Spanakopita with Tzatziki Dipping Sauce
Spanakopita, or Greek Spinach Pie, is a traditional savory pastry made with spinach (duh), feta, onions, herbs and eggs. You’ll see it in sort of a sheet cake form, with layers of flaky phyllo dough on top and bottom, or you’ll see it in individual triangular servings. We opt for the triangle version; it’s a favorite party food of ours, and people always just gobble them up.
We also add a healthy serving of ricotta to our spanakopita, making for a super creamy interior. A baking powder/water mixture is used instead of eggs, and melted butter brushed on the outside of the parcels ensures a perfect golden brown result. Spanakopita is super delicious on its on, but as I’m the self-proclaimed Queen of Dipping Sauces (go ahead and bend the knee), I like to serve mine with a homemade tzatziki. If you’ve never had tzatziki, it’s a tangy mixture of Greek yogurt, cucumber, garlic, olive oil and herbs. It also goes great on veggie burgers or as a salad dressing!
P.S. I posted a Spanakopita + Modern Greek Salad recipe back in November. This spanakopita recipe is based on that one, but the proportions are tweaked a bit.
INGREDIENTS - SPANAKOPITA
1 roll of frozen phyllo dough, thawed (a package will have multiple rolls, but for this recipe you’ll only need one)
1 - 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, thawed
5 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 c. low fat ricotta cheese
1 yellow onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 stick of butter, melted (you might not use all of it)
1.5 T. water
1.5 T. olive oil
1 t. baking powder
Salt & pepper, to taste
INGREDIENTS - TZATZIKI
2 c. low fat Greek yogurt, unflavored
Juice of half a lemon
3 garlic cloves, minced
Half of a cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
3 T. fresh dill
1 T. olive oil
1) Combine all of the tzatziki ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth. You can always add more cucumber or lemon juice if needed, but you definitely can’t take it away! And I personally believe that you can never have too much dill. Place in the fridge until the spanikopita is done.
2) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 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.
3) Add the onion and garlic to a skillet over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion just starts to become translucent. Add the spinach and cook for a few minutes more until all moisture has evaporated.
4) In a bowl, whisk together the water, olive oil and baking powder. Add the feta, ricotta and spinach mixture and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired. Stir well to combine.
5) Now for the tricky part! Grab a large cutting board (or use your clean countertop) and spray with a bit of cooking spray. Place three sheets of phyllo dough in a stack on top of the greased surface. Melt your butter and lightly, carefully, brush the sheets. Make three vertical cuts 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 paper-lined baking sheet and brush with more butter. Continue the process until you’ve run out of dough and/or filling (with these proportions, though, it should turn out perfectly).
9) Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve with tzatziki for dipping and enjoy!