Spoiler alert: This is not a healthful recipe. Phyllo dough is a carb, and a refined one at that. Despite that, I’m putting it in my blog because it’s just a really great recipe! This spinach pie (traditionally called spanakopita) is loaded with spinach and topped with flaky phyllo dough.
And while it may not be top notch in terms of health, this version of spanikopita tastes fantastic – not too cheesy but cheesy enough, very spinachy, fragrant with dill, and it holds together and is not at all watery. It’s also easy since it uses frozen spinach.
I’ve tested both fresh and frozen spinach and frozen spinach tastes just as good and is a fraction of the work. If you’ve never worked with phyllo dough before don’t be intimidated. It’s very thin and therefore scary looking but it’s totally forgiving. As you’re putting it on the pie, it doesn’t need to be completely neat and untorn. You’ll never be able to tell if you mess it up a little.
A phyllo tip: The dough is usually sold frozen. It must be completely thawed before using. You can do that on the counter for a couple of hours or in the fridge overnight. Don’t microwave it.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large onions chopped, about 4 cups
- 6 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 large eggs
- 5, 10-oz. packages of frozen whole leaf spinach, completely thawed and uncooked; note: if you don't have time to thaw the spinach you can also steam it until just warm. Costco bags of frozen organic spinach are a great deal.
- 1 1/2 lbs. (24 oz.) crumbled feta
- 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 stick melted butter, salted or unsalted
- 1 box phyllo dough, whole wheat or white, thawed and kept in box in refrigerator until ready to use
- Prepare Filling:
- Heat oil in a medium pan on medium high heat. Add onion, and sauté until soft and slightly brown. Add garlic and cook, stirring for an additional minute. Let cool.
- While the onions are cooking, crack eggs into large bowl and beat with a fork. Put spinach in a colander. One handful at a time, squeeze liquid out of spinach and add it to the bowl. Continue until all spinach has been added.
- Add sautéed onions, feta, dill, and salt and combine thoroughly.
- Assemble Pie:
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease a 3 quart (I use the Pyrex 9"x13") baking dish with a little of the melted butter.
- Gently open and lay phyllo dough flat on a large cutting board. The sheets are usually 18"x13". Cut the stack in half so that they are now 9"x13" and will fit perfectly into the baking dish. If you are using a different size dish, just cut sheets to fit. Doesn't have to be a perfect fit. Be careful not to get the phyllo wet or the sheets will stick together.
- Place 1 layer of phyllo in baking dish and gently and lightly brush with butter using a pastry brush. It is not necessary to cover every bit of the phyllo. Continue stacking phyllo sheets, one at a time, brushing with butter after each addition, until you have stacked 8 sheets.
- Add half the filling and spread evenly on top of phyllo.
- Layer 8 more buttered phyllo sheets on top. Add and spread the rest of the filling. Layer 8 more buttered phyllo sheets on top of that, ending with butter on the top sheet.
- With a sharp knife, gently cut through the top layer of phyllo into 12 squares. This makes it easier to cut the cooked pie without shattering the top later of cooked phyllo dough.
- Bake for 45 -60 minutes, in the middle of the oven, until top is nicely browned.