Spanakopita spiral with spinach and feta
A tasty spinach and feta cheese pie with crunchy filo pastry that will make even the fussiest eaters enjoy spinach. This authentic spanakopita spiral recipe has been passed down through generations of a Greek family and is a classic Greek dish great for meals or sides.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 spiral pie
Spinach and feta filling
- 3 leeks white parts diced
- 600 grams fresh spinach leaves washed
- 150 grams Greek feta cheese
- 60 grams fresh dill
- ½ lemon juiced
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 250 gram packet filo pastry
- 5 tbsp olive oil 90 mls
- sesame seeds optional
- Ceramic round quiche dish about 25 cm/9 inch diameter
- Pastry brush
Spinach and feta cheese filling
This step is optional but it softens the spinach and removes a lot of the water from the leaves: About 30 minutes before starting, wash the spinach leaves and place them in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and make sure the leaves are covered with it. Leave for 30 minutes.At the end of the 30 minutes, take the leaves, rinse the salt off and ring them dry with your hands or in a cotton kitchen cloth. Drain the water from the leaves as well as you can and pat them dry at the end.
When the spinach is ready, take a large saucepan and add the 2 tablespoons olive oil over a low heat.
Add the diced leeks (white parts only) to the saucepan. Sautee for a few minutes until they are soft and yellow.
Add in the washed spinach leaves a handful at a time until they collapse into the saucepan, followed by the dill. Simmer for 15 minutes.
If you didn’t drain the spinach leaves in the earlier step, there may be a lot of excess water in the mixture at the end of the simmering time. If this is the case, drain some liquid from the saucepan until the mixture is moist but not too wet. You shouldn’t be able to see any pools of water in the mixture, so if you can, spoon those off.
After you’ve drained the mixture to the right consistency and removed it from the heat, add in the juice of half a lemon and the egg and stir. You do not need to cook it further in the saucepan.
Crumble your feta cheese into a large mixing bowl. You can either do this by mixing it in a blender for a minute, or by mashing the feta cheese with a fork. It should be crumbled into small balls about ½ cm in size without any large chunks in it.
Empty your spinach mixture into the bowl of crumbled feta cheese and it stir well until everything is combined. Set it aside. Your spinach and feta filling is ready.
Make the spanakopita spiral:
Take a round oven dish and grease it well with butter or oil spray. Ceramic dishes work best as they mean that you can keep the pie in the dish when serving it.
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan setting. Clear some space on your worktop and get your filo pastry ready.
Remove one sheet of filo pastry at a time and lay it out on a clean worktop with the long end in front of you. Keep the remaining filo sheets rolled up and cover them with a slightly damp kitchen cloth to prevent them drying out. Filo dries out very quickly and if this happens you can’t use them.
Place 5 tablespoons of oil in a small bowl next to you with a pastry brush. Brush your first filo sheet with a light layer of olive oil.
Take a tablespoon of your spinach and feta cheese mixture and spread it out along the long end of the filo pastry sheet. You want it to be about 2 cm thick so that there is enough to fill the coil, but not so much that it’s packed full and can’t bend. You need to be able to roll it up into a spiral later on. Leave 1-2 cm at each end with no filling.
Roll the filo pastry sheet tightly around the filling and continue rolling until you get to the end. You should now have a long round tube of filo pastry filled with spinach.
Coil the tube up to make a tight spiral and place it in the middle of your baking dish. This is your first coil which is the start of your spiral. Your other ‘coils’ will move out from that first one.
Repeat the process with the remaining sheets of filo pastry and spinach filling, working out from your first coil until the oven dish is full.
Brush the top of your spinach pie with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
Cook the spanakopita spiral on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Remove and enjoy while warm!