Dinner Spanakopitas

I have been on such an Ina Garten kick lately!  Receiving a couple of her cookbooks for Christmas really reminded me how much I love her recipes.  The books inspire me with her simple yet delicious recipes and beautiful pictures.  I make something of hers at least once a week now!  I have only made spanakopita once before, as an appetizer at the first ever dinner party I ever threw.  It actually turned out pretty well at that time, especially considering I had never worked with phyllo dough before.  Phyllo really isn’t difficult to work with, you just have to be gentle with it.  I find that a little patience goes a long way in the kitchen, and this recipe is a great example.  The filling is a cinch to throw together, so as long as you don’t have issues with phyllo, this is a simple yet elegant dinner.  

These strudels are very rich so I would recommend serving them with a light side dish like a simple green salad.  The only thing I will change next time I make these will be to chop the pine nuts up a bit before adding them to the filling mixture, as Ben and I both thought the whole nuts made for an odd texture.  Also, Ina recommends sprinkling a small amount of bread crumbs on each sheet of phyllo during the layering process, but I skipped this step and they were still wonderfully flaky so I’m not sure it’s necessary.  Otherwise, this is a great vegetarian dinner!

Dinner Spanakopitas
Yield: 6 strudels

2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 cup small-crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts, chopped
12 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat.  Add the green onions and cook for another 2 minutes until they are wilted but still green.  Meanwhile, add the thawed and drained spinach to a large mixing bowl.  When the onions are done, add them to the bowl.  Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons bread crumbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Gently fold in the feta and the pine nuts. 

Place one sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface.  Brush the dough lightly with butter.  Working quickly, place another sheet of phyllo on top of the first, and brush it lightly with butter.  Continue this process until you have a stack of 4 sheets of phyllo.  Cut the stack of phyllo in half lengthwise (I found a pizza cutter useful for this step).  Place 1/3 cup of the spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag.  Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again.  Continue folding the first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet.  The filling should be totally enclosed.  Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used.  Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down.  Brush the tops with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt (I used kosher) and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp.  Serve hot. 

Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics by Ina Garten

14 Responses

  1. One of my favorite Greek treats!!

  2. I love Ina Garten! Her recipes never fail me. If you like seafood her Bay Scallop Gratin is amazing. I’ve served it to guests three times now and they went crazy over it.

  3. these look delicious! : )

  4. Thanks for the post, Annie. I love Barefoot Contessa recipes! I actually have some phyllo in the freezer I’ve been trying to decide how to use. You’ve come to the rescue with this post. Thanks!

  5. hi annie,

    what do you think about using fresh, chopped spinach in the recipe, instead of frozen? i always like to do that, when i can.. but i’m thinking it might present some texture issues, in this case.

    • Hi Claire!
      In this case, I think frozen spinach is best. I too like to use fresh when possible, but I think you are correct that using fresh would present some problems with the texture. Also, fresh spinach is very watery and I would be concerned that liquid releasing during baking would result in a less flaky and crispy end product.
      🙂 Annie

  6. ooooo…I’ve been wondering about this one for months now and I’m so glad they turned out so well for you! Seriously Annie, your photo of this dish is just as good if not better than the one in Back to Basics!!

  7. That does look fabulous!

    Patience is the one area that I struggle with A LOT which is why I am accident prone in the kitchen. I really need to work on that!

    Everything you make always looks first class!

  8. Looks awesome! Phyllo dough is delicious!

  9. This one caught my eye when I was looking through the book! The combination of flavors and ingredients sounds so good. These look great!

  10. I’ve done these before too. Phyllo is such a great way to jazz up a lot of things. What a fabulous dinner!


  11. […] Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats 2 T. olive oil 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion 2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped 1 leek, […]

  12. I made these for dinner tonight, with some asparagus on the side. They got a 5/5 from the fiance! Very very good. Much easier than I was expecting, too, just a little time intensive. Now I have to find another recipe to use up all the phyllo dough I have!

  13. LOVED LOVED LOVED!!!!! It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be to make! My first experience with fillo dough and it turned out amazing, great idea with crushing the pine nuts.

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