14 December 2010


I am descended of hearty Scottish and Mennonite stock. Hence, my penchance for wereneke and haggis.  So it may be considered a tad odd that I have in my family recipe folder a recipe for the classic Greek dish - spanakopita.  My mum made this for us when I was a kid, and I've been making it at home as long as I've been cooking.  I bring this recipe out every year, and serve this as an appetizer at our annual Christmas party.  It's a crowd-pleaser:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil + extra for brushing
2 small onions (minced)
4 tbsp fresh parsley
16 oz crumbled feta cheese
8 oz cream cheese (light)
8 oz Monterey jack cheese (grated)
4 eggs lightly beaten
2 tsp grated nutmeg
2 -12 oz package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 package phyllo/filo pastry - found in the freezer section of most grocers


Make sure you thaw the spinach in advance, and squeeze it well. You don't want a soggy filling. Also, thaw the phyllo dough.

Sauté the onions in the oil until softened and transparent.  Remove from heat.  Mix well with the cheeses, eggs, nutmeg and spinach.

Filling mix

Prepare some oil for brushing the phyllo dough.

oil and brush

Pull out one sheet of phyllo dough.  When working with phyllo, you want to work fast, so that they don't dry out.  The individual sheets may stick together if they've gotten at all wet during the thawing process. Be gentle separating the sheets.

Place the sheet on your work surface, and cut into three equal strips, sliced so that each sheet is as long as the original sheet is.

brushed phyllo

Brush the strips very lightly with oil. Place a small dollop of filling on one end of the phyllo dough.


Fold the phyllo across the filling to form a triangle.


Fold again, continuing to make triangles with each fold.


Continue folding, until you run out of phyllo dough for that individual spanakopita.  Set aside.


I package the individual spanakopitas in tupperware containers between layers of wax paper.  They freeze well at this point, or you can cook them now.  Raw or frozen, you place them directly onto an oiled cookie sheet.  Bake in a pre-heated oven, 350°F. 30-45 minutes if raw, one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes if frozen until golden brown.

cooked spanakopita

Serve immediately. You won't often hear me praising vegetarian cuisine - but these are delicious. Rich, cheesy, spinachy goodness. Perfect.

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