We plant spinach or silverbeet in our garden pretty much every year, and each year, it goes crazy! Then, I am left figuring out new and exciting ways to incorporate it into our week of meals. Often it will be added to a risotto or served alongside eggs or added into a smoothie, but spinach and silverbeet are something that I find the kids don’t love raw, ie. a lettuce based salad is much better received than a spinach based salad. Enter spanikopita.
Spanikopita is Greek for ‘spinach pie’ and there are quite a few variations of how it can be made, but mine uses a good chunk of the spinach or silverbeet in the garden, eggs from the chickens, as well as fresh herbs. I have been known to use beetroot leaves too, and it works just as well.
Do the kids really love it? Well, yes! Mark does, and will happily gobble up any leftovers the next day. The girls will happily try it and very much enjoy the pastry, and will often finish off a good amount of their piece. I don’t push it, but we do insist that they try what’s on their plate, and I will continue to make this as I am pretty certain that with time, they too will love it.
Spanikopita is a great meal for vegetarians, as it contains a good source of protein, from the eggs, cheese and spinach. The greens are also a rich source of plant based iron. Leftover spanikopita can be enjoyed for a couple of days, although, I definitely recommend taking the extra time to reheat it in the oven and crisp up the filo pastry.
- 4 cups spinach or silverbeet, finely chopped, washed and dried
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 spring onions, sliced
- 5 eggs, lightly beaten
- 375g ricotta cheese
- 2 tbs mint, chopped
- 2 tbs dill, chopped
- 2 tbs parsley, chopped
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
- 100g feta
- 8-10 sheets filo pastry
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
- Place the dried spinach into a large bowl, add salt and massage through leaves for ~ 1 minute. The salt will cause the spinach to wilt, without adding the extra moisture that cooking the spinach would. Set aside.
- Heat a medium sized frypan over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil, along with the leek and spring onions, cook for 3-4 minutes or until translucent. Remove from heat.
- In a bowl, mix together the eggs, ricotta, herbs, nutmeg, parmesan and lemon zest.
- Add the egg mix to the spinach, along with the leek and spring onions. Mix well to combine. Crumble the feta and gently fold through.
- Using a baking dish or skillet, prepare the pastry by laying down individual sheets of filo pastry, spraying or brushing with olive oil between layers. Overlap layers to allow the pastry to seal in the contents. Continue layering until the dish is covered, ensuring you leave some overhang.
- Place the spinach mixture inside the filo pastry and then fold the overhanging pastry back over the top of the spinach mixture.
- Place into the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is set and the filo pastry is golden brown.