Spanakopita

One of our favourite summer meals is Spanakopita, Greek spinach pie, or in this case, turnovers. Now, I know that this is usually served as an appetizer at Greek restaurants, but we love to bake up a couple of these and a batch of Tzatziki, make up a salad and chow down. It’s light, tasty and just right with a glass of wine on a summer’s evening.

The recipe I use to make my Spanakopita came from Flavours magazine, a freebie magazine that the liquor stores hand out. Over the years, we’ve come across some great recipes in the magazine and this recipe is one that we come back to time after time. We recommend that you allow them to cool slightly before eating them. The flavour comes through better when they’re not so hot they burn your tongue (don’t ask).

And they freeze well, too! Just lay them out on a cookie sheet, put them in the freezer until they’re completely frozen, then carefully bag them. When you’re ready to bake them, just put them on your cookie sheet and bake as directed. Enjoy!

Spanakopita (makes 30-40)

[printable version]

  • 4 bundles fresh baby spinach (or 1 box of frozen spinach, cooked and well drained)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onions
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup dill
  • 2 cups crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 package phyllo pastry sheets

In a skillet, over medium heat, add spinach and water; sauté spinach until soft. Remove spinach and drain in a colander. Let cool and squeeze out any remaining liquid. (If using frozen spinach, cook according to package directions, then drain, allow to cool and then squeeze out any remaining liquid.) Using the same skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and sauté until soft. Remove from pan, drain oil, and allow onions to cool. In a bowl, combine spinach, onions and remaining ingredients (except phyllo pastry). Add salt and pepper as desired. Mix thoroughly. Lay the phyllo sheets flat, 2 layers thick and cut into 4 long strips, 3″ wide.

Place 1 tsp of spinach mixture on each strip of phyllo dough on the end closest to you. Take one corner of the phyllo dough and fold it over the spinach mixture to form a triangle. Continue to fold in triangles until the end of the strip.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Brush the pastry with melted butter and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm with Tzatziki.

John’s Tzatziki

  • 1 long English cucumber
  • salt
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup (approximately) sour cream
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • handful fresh dill (or 1-2 tbsp dried dill)

Peel the cucumber. Using the coarse side of a box grater, grate the cucumber into a sieve that is resting in a bowl. Sprinkle 1-2 tsp salt over the cucumber; stir, then allow to stand for a couple of hours to allow as much moisture as possible to drain out of the cucumber. When the cucumber has drained, discard the liquid and place the cucumber in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Refrigerate for about an hour or so to allow flavours to blend.

Note: the measurements for the tzatziki are approximate. John always eyeballs it. You may need to thin it down with a little more yogurt or thicken it with a little more sour cream. You might like more garlic, or less. This is how WE make it.


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