A lovely lighter vegetarian lunch or dinner that is packed full of spinach and feta! Creamy filling with the freshness of the mint and saltiness of feta won’t disappoint, and the crispy golden brown filo (phyllo) pastry will add the needed crunch! A traditional Greek Spanakopita Spiral is definitely a winner on our lunch table! Plus, doesn’t it look pretty!?
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What is Spanakopita?
Spanakopita literally means ‘spinach pie’ in Greek. It is a traditional Greek savoury pie that has its origins in the Ottoman empire. Well, it certainly stood the test of time, as it is enjoyed all over the world these days too.
Spinach and cream cheese (sometimes ricotta) and feta is such a classic combination that you simply can’t go wrong with it! To make this spiral spanakopita extra special, we added some nutmeg, lemon zest and a good amount of fresh mint too!
Different Shapes of Greek Spanakopita
Spanakopita comes in various different shapes and sizes! If you don’t fancy a spiral Spanakopita, choose a different shape you prefer:
- Make individually-sized Spanakopita Triangles (shape them like samosas).
- Make it into a pie: line the bottom and sides of an oven-proof dish with filo pastry sheets, brushing them with butter in between. Then add the filling and top with more filo pastry to create a pie top!
- Make it into a round cake (same way as with a pie, but use a round springform cake tin!
Tips and Tricks for Working With Filo (Phyllo) Pastry
We buy ready-made filo sheets. In the UK, they can typically be found in the fridge isles, where you’d normally look for a puff or shortcrust pastry. They usually come in 200g packets and are cut into 12-16 sheets.
- Make sure you take a packet of your filo pastry out of the fridge about 30 minutes before using it. But don’t open the packet. Filo pastry is best to work with, when it’s room temperature but hasn’t dried out.
- Brush the top of the Spiral Spanakopita with melted butter or oil liberally before placing it in the oven! Fat will make sure your pastry crisps up and browns beautifully!
- If your pastry is breaking whilst you are shaping it into a spiral, brush the tubes with butter or oil as you go to moisten the pastry and make it less brittle!
Method: How To Make a Spanakopita Spiral?
Preheat the oven to 200°C Fan. Wash your spinach and place it in a large colander. Boil a full kettle of water and slowly pour over the spinach, making sure all are getting blanched. Leave to cool down.
Chop spring onions, brown onion, mint, garlic and dill. Then zest your lemon. When cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the moisture from your spinach with your hands. The more excess liquid you get rid of, the crispier the cooked filo will be. You should be left with a large handful of compacted spinach. Place it on a chopping board and chop it up roughly.
Heat 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a pan. Add the chopped brown onion, spring onion and garlic and cook on medium heat for approx. 4 minutes until the onion is starting to soften.
Add the spinach and cook for another minute. This step will dry your spinach further, ensuring crispy pastry. Then take off the heat and leave to cool down.
In a separate large bowl, mix together cream cheese, an egg, a pinch of nutmeg, dill, mint, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Add the cooled spinach and mix to combine. Crumble the feta into chunks and mix carefully not to break it up too much.
Lay your filo pastry sheets. Add a third of the spinach mixture to each sheet and spread along the longer edge of the pastry. Then roll it into a tube. Then roll the tube into a wheel. Repeat with the other two sheets, wrapping the tubes around the first wheel.
Lightly brush the top of the wheel with olive oil, then sprinkle some nigella seeds on top.
Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the wheel turns golden brown. Enjoy this spinach and feta pie warm or at room temperature!
Storage And Reheating
This recipe served 2 people for lunch if paired with a side salad, but you can easily double or even triple the recipe. Note though, that large Spanakopita Spirals will take a little longer to cook through.
If you have made more spiral Spanakopita than you can eat, store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You can enjoy the pie cold the next day, or place it in the oven for 10 minutes at 180° C. Do not reheat your pie in a microwave: the filo pasty will become extremely soggy and unpleasant to eat.
What To Serve With Spanakopita?
If you are wondering what to eat with Greek Spanakopita we have a bunch of suggestions for you! We personally think a salad or two served with this traditional Spanakopita Spiral makes a wonderful lunch. Try it with:
- Courgette Ribbon Salad with Honey and Tea Dressing
- Quick Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
- Persian Shirazi Salad
Other Filo (Phyllo) Pastry Recipes
If you cooked out Traditional Spanakopita, you may have lots of filo pastry left over. Try our other pies and tarts for dinner this week, including:
And if you fancy something sweet, why not try Pistachio and Almond Briouat?
Traditional Spanakopita Spiral
- 250 g spinach
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small brown onion finely chopped
- 3 spring onions thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 100 g cream cheese
- 1 small egg
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon dill fresh or frozen
- 10 g mint leaves only, roughly chopped
- ½ lemon zest only
- 100 g feta
- 3 filo pastry sheets
- 2 tablespoon olive oil for brushing
- ½ teaspoon nigela seeds optional
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Wash your spinach and place it in a large colander. Boil a full kettle of water and slowly pour over the spinach, making sure all are getting blanched. Leave to cool down.
- When cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the moisture with your hands. You should be left with a large handful of compacted spinach. Place on a chopping board and chop up roughly.
- Heat 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a pan. Add brown onion, spring onion and garlic and cook on medium heat for 4 minutes.
- Add the spinach and cook for another minute. Then take off the heat and leave to cool down.
- In a separate large bowl, mix together cream cheese, an egg, a pinch of nutmeg, dill, mint, lemon zest and salt and pepper. Add the cooled spinach and mix to combine. Crumble the feta in chunks and mix carefully not to break it up too much.
- Lay your filo pastry sheets. Add a third of the spinach mixture on each sheet and spread along the longer edge of the pastry. Then roll into a tube (see photos above).
- Roll the tube into a wheel. Then repeat with the other two sheets, wrapping the tubes around the first wheel.
- Lightly brush the top of the wheel with the olive oil, then sprinkle some nigella seeds on top.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top of the wheel turns golden brown.