Spanakopita

EPISODE 72

Spanakopita is a traditional Greek dish made with layers of flakey, buttery pastry, and filled with a rich spinach, herb, and feta filling. In my vegan version, I’ve replaced the feta’s salty tang with Kalamata olives, and its creaminess with soft tofu. It’s best to portion this at room temperature, since cutting it when it’s hot has a tendency to make the filling ooze out—not that it’s any less delicious that way. Leftovers can be frozen and defrosted in the fridge. My favourite way to reheat is to defrost in the fridge, then microwave until warm (around 45 seconds) before placing in a toaster oven or regular oven to re-crisp the flaky topping. If you’re more patient than I am, you can also go straight from microwave to a 325F oven for around 15-20 minutes for the same effect.

Ingredients
  • 800g frozen spinach
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 bunches scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • Salt & pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Nutmeg, small grating
  • 1 lemon, zest & juice
  • 1 cup finely chopped kalamata olives
  • 1½ cups flat leaf parsley, (65ish g) chopped
  • 1 cup dill, chopped (60g)
  • ¾ cup mint, chopped (40g)
  • 15 oz pack silken tofu, drained and patted dry
  • ½-⅔ cup olive oil
  • 1 package phyllo dough*

*Phyllo drys out really quickly, so make sure to keep it in the fridge in its package. If you store yours in the freezer, thaw it out in the fridge.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375.

Microwave the frozen spinach until thawed (around 6 minutes), then place in a colander and squeeze out all the excess liquid.

Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and onions. Season well with salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the scallions and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and, once fragrant (around 2 minutes), add the red pepper flakes, nutmeg, spinach, olives, parsley, dill, mint, and the juice and zest of the lemon. Cook for 15 minutes or until soft and delicious. Taste for salt and pepper. Crumble in the tofu and mix together.

When you’re ready to assemble your dish, remove the phyllo from the fridge, wet a kitchen towel and squeeze it out so that it’s damp. Place the phyllo atop the towel to prevent it from drying out. If you get distracted half way through layering the phyllo, wet another kitchen towel and place on top of the phyllo. If you’re doing the assembly in one go, you’re fine with just one towel.

Place one layer of phyllo on your largest baking dish (which should be not larger than your phyllo sheets). Then, using a pastry brush, brush with olive oil. Place another layer of phyllo atop it and brush it too with olive oil. If your dish, like mine, is not big enough to accommodate the entire sheet, just fold the overlapping sides in, making sure to alternate overlapping sides. You can also do as I do and fold a sheet in half, then place it over the middle of the dish to ensure that the phyllo is evenly layered. See the video for a demonstration. Repeat until you’ve used up ⅔ of the phyllo and oil, then apply the spinach filling. Use the remaining third of the phyllo and the oil. If you’d like, lightly sprinkle the top with coarse sea salt and a grinding of fresh black pepper.

Bake for 45 minutes until crispy and delicious.

Enjoy!

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