Recipe: Spanakopita + Modern Greek Salad
So we had some random phyllo dough in the freezer (Ed accidentally bought it for a different dish when he was meant to buy puff pastry) and decided to make the most natural thing that came to mind—spanikopita. Spanikopita, for reference, is a super classic Greek savory pastry filled with onion, spinach and feta cheese. It’s melt-in-your mouth delicious, and we served it with a homemade tzatziki (like dill yogurt dip) and a modern take on the classic Greek salad.
Some of the twists on these traditional favorites were purposeful, and some were because of circumstances. Greek salad typically includes tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, feta and olives, but I’m not a fan of tomatoes or cucumbers and we used all the cheese for the spanikopita filling. For an additional bit of crunch, I roasted the chickpeas rather than serving them raw. We didn’t buy enough feta for the spanikopita, so a few dollops of ricotta had to do. And we didn’t have an egg (this helps to thicken the filling), so we did the ole oil/water/baking powder trick.
Despite some curveballs, everything turned out fantastically! You’re guaranteed to have a bunch of spanikopita and tzatziki leftover, but both will keep quite well in the fridge for a few days. Your salad, of course, can basically consist of anything you want. Enjoy this fun anytime dinner!
Romaine or Bibb lettuce
Zoës Kitchen Greek dressing
Toppings (we used carrots, red onions, pepperoncinis and kalamata olives)
1 package frozen phyllo dough
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
10 oz. package frozen spinach, thawed
4 oz. crumbled feta
1/4 c. low-fat ricotta
1 t. baking powder
2 c. plain Greek yogurt
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cucumber, peeled & cut into chunks
2-3 T. fresh dill
Juice of one lemon
1 can of chickpeas
Garlic powder, chili powder & cayenne to taste
Salt & pepper to taste
1) For the salad, prepare and wash your lettuce, chop your toppings and toss with Zoës Kitchen Greek dressing.
2) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the chickpeas and pat dry with a paper towel. Add the chickpeas to a large plastic bag along with two tablespoons of olive oil plus salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and cayenne to taste. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour chickpeas out. Bake for 16 minutes, toss well, then bake for 16 more minutes. Allow to cool before sprinkling onto your salad. At this point, be sure to keep the oven on but reduce heat to 375 degrees.
3) Combine the Greek yogurt, three of the garlic cloves, cucumber, dill, lemon juice and one tablespoon olive oil in a food processor. Season with salt and pepper and pulse until smooth. Add to the fridge until you’re ready to serve.
4) If your spinach isn’t fully thawed, then defrost it a bit in the microwave. When it’s ready to handle, try to get as much moisture out of it as possible with a cheesecloth or a paper towel.
5) Mince the yellow onion and the remaining three garlic cloves and add to a skillet over medium heat until the onion just starts to become translucent. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes more until all moisture has evaporated.
6) In a bowl, whisk together 1.5 tablespoons water, 1.5 tablespoons olive oil and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Add the feta, the ricotta and the spinach mixture and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
7) Now for the tricky part! Grab a large cutting board (or use your clean countertop) and spray with a bit of cooking spray. Place 2-3 sheets of phyllo dough in a stack on top of the greased surface. Melt your butter and lightly, carefully, brush the sheets. Make a horizontal and a vertical cut in the sheets so you end up with four rectangular sections.
8) Place a heaping spoonful of the spinach mixture in one corner of one of the phyllo rectangles. Fold the corner so it touches the opposite straight edge of the phyllo dough (just know it should be a triangle!). Continue folding and tuck in the edges. Add to a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with more butter. Continue the process until you’re run out of dough and/or filling.
9) Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with tzatziki for dipping and enjoy with your salad.