Let me tell you a story about how I discovered this delicious Greek spinach and cheese phyllo pie. Spanakopita has been a dish I have enjoyed since my pre-teens and I didn’t even know it! It wasn’t until my adult years where I frequented Greek restaurants that I realized this spinach and cheese phyllo pie that I have enjoyed for so long was actually called Spanakopita.
You see, my mother’s friend Aunt Manal who is of Egyptian descent would make this all the time and bring them to family gatherings growing up. In Egypt, they have a dish called Goulash which is a ground beef phyllo pie. Instead of meat, she would make this alternative but not as traditional as the way Greeks would. She would use different cheeses like mozzarella, cheddar, and not just feta in her mixture.
As of late, I have been craving this spinach and cheese phyllo pie. I miss home and dishes that remind me of my upbringing and when I do, I create them myself. So, I called my mom and Aunt Manal then started developing this recipe while trying to stay authentic to its Greek roots. I even created this fancy spiral design as opposed to the typical layered phyllo that looks like baklava. You can see how to as well in the photos below in the recipe box!
What’s awesome about this recipe too is that it is freezer friendly. I still have some spanakopita slices in a zip lock in the freezer for me to warm up and enjoy when I want a quick bite. It warms up well in both the oven or even microwave. Give this a try and let me know what you think below!
Spinach & Cheese Filling
- 12 oz Fresh Feta cheese, crumbled
- 28 oz Frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
- 3 Sprigs of Green onions, chopped
- 1 White onion, finely chopped
- 6 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup Parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tbsp Sumac optional, but a great addition
- 1 Egg, beaten
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 Egg, beaten
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup Milk
- 1 Package of Phyllo dough #4 or #7 works
- 1.5 Sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup Sesame seeds
- First, work on the spinach and cheese filling. All you need to do is mix together the filling ingredients really well then set aside.
- Now, prepare your work area for assembly. Have the melted butter ready in a bowl with a brush nearby. Have the phyllo sheets covered with a damp towel. Have the baking pan nearby that you plan to use prepped with some melted butter.
- There are two main designs you can create with spanakopita. One is a spiral which is what I am showing how to do today and the other is the simple layered one like a baklava but with spinach and cheese! Feel free to do what you prefer.
- For the large spiral, you will need a 10 inch baking pan preferably springform so it is easier to come apart.
- Lay a sheet of phyllo on the clean surface gently and then gently brush some melted butter over the top. Do not go overboard on the butter just enough to lightly brush the phyllo sheet.
- Repeat this 3-4 times before adding filling. So for each layer of filling; you will need 3-4 buttered phyllo sheets stacked on top of each other.
- Add a log of filling going down the longest part of the phyllo about 3 inches from the edge. Roll the edges over the filling and create a tight roll and keep rolling until all the phyllo is rolled up covering the filling.
- Lay the roll around the edge of the round baking pan. Keep repeating the steps of buttering the phyllo, layering the spinach/cheese, rolling and placing in the baking pan in a spiral design.
- Lastly, top the phyllo design with a brush of melted butter then sesame seeds scattered over the top!
- Bake at 375F for 25 minutes. Then, mix together the egg and milk mixture with a tad of salt and pepper and drizzle all over the top of the phyllo pie.
- If using a springform pan, make sure to put the springform pan over another pan as the liquid may leak through the edges.
- Bake for another 25 minutes until the liquid is completely dried off then broil for 1 minute to achieve nice coloring over the top.
- Allow to cool to room temperature. Cut into slices carefully and enjoy!