Speedy Spanakopita

This is what I made as a clean-out-your-fridge dinner the other night.

I know. I sort of couldn’t believe it, either.

But filo dough is one of those things I always have on hand when I’m in the U.S., because it’s impossible to find in France (instead, there’s a much thicker pastry called “brick”), and I love making filo triangles stuffed with whatever I can think of for parties…

But, sadly, with no party on the horizon and an extra roll of filo in my freezer that needed to be eaten up – plus a sack of frozen spinach and a bunch of kale that was about to go south — I figured a spanikopita-like something was in my future.

Onward with the Mediterranean theme. I hope y’all don’t mind.

I used to make the little triangle spanikopitas all the time and I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve never made it grande — so I googled and saw a Martha Stewart recipe that scrunched the tops like I’ve done here. I looks tricky, but it’s not — this recipe came together in less than 15 minutes.

Pretty enough for a party, easy enough for every single damn day. Big love.



Speedy Spanakopita

Makes 6 servings

  •            1 pound of frozen spinach, thawed
  •             2 tablespoons of olive oil
  •             1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  •             2 garlic cloves, minced
  •             1 bunch of kale, removed from the ribs and finely chopped*
  •             sea salt and pepper
  •             2 eggs, lightly beaten
  •             16 ounces of ricotta
  •             zest of 1 lemon
  •             6 ounces of feta, crumbled
  •             ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
  •             1 roll of filo dough (1/2 of 1 package)
  •             ⅓ cup of olive oil, plus a bit more for the top

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

2. Put your thawed, frozen spinach in a colander and let it drain.

3. Add the olive oil, chopped onion, and garlic to a skillet and turn the heat to medium. Cook until the onion softens, about 5 minutes, then add the kale, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until it wilts. Be sure and taste as you go. Put the cooked kale mixture in a large bowl to cool.

4. Squeeze out any remaining water in the spinach with your hands (it’s the easiest way to do this) and add this to the bowl, too.

5. Whisk the eggs with the ricotta and lemon zest and pour this into the bowl. Add the feta and nutmeg and mix everything together. Set this aside.

6. Now it’s time to work quickly — and carefully. Have your olive oil in a little bowl, along with a brush, your spinach mixture, and the filo dough ready. These are the three parts you’ll be working with. This is easy to do, but you must work fast so the filo doesn’t dry out. Unroll your filo dough and peel off two sheets and lay these onto the parchment. Brush with some olive oil. Repeat with 2 more sheets, more oil, then 2 more sheets, and a bit more oil, for 6 total. Put the spinach mixture in the middle, spreading it out a bit so it’s even, but leaving 2 inches around the sides so you can fold the filo dough straight up. If your filo sides fall a bit, just brush some oil on top — it acts like glue. Now, taking one sheet of filo dough at a time, gently crumple it and press it onto the top. Keep doing this until you’ve filled up the top with filo — I used 8 to 10 sheets. Drizzle with olive oil and if there are any bits of filo on the sides falling down, just glue it back together with a brushstroke of olive oil. Slide into the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until it’s browned and crispy. Serve right away.

Note: This also reheats beautifully. Preheat the oven to 350°F, put your pieces of spanakopita on a cookie sheet and bake until it’s warmed through and once again crispy, for about 20 minutes.

*I realize adding kale is a departure for this traditional Greek dish, but I had some on hand and didn’t want to toss it out — if you’d rather omit the kale, just double the amount of spinach instead.