Spanakopita, also known as Greek Spinach Pie, is a wonderful recipe of golden flaky filo dough layers surrounding a flavorful spinach cheese filling.
This recipe easily compliments all of your favorite Greek recipes like Moussaka, homemade baklava, Tabouli Salad, Falafel or tzatiki sauce. We also loved to serve this recipe for breakfast with some poached eggs!
I've always been a lover of spinach. When I was a kid, I reckoned myself to Popeye. Rarely did we ever have fresh spinach, but we would cook up a block of frozen spinach and, with a little salt, I would eat the whole thing!
This recipe brought back all those fond memories of eating insane amounts of spinach as a kid. This time, though, the spinach had so much flavor because of all the other ingredients. And you can't beat those perfect pastry layers delicately wrapped around the outside. YUM!
What is Spanakopita?
Spanakopita, or spinach pie as it's commonly known as, is a Greek savory pastry.
The traditional filling is typically made from chopped spinach, feta cheese, onions, egg, and seasonings.
You will pretty much find authentic spanakopita on the menu of any good greek restaurant, but it is truly an easy recipe to make at home. Plus, if you make this, what I consider to be the best spanakopita recipe, you can decide whether you want to make spanakopita triangles or squares!
Here are the ingredients I used:
As with most recipes, you can vary or substitute to your liking. This is what I chose to use in my spanakopita recipe and I absolutely loved the results:
- Spinach - I like to use the fresh baby spinach that comes pre-washed
- Yellow and red onions - I used both because each gives a slightly different flavor
- Fresh garlic and parsley - lots of it
- Olive oil - it's worth every penny to find a good quality one
- Eggs - only the best when they come from your backyard chickens!
- Ricotta and Feta cheese - I found equal amounts of both gave the best results
- Phyllo dough - you can't have Greek spinach pie without it!
- Salt - you can't really eat this much spinach without salt
What is good to serve with Spanakopita?
This may be unconventional, but we really did love eating this for breakfast with some eggs.
Traditionally, though, spanakopita is a great compliment to all Greek food. Serve it alongside greek salad, hummus, pita bread, gyros... so many options!
How healthy is Spanakopita?
With most of my recipes I give the same answer: depends on your version of healthy.
The good: This recipe has tons of ingredients that most everyone would consider healthy. Fresh spinach, onions, garlic, parsley along with the healthy fats that come with eggs and olive oil.
The not so good: Some people would argue that ricotta and feta cheese along with phyllo dough aren't the best healthy options.
If you ask me, I wouldn't necessarily consider this recipe to be super healthy, but it's better than eating a bowl of Fruit Loops!
Can Spanakopita be served at room temperature?
You bet. You can serve spanakopita warm, room temperature, or even cold. This one is just a matter of preference.
How to make homemade Spanakopita:
The recipe below goes through everything step by step, but here's a high level summary.
- First step is to cook the onions, garlic, spinach, parsley and salt on the stove. Then, I allow it to fully cool in a colander. You want any excess liquid to drain out.
- You'll combine this spinach mixture with the eggs and cheese.
- To assemble your spinach pie, you'll layer sheets of phyllo dough with olive oil. This will be the bottom of the spanakopita. Then you'll add your filling and cover with the phyllo dough sheets layered with olive oil.
- Before you place it in the oven, be sure to pre-cut your squares or triangles. Bake to a golden brown perfection and you're done!
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion (diced)
- 1 large red onion (diced)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced)
- 24 ounces spinach (fresh, pre-washed baby spinach, chopped)
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (stems removed, chopped)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- 16 ounces phyllo dough
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in large pan over medium high heat. Add yellow and red onion. Stir to coat in hot oil, then saute until golden brown, only stirring to avoid burning. Stir in garlic and allow to cook for a few more minutes.
- Add spinach, parsley, and salt. If pan isn't big enough, you can add it in batches until it cooks down and makes more room. Cook until all spinach is wilted. Transfer everything to a wire mesh sieve or colander and let it cool. Any liquid that drains off can be discarded.
- Once the spinach mixture is fully cool and any additional liquid has been pressed out, transfer to a large bowl. Combine with the eggs, ricotta, and feta cheese and stir to combine.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To bake, you will need a 9x9 baking dish.
- Unroll phyllo dough. Cut the dough in half so that it fits in the pan better. Use damp towels or paper towels below and on top of the dough to prevent it from drying out. Using the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil and a pastry brush, coat the bottom of the baking dish with oil.
- Add a couple sheets of dough and then add a thin layer of olive oil. Continue layering the dough and the olive oil until about half the dough has been used. Allow the dough to go up the sides of the pan. Once half the dough has been laid down, spoon all of the spinach layer onto the base layer of the dough and spread it out evenly.
- Top the spinach layer with two pieces of dough at a time, brushing with a thin layer of olive oil after every two layers. Once all of the dough has been used, fold any over hanging dough over and tuck down into the sides of the pan.
- Pre-cut the squares with a sharp paring knife prior to baking. Bake in preheated oven until golden and crispy, about 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.