- 278 shares
Genuine, Greek spanakopita is a classic, spinach pie, surrounded with filo pastry. Filled with spinach or silver beet, cheeses and mildly spiced, Greek spanakopita is a great way to increase your or your children’s green veggie intake.
I can promise you, they will be coming back for second helpings! Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like pie made from filo pastry?
And the filo pastry? It’s very forgiving and despite ripping a few sheets here and there, it really doesn’t matter. The dish when cooked, will come out of the oven all golden brown.
We also take a look at the Greek diet. It’s not all grilled fish and roast lamb. There are healthy quantities of vegetables, pulses, yogurts and other healthy foods that make up the Eastern Mediterranean diet.
We’ve all heard the story of the Mediterranean diet although we noticed distinct differences between the diet of people living in Athens versus those on the Greek Islands.
The Greek Diet and Attitude
Many people claim the Greek diet is the healthiest in the world. I’m not qualified to answer that question but here are a few observations from our trip to the Greek Islands.
There is a strong emphasis on wholefoods, fruit, vegetables, fish, beans and legumes. There is very little processed food consumed on the islands and most families maintain healthy-looking vegetable gardens that are clearly well-maintained and heavily used. Dairy and yogurt are common but used sparingly, or maybe not over-used is a better way of putting it. Greek salads are common, as is the use of healthy, Greek olive oil. We were thrilled to find out many, rural-based families still maintain the old, family traditions of making their own olive oil from their own olives.
PLANNING AN UPCOMING
Get a FREE copy of the ITALIAN
DINNER PARTY MENU, complete with recipes!
Living on the Greek Islands, it is clear to see there is easy access to good fish. But what about meat? You don’t see too much beef. Lamb is clearly more popular and traditional. But it is not over-consumed. Fish is more common. The use of fava beans and chickpeas (garbanzo beans) is very common, more so than meat.
The end result is Greek Islanders are rather fit looking. But what about Athens and the mainland?
Our observation was there was more processed food consumed on the mainland. There are the usual, Western outlets everywhere. I don’t recall seeing any fast food outlets on the islands we visited. And according to statistics, obesity rates for young boys in Greece are the highest in Europe! Well I bet you those high obesity rates are not based on boys living on the Greek Islands.
Which makes me think it’s not just diet. The availability of beaches and great weather on the islands surely encourages children to go outside and play, take part in sports or just have a swim. The glorious weather is surely a big part of this.
If ever there was evidence processed food is not good for you, the Greek Islands might just be the required proof.
Genuine Greek Spanakopita
And so to Greek Spanakopita. Yes, it does contain some pastry and butter, but have a look at the quantity of spinach in the making of it. It’s impressive and it’s good for you.
Spanakopita is not difficult to make but you will need about an hour on the preparation of the dish. I’m a novice preparing filo pastry, so those more proficient using it will take less time than I have indicated. I used full grown (English) spinach rather than baby spinach as I think it has more flavor. But feel free to substitute with baby spinach or silver beet and you might save a further 20 minutes of preparation time.
This is an easy recipe to make for a crowd or party as you can make it ahead of time and then bake it, or even bake it and just serve warm.
Greek spanakopita is perfect served with a beautiful, Greek village salad.
I think this is a really decadent dish made from simple ingredients. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
|Servings||Prep Time||Cook Time||Passive Time|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, brown diced
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 bunches spinach big stems removed, rinsed and chopped
- 2 tbsp dill chopped
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1/2 lb cheese, feta crumbled
- 5 ozs cheese, ricotta chopped
- 3 tbsp parmigiano reggiano grated
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated
- 1 tsp salt, ground sea
- 1 tsp black pepper, ground
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 10 sheets filo pastry
- 1 tbsp butter melted
- Heat the oil in a large fry pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and when softened, stir in the spinach and half the dill. Stir until the spinach has wilted, about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and allow to cool.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 f (180 c). In a bowl, mix together the eggs, cheeses, nutmeg, salt and pepper. When combined, stir in the cooled spinach mixture and remaining dill. Check for seasoning.
- Using a square or rectangular 2.5 quart/liter casserole dish, brush some olive oil around the base and sides of the dish. Take 1 sheet of filo, brush lightly with the olive oil and place into the base of the dish. Repeat 4 times overlapping the sheets. Place the spinach mixture evenly over the pastry. Then brush the remaining 5 filo sheets lightly with olive oil and place over the mixture, overlapping the sheets. With kitchen scissors, cut the excess pastry and tuck the pastry into the edges of the dish. Brush the top filo sheets with the melted butter.
- Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a Greek village salad.
Pin this classic Greek Recipe for later!
Oh delicious!! I often make what seems like an Italian version of it: the filling is similar but it’s made with no feta and puff pastry instead of filo.I must try this variation, sounds even tastier!
The filo pastry might be a little lighter than the puff pastry version. I think the feta adds a lot of character to the dish. Thanks for your comment.
I LOOOVE Greek food, and spanakopita is one of my favorites! Pinning this so we can make it very, very soon! 😀
Natalie I hope enjoy it as much as we did. It’s a great dish. Thanks for your comment.
Annie @ Annie's Noms
This looks so delicious! I adore spinach so much, especially with cheese! This has me swooning right now, that gorgeous flaky top is to die for!
Your making me hungry just reading your comment! It is delicious and even children come back for seconds. Thanks for your comment.
Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy
We are going island hopping around Greece in 2 weeks time and I am SO excited to eat a lot of this.
You will love it! All of the food was enjoyable and always served with a smile.
Razena | Tantalisemytastebuds
I love anything with pastry and cheese and love the crispness of filo so this is right up my alley!
It’s hard not to like spanakopita for all of the reasons you have mentioned. I love the crunch of the pastry. Thanks for your comment.
Kate @ VeggieDesserts
I love Greek foods. You just want to sit in the sun and relax and enjoy it. Your spanakopita looks gorgeous.
Kate thanks for that. Eating Greek food does make you envision the sun and the sea that’s for sure.
I’ve never tackled a spanakopita before…but this recipe looks so doable – must try ASAP!
I’m a pastry novice and it was simple and somewhat forgiving even if you do make a mistake!
Vicky @ AvocadoPesto
Have been to Greece twice now and absolutely loooved the food. On the islands love the fish and fresh salads and the delicious Greek olive oil! This looks amazing!
Hard to beat spanakopita. Real, Greek, comfort food. Thanks for your comment.
We love this in restaurants but should make it ourselves!!
It is relatively easy. I thought it would be harder than what it was.
Mica @ Let's Taco Bout It Blog
I would like to try this! Looks easy to make and my OH loves Greek food!
Then make it for your other half, you will receive brownie points! Thanks for your comment.
Kim @ Three Olives Branch
This looks so great! It has been so long since I have had this, it might be time to try it out myself!
Thanks Kim. It’s just one of those lovely recipes you can keep coming back to.
Spanakopita is such a lovely dish. Love the combination of the spinach and cheeses with the nutmeg. Your phyllo baked up so perfectly flaky, too!
I think nutmeg makes the dish. So subtle and perfect with the cheeses and spinach. Thanks for your comment.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
I’ve eaten spanakopita in restaurants but I’ve never tried making it. You’ve certainly inspired me to give it a go. It looks delicious and doable!!
It wasn’t difficult Marisa. The hardest part was washing the spinach! Thanks for your comment.
Oh my this looks seriously delicious and is a dish that I have never made but really should!
I know how you feel. I often think the same way when I see other recipes. It is honestly easy to make.
Peter L. Block
One of my favorite dishes. Love your other photos too.
Yes it is Greek comfort food. And popular with the whole family. Thanks for your comment.
I love everything Greek! The Greek Isles in Chicago is my #1 favorite restaurant of all times. What a great idea- to make this at home! I am game!
I’m glad you have a favorite Greek restaurant. And love the name of it. A healthy cuisine as well!
Ali @ Home & Plate
Your spanakopita looks irresistible. So flaky and filled with deliciousness. My neighbor makes them too so I will have to share your recipe with her.
Well I hope you both enjoy it. It is an irresistible dish – even for kids!