Spanakopita is a Greek classic. Spinach and feta encased in gossamer thin filo pastry. The husband’s grandmother (Yia Yia in Greek) used to make it from scratch, rolling out the pastry herself, a skill I definitely do not possess. As luck would have it though, those lovely whisper thin pieces of pastry are in the freezer section of your supermarket and are a fantastic staple to keep on hand for when the urge to pie strikes. Frankly, my kids will almost eat anything if it’s dressed up in pastry masquerading as a pie.
Spanakopita is everywhere in Greece and everyone has a different take on it. Here is my healthier version. I like to use silver beet for it’s crunchier texture and stronger flavour. If you prefer a milder version feel free to use fresh spinach or even the stuff that is already prepared in the freezer if you like to save time – just make sure you squeeze all of the excess moisture out of it or you’ll end up with soggy pie.
I like to use olive oil (don’t tell Yia Yia!) instead of butter because of the healthy monounsaturated fats and I use the spray because it’s easy to regulate how much you put on each sheet of filo and where it goes…plus it has the added bonus of lowering the kilojoule count.
Make sure to serve it with a big leafy green salad…. a squeeze of lemon over the top will take it a whole other level too!
- Prep Time : 10 minutes
- Cook Time : 45 minutes
- Yield : 8
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Rinse the finely shredded silver beet and place in a pan over a medium heat. Put a lid on the pan and allow to steam for a few minutes until the silver beet has wilted. Allow to cool and then squeeze the excess moisture from the silver beet. As an alternative you can use English spinach or a combination of the two.
Spray some of the olive oil in a frypan and sauté the finely sliced leek until soft and translucent.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the leek, sliver beet, dill, nutmeg, cheeses and eggs. Season with some freshly cracked pepper and then stir to combine.
Spray a 25 x 30 cm baking dish with oil and then line with baking paper. Spread your fil0 pastry onto a chopping board and cover with a slightly damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Spread one sheet across the bottom of the baking dish, spray with oil and then layer the next sheet on top of it. Repeat the process until you have five layers of filo pastry.
Spread the silver beet filling over the pastry and top with the remaining sheets of filo, spraying oil in between each sheet. Trim the edges neatly tucking the pastry into the sides of the dish if need be. Spray the top with olive oil and then lightly score the top layer into serving sized pieces (around 8). Sprinkle some cold water over the top of the pie to prevent the pastry from curling up.
Pop the baking dish into the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before slicing into portions. Serve with a leafy green salad.