Spinach Pie or Spanakopita

For many, we are now heading into the holiday season where we look forward to sharing meals with family and friends.  For most of us, those holiday menus are all but set in stone.  We will be eating traditional foods passed down through generations, which we eagerly look forward to partaking.  I am not suggesting that a spinach pie should replace your grandmother’s stuffing; however, if you are looking for a great dish to take to a party, this is it!

I first ate spanakopita in Greece.  The owner of a small restaurant escorted me to the kitchen, to see the menu, as I unable to read or understand Greek.  Among other items, I pointed to the exquisite flaky crusted pie, which was absolutely delectable.  A few months later, I met Lia, who is from Greece and frequently feathered spanakopita on her party menus – thus I too learned to make this great dish.  Enjoy!


1 package frozen Phyllo Dough – thawed

Olive Oil

¼ cup of melted Butter

1 pound of frozen Spinach

1 large Onion diced

3 teaspoons of Garlic

2 teaspoons of Nutmeg

1 tablespoon of Dill

1 pound of Ricotta Cheese

2 Eggs – beaten

1 large can of Evaporated Milk

1-2 cups of Feta Cheese – Feta has a strong flavor, I like 2 cups, but good with 1

Salt and Pepper


Do not turn on the oven until you are almost finished assembling this dish.  Until you get used to working with phyllo it can feel a bit overwhelming.  This is a paper thin sheet of dough, which will crumble if it dries out.  Keep direct heat or air, such as a fan, out of the kitchen when working with phyllo.  Create a work space, which has plenty of room for a large, rectangular, baking dish – preferably glass.  Defrost the dough, according to the box directions.  In a couple of tablespoons of olive oil sauté spinach and onions, adding garlic, then nutmeg and dill, as well as salt and pepper.   After it is cooked, turn heat very low, and let it dry completely, without burning.  You may still need to drain it, by putting it in a sieve or colander, cover it with a plate, and then weight the plate with a couple of bags of dried beans, or canes of food.  The spinach needs to be very dry, so that your pie is not soggy.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together and again add salt and pepper.  If water has collected in the ricotta, either on top or the sides, then drain the cheese in a fine sieve, and add to the eggs and milk, mixing well.  Once the spinach has drained and cooled completely, mix it with the egg mixture, and add the feta.

In the microwave oven, in a small, covered bowl, melt butter, and then add equal parts of olive oil.  You will need a pastry brush, for this part.  The butter is what makes your pie layers crispy.  First, brush the bottom and sides of the glass dish. Then prepare your dough.

Start with three clean, cotton dish towels.  The first you need to lay down on the counter, and sprinkle lightly with cold water, it should be moist, not wet.  On top of the dish towel, add a sheet of wax paper, on top of the wax paper, lay out the stack of phyllo sheets.  Do not worry about messing up the first few sheets; this is a skill which takes practice to master.  Just put the damaged sheets aside, under the second towel.  Lay the first sheet down, into the buttered dish, and then brush it, covering it completely, with the butter and oil mixture.  As you remove that first sheet, cover the other sheets up with a sheet of wax paper, and the second moist towel.   Repeat this for another five sheets.  Then, pour the spinach cheese mixture, into the baking dish, and spread it out, to cover the pan.  Now, begin to add phyllo sheets again, making sure to butter each sheet in between.

After you have added the top layer, you can try to tuck in the edges, if it does not work, do not worry.  I also will take an extra sheet, per side, and roll them up, tucking them into each side, to make a frame for the pie, make sure you butter those additions.  With a sharp knife, make a couple of slits, for the steam to escape.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until it puffs up, and is golden brown.  Serve it with a Greek salad and crusty bread and butter, for a complete meal, or as a side dish with grilled meats.  It is great as a leftover, and is good hot or at room temperature.


You can add ½ to 1 pound of ground beef, fried, seasoned with oregano, basil, salt, and pepper to the cheese mixture.  Omitting spinach or keeping it in the pie, both are equally good.

Also, you can also make a cheese pie by omitting spinach and adding ½ cup of mozzarella or jack cheese.

Kasseri cheese is a favorite, it can be expensive and difficult to find, but very much worth the effort; if you so choose you can add anywhere from a quarter cup to a cup to brighten up the pie, giving it a stronger and richer flavor.

2 Responses to Food

  1. Food | ThatIsAllForNow on March 26, 2018 at 10:40 pm
  2. Food on March 26, 2018 at 10:43 pm


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