Garden Lifestyle

Savory Spanakopita

This version of spanakopita is packed full of flavor—it is delicious—as well as being good for you.

  • Click on the photos at left to enlarge them.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Sauté the onion in olive oil over moderate heat.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Wash and dry the greens, and remove any large stems.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Add the leaves to the onion.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Cook until the greens are wilted.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger
  • Cutting into diamonds before baking makes for a neater presentation.
    Photo/Illustration: Susan Belsinger

Ingredients:

2 pounds of fresh greens: spinach, chard, kale, dandelion, nettle, mustard, beet greens
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced fine
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh Greek oregano leaves, minced, or 2 teaspoons dried crumbled Greek oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 extra-large eggs
About 10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 box whole-wheat filo, thawed
About 2/3 cup olive oil

This version of spanakopita is packed full of flavor—it is delicious—as well as being good for you. Whole-wheat phyllo or filo can be found in the freezer section of your health food store. If you haven’t worked with filo it isn’t hard, you just sort of get the technique as you go along, it doesn’t have to be perfect since it will be covered up. Instead of just spinach, I favor a mix of greens for superior taste—use a combination of two or three—just remove any big stems and reserve them for another use. Greek oregano is very pungent and works well in this dish. I also add a few eggs to bind the filling, which gives it a bit of a quiche-like richness. Rather than use butter on the filo, I prefer to work with olive oil and like the flavor better. You will love the savoriness of this spanakopita.

Serves 6 to 12

Brush a 9 x 13-inch pan with olive oil. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Wash and dry the greens and remove the large stems. Rough chop the greens and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, sauté the onion in 3 tablespoons olive oil over moderate heat, for about 5 minutes. Add the greens a few handfuls at a time and stir, cover and cook until the greens are wilted, stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 10 minutes. When the greens are wilted, add the garlic and oregano, season generously with salt and pepper, stir, cover, and remove from heat.

In a bowl, beat the eggs. Crumble the feta into the eggs and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Remove the lid from the greens so they cool a bit.

Unwrap the filo, unfold it and keep it covered with a slightly damp towel.

Working carefully with one filo sheet at a time, fold each sheet in half and brush the top of each sheet lightly with the olive oil. I find it easier to place the filo in the pan and then brush it with the oil rather than brushing it and trying to move it. Place the first sheet in the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Repeat with the filo, using about 5 or 6 more sheets, arranging the filo so that it covers the bottom of the pan and overlaps the sides by 2 or 3-inches. It will take 4 sheets to partially cover the bottom and overlap all 4 sides. Add another layer or two to cover the bottom.

Toss the greens with the egg and cheese mixture. Spread this mixture evenly into the filo-lined pan. Repeat brushing about 3 or 4 folded sheets of filo and place them on top. Fold the overlapping sides of the filo over the top to make a finished package. Brush once more with a little oil.

Cut into triangles or diamond shapes before baking. (If you wait to cut the spanakopita until after it is baked it will be difficult and the filo will flake into many pieces and look very messy.) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the spanakopita is golden brown.

Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Read more about oregano…

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