People ask me very often what I miss mostly about Greece and the answer as you can imagine is pretty easy… Food! Greek food is so wonderfully humble yet so delicious. Spanakopita(Greek spinach feta phyllo pie) is widely known around the world and is commonly prepared in a large pan and then cut out into individual portions. This a variation of the traditional recipe, served as little mouthfuls shaped in triangles. I have to admit the individual ones are a lot more versatile- why? They make the perfect finger food (that can easily fit into your handbag) and they are also great healthy snacks for kids and grownups! These mini spanakopita triangles are like no other vegetarian pie you have ever tried before! Why? Because they are crispy, juicy and stuffed with a herby, tangy spinach-feta mixture. The triangles are then brushed with olive oil and baked until crispy and golden. So go ahead and make these mini spanakopita triangles and your house will smell like an old Greek bakery!
Ingredients for the spanakopita triangles
- Phyllo pastry: Let’s talk phyllo or filo! Phyllo is one of these ingredients that are equally wonderful and fiddly. Try and get your hands on some Greek or Turkish phyllo if you can as the flavour and texture is better. Make sure to keep it covered with a damp cloth at all times otherwise the sheets will dry out!
- Extra virgin olive oil: Use the best quality you can and preferably Greek (it the best after all!). Olive oil is used for sautéing the vegetables and brushing the phyllo layers while building the triangles.
- Frozen spinach: Yes you can use fresh if you want to! But frozen spinach is a fraction of the price of fresh and frankly it doesn’t make much difference as the spinach will be sautéed and flavoured with all the herbs. I find that it’s best to defrost the spinach the night before, place it in a clean cloth to get rid of any excess water and then add to the pan.
- 1 medium leek: Leeks are not always added to spanakopita but I love the sweetness of the leeks with the contrast of salty feta!
- Spring onions: Spring onions are so much more fragrant than white onions and they are very widely used in Greek cuisine.
- Fresh dill: Dill is a must addition to any traditionally made spanakopita.
- Fresh mint leaves: Mint leaves are definitely not a classic addition but it gives the triangles a wonderful aromatic flavour.
- Zest from 1 lemon: Lemon zest gives a very fragrant and fresh flavour to the triangles.
- Greek feta cheese: You can skip the feta cheese if you prefer but its salty and tangy flavour really goes with the humble spinach.
- 1 Egg: One egg will bind the mixture together.
- Salt and pepper: I don’t specify how much salt to add to the triangles as it depends on how salty the feta cheese you are using will be.
For the spanakopita triangles (makes 24 triangles)
- 8 phyllo pastry sheets (50cm x 40cm)
- 3tbsp olive oil, for sautéing
- 400g frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 medium leek, diced
- 20g dill, chopped
- 10 mint leaves, chopped
- 2 spring onions, diced
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 200g feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil (for brushing)
How to make the spanakopita filling
- Start by preparing the spinach first. Place the frozen spinach in a bowl and let it thaw in the fridge overnight. Skip this step if you are using fresh spinach.
- The next day place the spinach on a clean cloth and squeeze out as much water as possible*. Place in a clean bowl and set aside.
- For the filling, in a pan over medium heat place 3tbsp of olive oil and once it is hot add the spring onions and leeks. Sauté until the mixture is soft and golden.
- Add the spinach and cook for couple minutes until wilted.
- Turn the heat off and add the chopped dill, mint and lemon zest.
- Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and let cool completely before adding the rest of the ingredients*.
- Mix in the feta cheese. Add the desirable amount of salt and pepper and taste it to adjust before adding the egg.
- Once you have adjusted the seasoning, add the egg and mix with a spatula to combine. Set aside until needed.
How to assemble the spanakopita triangles
- Preheat the oven to 180°C fan and start shaping the spanakopita triangles.
- Spread the 8 phyllo sheets*on a clean surface and cut them into 6 equal pieces long ways.
- Place the now cut sheets on top of each other, set aside and cover with a damp cloth.
- Take one sheet, spray it or brush it with olive oil, place another sheet on top and brush or spray with more olive oil. Make sure that you brush with olive oil all over especially the corners.
- At the end of the lane add one tablespoon of filling and spread it evenly at the corner of the sheet.
- Fold one corner to form a triangle upon itself, until the entire piece of phyllo is used. Continue with the rest of the phyllo sheets and filling.
- Place desired amount of triangles on a baking tray with a piece of parchment paper. You can freeze the rest of the triangles by placing them in a freezer bag *or simply bake them all.
- Brush them with some extra olive oil if needed and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 25-30 minutes, until golden and crispy.
- Serve immediately and while still hot.
- Enjoy 🙂
- If you do choose to use fresh spinach you might notice that the mix will be quite watery. You can place the mixture (before the addition of the egg and feta cheese) in a clean cloth and squeeze the excess water.
- Make sure that the mixture is completely cool as the feta cheese could start to melt and the egg might slightly scramble.
- I used 8 phyllo sheets (50cmx40cm) but you can use any size. It just means that your triangles might be slightly smaller or bigger.
- Spanakopita triangles keep great in the freezer and they are perfect for unexpected guests. Simply take them out of the freezer, let them thaw for about 10 minutes and bake them as normal.