Spanokopita (spinach phyllo pies)

I’ve made this as a casserole before, but for Father’s Day I actually attempted the traditional triangle-shaped Spanokopita! They turned out great, and the wrapping was surprisingly fun to do! They are easy but time-consuming, so I recommend you prepare the filling and then set up a table in front of the TV and watch a movie while you fold.  Or at least make sure you have some company! Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 lb firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 pkg phyllo pastry* (if using frozen, thaw overnight in the refrigerator)
  • Lots of extra olive oil for brushing
  • Dried dill for garnishing

Filling:

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, salt, and pepper and sautée until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Place thawed spinach into a colander and squeeze out as much water as possible.

Place tofu into a food processor and process until it resembles the texture of ricotta cheese. If you don’t want to use a food processor, mash finely with a fork. Transfer tofu to a bowl and add squeezed spinach and other remaining ingredients (except for the extra olive oil and dried dill). Mix thoroughly. Add additional salt and/or pepper to taste.

Pastries:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll thawed phyllo pastry. Different brands of phyllo pastry come in different sizes. If a sheet of pastry is about the size of a 9 x 13 baking pan, you have small pastry sheets. If it is double this size, you have large sheets.

Take one sheet of pastry and lay it out on a cutting board. (Keep a clean damp cloth over the remaining stack, otherwise it will dry out!) If you have a large sheet, cut it in half widthwise – each half sheet will make one pie. Proceed to cut the half-sheet length-wise into two long strips. Brush olive oil onto one strip, layer the other strip on top, and brush olive oil onto the top strip also.

Place a heaping spoonful of the filling onto the bottom corner of the short end of the strip. Fold that corner up to form a triangle. Fold that triangle up again, then again, then again, until you have reached the top and have a single triangle. It is difficult to put into words but it is just like folding a flag! Place completed triangle onto a cookie sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle a little bit of dried dill on top. Repeat with remaining phyllo sheets until you have used up all the filling. You may or may not use the whole package – it depends on what brand phyllo you are using!

Bake for 20-25 minutes. You might need 2 cookie sheets to hold all of the pastries; if this is the case put two oven racks as close to the middle as possible, and place one sheet on top and one on bottom. Rotate halfway through cooking. After 20 minutes, keep an eye on these because they can brown very quickly!

*Phyllo pastry can be found in either the refrigerated or frozen section of most supermarkets. For large frozen phyllo sheets, I recommend The Fillo Factory Organic Fillo Dough – it comes in either white or whole wheat (I used whole wheat in the photo). For small refrigerated sheets, I recommend Athens Fillo Dough. Both brands are made without hydrogenated oils or trans fats.

6 comments Add yours
  1. I think the nutritional yeast adds a nice touch to the flavor, but I’m sure you could make this dish without it. You might need to adjust the seasonings to taste though, perhaps add more salt.

  2. That was great! I found you through google and I just made these. Thank you for the recipe. I was wondering if I could translate your recipe into Russian and post it with a link to your blog in my livejournal?

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