Recipe: Spanokopita

by Cate on October 3, 2018

Light, buttery, flaky layers stuffed with spinach and salty feta … this Spanokopita is so simple to make and seriously delicious.

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A friend mentioned she wanted to make spanokopita, the popular Greek comfort food dish, for one of her kids, and we soon found ourselves in the kitchen learning how to make it. Although I like it, and have had it while eating out, I’ve actually never made it before. But after seeing how simple it was to actually make, and how delicious the end result was, I can see this making a regular appearance in my kitchen. If only my kids would eat it! Neither will eat spinach in any recipe, except occasionally these Spinach Cheese Squares.

I googled to find a few recipes and compared them, and ended up just winging it from there. Honestly, with just a handful of basic ingredients, this one is hard to mess up, and now that we have a basic guideline down, I can see making some different varieties in the future… maybe adding some pesto or sun-dried tomatoes, for example.

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The two biggest tips I can give you are to put your phyllo pastry dough in the fridge the day before so it defrosts slowly on its own, and to make sure you really wring your spinach dry after defrosting it. If it’s too soggy, it will make a mess of your nice buttery layers.

Squares of this spanokopita make a nice light lunch or dinner when paired with a green salad or fresh fruit, or as an afternoon snack. Heck, I’d even eat it for breakfast!

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Spanokopita
Recipe courtesy of Cate O’Malley

Ingredients
20 oz of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil plus a half cup (divided)
4 eggs
12 oz Dodoni feta cheese (packed in brine), hand crumble
freshly ground black pepper
1 package phyllo dough, thaw in refrigerator the day before

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325. Make sure your spinach is squeezed as dry as you can get it and put it in a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 4 eggs, the crumbled feta, and ground black pepper. Mix until well combined.

Unroll the pastry sheets and place them in between two damp paper towels or dish towels when not using. Brush the bottom and sides of a 9-1/2 x 13″ baking dish with olive oil.

Line the baking dish with two sheets of pastry, letting them go up the sides of the dish and overhang a bit. Brush with olive oil. Add two more sheets and brush with olive oil. Repeat until you’ve used up about half of your pastry dough.

Spread the spinach and feta filling over the dough and then top with two more sheets. Brush with olive oil. Continue layering with the dough, two sheets at a time, brushing with olive oil after each layer, until you have used up all the sheets. Brush the very top layer with olive oil.

Fold the overhang and excess from the sides in, crimping a little bit to tighten it. Brush the folded pieces with olive oil.

Bake for one hour, or until the phyllo pastry is crispy and lightly golden brown. Remove from oven, cut into squares, and serve.

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