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Written by Ana from creativenourish.com
Ever since visiting Greece in my early childhood, I have loved their food – breakfasts with honey drizzled in greek yogurt, greek salads, kleftikos, fish…and anything with feta really.
That is why I wanted to recreate the authentic Greek Spanakopita at home – it’s an easy recipe and one that feeds many.
What Is Spanakopita
Made with delicious feta, fresh spinach sautéed in onion and garlic, and then covered in filo pastry that turns golden when baked.
In Greece, it’s made in a variety of ways, but the most common is either baked in a large dish and then served in square size portions or as spanakopita triangles (spinach and cheese triangles).
You can eat it all over Greece, but it is thought to have originated from the region of Epirus, in the northwest.
What you need to know about making this spanakopita recipe:
- Spinach – you can use fresh or frozen, but I prefer fresh. If you use frozen, you need to make sure that you drain all the liquid from it after thawing
- Feta – good quality feta cheese is necessary – best are those made from sheep’s milk and one that is preferably made in Greece. The ones with a mix of cow’s milk, sheep’s, and goat’s milk are just not as good, in my opinion
- Sautéed onion and garlic – necessary to get the sweetness and depth of flavor
- Herbs – chopped fresh parsley is a must. You can also add chopped fresh dill if you find it available
- Eggs – make the mixture more dense, and add more protein, but you won’t taste them at all
- Olive oil – use good quality olive oil; cold-pressed extra-virgin is the way to go if available
- Filo pastry – you can always make your own (here is a great recipe), or if you need to make this quickly (which I usually do for a quick lunch), you can use store-bought filo pastry
Tips On How To Make Greek Spanakopita
The classic filling ingredients are spinach and feta cheese. If you see a recipe using ricotta (and you will find those) then it is not an authentically Greek spanakopita recipe. If you use fresh spinach like we do now, it needs to be sautéed with onion and garlic and then cooled before the eggs and feta are added (so the eggs don’t start cooking).
When buying filo, you want to look for ones with no preservatives, trans fats, or nasty ingredients. If you are thawing previously frozen filo, then make sure the pastry is completely dry before using it in the recipe, as otherwise, you won’t get that crispy finish.
Be gentle when working with filo pastry, as it can easily tear.
The great thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead of time, for example, the night before, then cover it and place it in the fridge.
We used a glass Pyrex dish 22.5 x 33 cm.
I love eating this spinach and feta pie with a side of spring greens dressed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar for lunch.
It can be served as an appetizer, snack, main meal, or part of a bigger family gathering. It goes great with lamb, chicken, and fish.
The best is to serve it warm direct from the oven, but even cold, it tastes amazing.
If you like this recipe, you might also like the Oven-baked Spanish Tortilla.
Here is how to make an authentic spanakopita at home. This super easy Greek spanakopita recipe feeds many and will make you think you are sitting in Greece.
- 2 red onions, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 spring onion, sliced
- 500g fresh spinach
- 300g feta cheese
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 4 filo pastry sheets
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC / 400ºF
- Wash and drain the spinach
- Take a large pan and heat up a tbsp of olive oil over medium heat
- Add onion and garlic and cook until soft
- Add the spinach little by little until it is wilted and reduced in volume
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, add the feta, sliced spring onion, and parsley
- Once the spinach is finished, drain excess liquid from the wilted spinach and onions if necessary, and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes, so your eggs don’t cook once you combine the mixtures
- Once cooled, add the spinach mixture to the bowl with feta and eggs and mix thoroughly
- In a baking dish (we use a glass Pyrex 22.5 x 33 cm), lay the first sheet of filo, and with a silicone, brush spread olive oil all over it.
- Lay the second layer of filo over
- Tip the spinach and feta mixture on top and spread it evenly
- Cover with another sheet of filo and brush olive oil again over that sheet. And repeat with another filo sheet
- Roll the sides over to get a nice crust
- Place in the oven for 45 min (could be up to 1 hour, depending on the oven). You will know when it’s done because the top will be crispy and dark brown, as shown in the photos
Store in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months (raw or cooked).