Spanakopita. Spinach Pie. Feta + Spinach wrapped up in flaky filo. Served up with some harissa and bengali-5-spice roasted cauliflower. Roasted cauliflower pairs swimmingly with any dinner. Easy and healthy. I had leftover harissa from when I made a variation of Heidi’s Harissa Noodles. I had leftover bengali-5-spice from when I roasted these nuts. Bam! to using leftover spices and sauces.
I’m totally into spanakopita. These tasted so savory and lovely. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I think I made a darn good meal.
Making spanakopita would be a great dinner party idea or date night activity, and even a way to involve the kiddos with making dinner. While I was perfectly capable of doing everything myself, it would have been nice to have an extra pair of hands to help pass the filo sheets, brush with butter, and fill and roll. Filo dough dries out quick, so just remember to be efficient when time comes to fill and roll. And you can always patch things up or just discard a sheet of filo if it rips.
Feta and spinach are the stars here. Onion adds a deeper flavor. Nutmeg gives it that cozy comfort hint. The egg makes it all stay rich and together. Butter for brushing. Lemon for squeezing. Salt and pepper for good measure.
Above you see the filling all mixed together and ready to go.
Filling gets placed on the bottom center of the rectangle of filo (2 sheets).
Edges get folded in (“hot dog” style as some call it).
Folding upward in an attempt to make a triangle. I had issues with this because I’m not great with geometry. Let’s see how you fare.
I wholly approve of round-shaped spanikopita. Any shape you make them, these darlings taste so friggin’ dang good!
adapted from David Lebovitz
makes 8-10 triangles (I got 10)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed in the fridge overnight and then drained (you could use fresh, too, if you prefer)
1 8-oz block feta cheese
big pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
fresh ground pepper
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
2 oz butter, melted
1/2 of a 16 oz box (1 package) of filo dough, thawed in the fridge overnight
Before beginning, make sure that the spinach is defrosted and drained (I broke the spinach up with my hands, set it in a strainer, and pushed down with paper towel to ensure that it was fully drained). Also, melt the 2 oz of butter either in a little pan or in the microwave and set aside while you prepare everything else.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic clove and saute for 1 minute more. Add the spinach and stir until everything is mixed together and cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool down a bit.
In a bowl, crumble the feta and add grated nutmeg, fresh pepper, lemon, and a tiny pinch of salt (remember, feta is already quite salty). Stir together. Add the spinach and onions and stir everything together. Taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in the egg until everything is mixed together.
Now comes the tricky part. Take a dish towel and get it damp with water. Unroll the filo dough and cover it with the damp dish towel.
Working quickly, take one layer of filo out, brush it lightly but thoroughly with melted butter. Lay another sheet of filo on top and brush it with butter as well. Spoon about 1/4 cup of filling onto the bottom center, about 1-inch from the edge. Roll the two edges over the filling (lengthwise) to encase the filling. It should look like a long rectangle with the filling at the far end. Brush the exposed surface of the filo with butter and fold one corner diagonally over the filling, then continue folding keeping the triangle shape and brushing the exposed surfaces of the filo with butter, until you have a neat triangle (I did not get neat triangles, but I had nice shapes that encased my filling anyway). Brush the top with butter and set on a baking sheet in the freezer.
Continue making more spanakopitas with the remaining filling. Once all the spanakopitas are frozen, store them in a freezer bag until ready to bake. If well-wrapped, they’ll keep for a couple of months.
To bake the frozen spanakopita, preheat the oven to 350F and put the frozen triangles on a baking sheet, then brush each with butter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until deeply-golden brown. If you’re baking them without freezing them first, they’ll take less time to bake, so check them before the recommended baking time.
Harissa & Bengali-5-Spice Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 tablespoon harissa (I bought mine at Whole Foods)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon bengali-5-spice (see my recipe here)
few pinches of salt
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix together cauliflower with harissa, olive oil, bengali-5-spice, and salt. Spread onto a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for about 35-45 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking.