feta.

spanakopita spinach feta pie filling in mixing bowl

Prepare to Assemble: Preheat oven to 400 degrees and melt 8 tbsp of butter in saucepan or microwave. Lightly butter a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Prepare phyllo by removing from package and unfurling it. You should have around 25 to 30 sheets. As you work, cover the dough with a damp tea towel or moistened paper towel on top to prevent it from drying out.

how to make greek spanakopita

Assemble Spanakopita: Carefully peel off one sheet of phyllo and lay it on the bottom of pan. With pastry brush, generously spread with butter until the sheet is moistened. Continue until you have used one third of your total phyllo dough (about 10 sheets).

Spread spinach feta filling over the bottom layer of phyllo in an even layer.

pour spinach feta filling over base layers of phyllo dough

Use the rest of the phyllo to build the top layer. Layer sheets one by one, overlapping unevenly to cover entire surface. Brush melted butter in between each layer. Brush top layer with twice as much butter then was done in between layers.

coat each layer of phyllo with butter

Score and Bake: Using a very sharp paring knife, score six even lines lengthwise down the phyllo, about 1/2-inch deep. Now, on the horizontal, cut four even lines across.

Bake at for 40 mins, until the top is a deep golden brown. Serve at room temperature.

overhead close up of baked greek spanakopita spinach pie
overhead close up of baked greek spanakopita spinach pie

Spanakopita- Greek Spinach and Feta Pie

Brenda Lanzilli
Spanakopita is a delicious savory Greek pie made of perfectly crispy layers of phyllo dough and a comforting filling of spinach and feta cheese. It's perfect for a large crowd, to serve as a main dish or as vegetable based side dish accompaniment.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Greek
Servings 10
Calories 476 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 leeks trimmed, washed, sliced
  • 5 scallion bunches chopped
  • 16 oz feta good quality
  • 4 lb frozen chopped spinach thawed, and squeezed of excess moisture
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter divided
  • 16 oz package of phyllo dough

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375° F. Thoroughly drain thawed frozen spinach of all water by squeezing it in a cheesecloth.
  • Over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp butter with scallions and leeks. Cook until soft and translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl and add dill, salt, pepper, eggs, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, spinach, and softened leeks/scallions . Fold ingredients together until fully combined, careful to not break up feta. Do not overmix.
  • Melt 8 tbsp of butter in sauce pan
  • Lightly butter a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. Prepare phyllo by removing from package and unfurling it. You should have around 25 to 30 sheets. As you work, cover the dough with a damp tea towel or moistened paper towel on top to prevent it from drying out.
  • Carefully peel off one sheet of phyllo and lay it on the bottom of pan. With pastry brush, generously spread with butter until the sheet is moistened. Continue until you have used one third of your total phyllo dough (about 10 sheets).
  • Spread spinach feta filling over the bottom layer of phyllo in an even layer.
  • Use the rest of the phyllo to build the top layer. Layer sheets one by one, overlapping unevenly to cover entire surface. Brush melted butter in between each layer. Brush top layer with twice as much butter than was done in between layers.
  • Using a very sharp paring knife, score six even lines lengthwise down the phyllo, about 1/2-inch deep. Now, on the horizontal, cut four even lines across.
  • Bake at for 40 mins, until the top is a deep golden brown. Serve at room temperature.

Nutrition

Calories: 476kcalCarbohydrates: 37gProtein: 21gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 1053mgPotassium: 768mgFiber: 7gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 22326IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 548mgIron: 6mg
Keyword baked, casserole, feta, greek food, phyllo dough, savory, spanakopita, spinach, vegetarian
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