If you have not tried Greek Spinach pie before, you're in for a treat! Spanakopita, as we call it in Greek, is a delicious savory Greek pie, made of perfectly crispy layers of phyllo or puff pastry and a comforting filling of spinach, feta cheese and plenty of aromatic herbs. This authentic Greek vegetarian (or vegan*) recipe, can be served as a savory breakfast, brunch, or an excellent side dish to your dinner table. However, it can easily stand alone as a main dish at any time of the day!
Every single Greek houshold makes a different spinach pie. And, although the ingredients are more or less the same, is impresive how each and every cook creates their own unique recipe! In our family, Spanakopita, was always holding a very special place in our preference of pies. Was the Queen of all pies! Every time my mom baked the spinach pie, I would sneak into the kitchen to check how soon it would be ready, full of excitement and anticipation! Very soon I started helping her in the process and thus learned all the secrets of her mastery in creating the most delicious, mouth-watering and aromatic spanakopita! Today, I'm sharing with you my version of the queen of pies, Her Majesty,
the Queen Spanakopita! Crisp and delicate, musky from the abundant herbs, with luscious feta cheese and extra virgin Greek olive oil, this recipe will make your taste buds explode with satisfaction!
Spanakopita- The Queen of pies
Quantities are for a 11"x8.5"x2" (28cmx22cmx5cm) baking pan and makes 6 large portions.
2 medium red or white onions sliced (or combination of both)
1 leek in fine round slices
2-3 spring onions in round clices
1/2 kilo fresh spinach chopped or a 500gr bag of baby spinach leaves
200gr authentic Greek Feta cheese
60gr cretan gruyere or mature cheddar cheese graded
2 bunches dill, approx. 50gr (don't be afraid to be generous here; Queen Spanakopita will reward you in flavour later)
3 Tbls Extra Virgin Olive oil (and a bit more to oil the tray)
1/4-1/2 tsp of Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven at 180°C ( 356°F)
Slice all the white/red onios, leeks and spring onions to have them ready.
If you're using fresh spinach, wash and dry it, and chop it too. If you're using bag of fresh baby spinach leaves, you just need to open the bag when needed. This is what I have used here in the photos.
Crumble the Feta cheese with your hands in big chunks and grade the grueyere cheese or the mature cheddar and keep aside for later.
Oil the baking pan and keep it aside
Heat the 3 Tbls of olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium heat.
Saute the sliced onions, leeks and spring onions until they are soft and lightly golden, about 4-5 minutes.
Stir in the chopped spinach or the spinach baby leaves, and continue to saute until spinach is limp, about 3-5 minutes. Don't over do it, as it will release a lot of its juices and we don't want that!
Add in the chopped dill, give it a quick stir and take the skillet or pot off the heat.
Add in the feta cheese, give it a thorough stir to mix it well and then add the gruyere or cheddar cheese too and mix it also well.
At the end, add in the mix approx. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (start with smaller quantity and taste and add more or not, according to your liking) and freshly ground black pepper. I add the salt at the end because feta cheese and gruyere can be very salty some times and also I don't want the mix to release a lot of juices or else the pie will become very soggy and won't bake well.
Open the ready rolled puff pastry packet and cut the dough it in two parts. The one a bit bigger than the other. Use the bigger one to lay it on the already oiled tray and gently stretch it to cover also the sides of the pan.
Spread the spinach and cheese mixture into the pan and cover it well with the second piece of puff pastry. Slightly wet your fingertips with water to help you attach the two parts of puff pastry together, sealing inside the spinach mix. Make sure you have sealed it well and evenly, all around.
With a knife, cut the upper dough in several places, to allow the steam to come out when the pie gets baked and prevent it from become soggy, plus it makes it look more beautiful! Be carefule though, not to cut it all across the bottom of the pan. We want the bottom intact.
Put your pan into the pre-heated oven, in the middle and let it bake for approximately 40-45 minutes until the pastry is nicely puffed and golden brown.
When is ready, take it out of the oven and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes before cut it into 6 large pieces.
Your Spanakopita is ready to enjoy it!
* For the Vegan version, you don't add feta cheese and gruyere or cheddar. Is equally tasty and without any cheese added, you may need though, to add a bit of extra salt. Or alternatively, you can use some vegan cheese. There are many different options to find, either online or in stores.
**In the photos bellow, I've made the pie with puff pastry and, as I am currently in UK, gruyere was no where to be found so, I used extra mature cheddar cheese. Is fairly tasty too, so I can suggest it as substiture to the Cretan gruyere. If you cannot find any Greek feta where you are, you can use goat cheese. But I have to warn you, nohting beats the reach flavour of a good, authentic Greek Feta! Share with me your results and reviews! I would love to hear back from you!