Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
The Greek way of life is otherwise known as the Mediterranean Diet or as I like to call it the Mediterranean ‘lifestyle’. This particular way of eating means that most nutrients are sourced from vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruits, and grains. Food is prepared using fresh seasonal ingredients, and that means there is a wonderful rhythm to planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and enjoying traditional Greek cuisine.
Recently I’ve spoiled my family with a delicious and nutritious vegetarian / vegan / lenten pita (pie) made with nutritious spinach leaves that are rich in antioxidants and a great source of A, B2, C and K. Spinach also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium; in other words it’s a great addition to our everyday diet.
The spring onions add a lovely mild flavour and it all comes together beautifully with the addition of fresh herbs and a little par-boiled rice which may call for an extra sprinkling of salt (that’s my preference), but its best to season to your taste. The addition of the par-boiled rice absorbs any moisture released from the spinach during the baking process. The result is a flaky Spanakopita, with a delicious filling that is simply irresistible. Our family hasn’t had leftovers yet, but I’m certain it will keep well!
Here’s the recipe for my divinely delicious Spanakopita!
1 packet of Phyllo pastry
1/2 cup of Nuttelex spread, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely chopped spring onions (white ends and some of the green tips)
1 bunch of spinach, stalks removed, washed, drained, and finely cut
1/2 cup finely chopped dill
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup rice, to be par-boiled, drained and set aside
salt and pepper, to suit your taste
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, and saute the spring onions until soft.
Add the drained spinach, and cook until wilted.
Add herbs, season with salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly.
Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding the par-boiled rice.
Now it’s time to prepare the pie dish.
Grease a round ‘pita’ dish, or other shallow baking tray with the melted Nuttelex.
Place a sheet of phyllo, brush with Nuttelex, before placing another sheet on top. Ensure that some of the phyllo hangs over the edges of the tray. Repeat until 10 sheets cover the base of the tray.
Add the rice into the spinach mixture, and be sure to mix well, before placing this filling into the dish. Smooth the spinach mixture to the edges of the tray.
Continue with another 8 sheets of phyllo brushed with Nuttelex.
Brush the overhanging edges of pastry with melted Nuttelex, and then proceed to fold them in at an angle to form a crust around the tray.
Using a sharp knife proceed to lightly cut the top layers of pastry into squares and then using your fingers ‘splash’ some water on top of the Spanakopita.
Bake for approximately 30 -45 minutes, depending on your oven.
It's always nice to share!