Layers of flaky phyllo dough paired with smooth and flavorful spinach-feta filling, make this Spanakopita (Traditional Greek Spinach Pie) a great lunch or light dinner.
There must be a reason why this Spanakopita — Traditional Greek Spinach Pie — is loved in so many Mediterranean countries and all over the world. If you haven’t tried this goodness already, now is the time to do it. You’d be surprised how easy this pie is to make and how tasty it is. Let’s get into the cooking details, shall we?
Nowadays, phyllo (or filo) dough can be found at any large supermarket. It is usually located in the frozen baked goods section, near puff pastry and pizza dough. I’ve tried a few brands, and they all work well. The most popular brand is Athens Phyllo Dough. That’s what I buy most of the time. I really like that the package includes two individually wrapped rolls (this recipe requires only one roll). Phyllo dough tends to dry out easily, so the unopened second package can wait in the fridge until the next time I need it. If you are wondering what to use the second roll of phyllo for, you can make another Spanakopita up until the baking step and freeze it. Once you are ready to enjoy it, just place it in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Or you may want to try this traditional Bulgarian Banitsa. It’s very delicious!
Although I always use baby spinach, you may use fully grown spinach, if that’s what you have on hand. Just cut off the bottom stems and then chop the spinach roughly. Frozen spinach could also be used here, just use 1 pound instead of the 2 pounds that the recipe calls for.
If you don’t have fresh dill, you may substitute it with parsley.
- 16 sheets of phyllo dough
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil (plus more for brushing the dough)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 small bunch of scallions, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
- 2 lbs. of fresh baby spinach
- 3/4 cup of ricotta cheese
- 1 cup of feta cheese crumbles
- 1/2 cup of fresh dill, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp. of salt
1. In a large skillet, sauté the onion and scallions with olive oil for about 5 minutes, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in the spinach and continue to cook until it is limp, about 5 minutes. Add the salt, stir, and transfer the mixture into a fine mesh colander.
2. Squeeze the liquid out of the spinach mixture by pressing with a large spoon. Let the spinach cool down for 15 minutes (see “Note 1” below).
3. Preheat the oven to 325º F.
4. In a large bowl, mix the ricotta, feta, spinach mixture, dill, and eggs together.
5. Brush a 9×11 (or something close to these dimensions) baking dish with olive oil. Lay down a sheet of phyllo dough, letting it cover the sides of the dish. Brush it very lightly with olive oil and then lay the next phyllo sheet on top. Use 8 phyllo sheets to cover the bottom (see “Note 2” below).
6. Pour the filling onto the layered phyllo and spread evenly. Cover with the remaining 8 sheets of phyllo dough, following the same technique you used for the bottom layers. Fold the flaps or excess from the sides and brush them with olive oil (they will break and crumble, but that’s OK).
7. Bake the Spanakopita for about 40 minutes, until golden brown.
Note 1: Squeezing the liquid out of the spinach is very important. Otherwise, you may end up having very soggy Spanakopita.
Note 2: When working with phyllo dough, it is important to be fast, because the dough dries out fast. Prepare all the necessary tools and utensils before you start layering the pie. Brush each sheet lightly with olive oil and then move on to the next one.
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