Every time I use this spanakopita recipe I feel a little bit of the Greek goddess in me coming out. The word spanakopita simply means spinach pie (spanaki = spinach, pita = pie). They are delicate, little, triangular phyllo pastry pies that are filled with spinach and feta, and they are so delicious!
They are a huge part of my heritage and something that I love eating equally as much as I love making them. There is something extremely therapeutic in the creation of wholesome, nutritious food. And the fact that it speaks to my roots makes it even more special.
Without rambling on for five pages before I gift you with the recipe, here it is. So easy to make and so ridiculously divine to eat!
Spanakopita Recipe Ingredients
- 300g chopped spinach
- 1 red onion (or white if you don’t have red, no biggie)
- 1 clove of fresh garlic
- 1.5 disks of feta cheese
- 1/2 cup of water
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 250g phyllo pastry sheets (I used half of a 500g box of phyllo pastry sheets)
- 2 or 3 tbs melted butter
Before you begin, there are two important things you need to know in order to nail this spanakopita recipe like a pro:
- The phyllo pastry dries out when exposed to air and it does so quite quickly. To prevent this, make sure you cover the phyllo pastry sheets that aren’t in use. I keep them in their packaging or cover them with a damp tea towel and only take what I need when I need it.
- The filling must be relatively dry – as much as it can be – or it will seep out during cooking. It will also make your pies soggy if it’s too wet. Squeeze the spinach out after cooking or place the mixture in a sieve to let any liquid seep through before folding it into the pastry.
That’s the important stuff out of the way, here’s the fun part. They really are so easy to make and a truly therapeutic experience.
Before you begin, preheat the oven to 180°C.
Cooking The Filling
- Finely chop the onion and garlic, add to a saucepan, and fry in a little olive oil
- Add the spinach. It will seem like way too much for the pan but it won’t take long to wilt and cook down
- Add the water to prevent the spinach and onions sticking to the pan
- Add salt and pepper to taste (remember that feta is naturally salty and will add a lot of additional flavour)
- Once the spinach has reduced and cooked through, add the feta
- Remove from the heat
- When cooled a bit, place the mixture in a sieve to squeeze out any excess liquid
Preparing The Pastry
- Get your melted butter and a brush ready
- Unravel a sheet of phyllo pastry. Be gentle with it as it tears really easily. Be sure to cover the rest of the phyllo so that it doesn’t dry out
- Lay the phyllo sheet flat on a clean surface
- Brush the surface of the sheet with melted butter
- Get another sheet of phyllo pastry and place it directly on top of the buttered piece
- Cut the phyllo in half lengthways from top to bottom, right down the middle
- Then cut each half in half again, also lengthways down the middle
- Separate each length to prepare for filling and folding
Folding The Spanakopita Triangles
- Place a tablespoon of filling in the bottom corner of each length of phyllo pastry
- Lift the same bottom corner and fold it tightly over the mixture to meet the other side edge of the pastry. This will form a triangle pocket full of spinach and feta
- Press the open edge of pastry down
- Lift the bottom corner again tightly and fold over upwards, always pressing down any open edges to keep the filling contained
- Once you’ve folded the entire length of phyllo pastry into a tight triangle, place the triangle with the open edge face down on a baking sheet
- Brush the top of the triangle with melted butter
- When your baking tray is full – bearing in mind that they can sit close together to maximise on the space – place the baking tray in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and crisp on the outside
- Allow to cool slightly before serving
- They can also be reheated at 180°C for a few minutes