On the way home I ate two or three of the still warm spinach and feta pastries, small like a toddler’s fist, wondering if I could live on spinach pie and honey cookies alone, crumbs of phyllo dough blowing behind me like walleye. confetti.
It’s no big secret that I don’t feature a lot of meat in this column. I grew up eating it pretty much every meal – bacon for breakfast, ham sandwiches for lunch, arroz con pollo for dinner – but that’s not how I eat anymore. A lifetime of learning about the world around me, how others eat, what feels good in my body and what is best for the planet has changed my diet. Maybe it changed yours too?
To that end, I always try to suggest other ways to make recipes, both for those with dietary restrictions and for others like me who might be moving towards a more plant-based diet.
Tonight’s dinner is an open spanakopita pie, in honor of Lydia’s pastries. It has a pretty traditional spinach and feta filling. But, like most recipes I write about, it’s fully adaptable. Here’s how you can change it.
The garnish here calls for scallions and baby spinach, but the markets are absolutely overflowing where I am now with all kinds of leafy green stuff peeking out in baskets and stacked neatly on folding tables. (Isn’t this season beautiful?) If so are you, put them to good use!
I made this pie entirely with parsley, chives, cilantro and dill – it had real kuku sabzi vibes – and once used radish and beetroot tops, well chopped, plus a tablespoon of dried basil. I’ve heard from readers who can’t eat onions or garlic, and if that’s the case for you, skip the scallions. Almost any type of dark, leafy green works, but if you’re using something stronger than spinach – I’m looking at you, chard, kale, and collard greens – cut the ribs thick and chop them well before you go. blow them up.
If you don’t have phyllo dough or are gluten-free, you can certainly bake the filling in a greased pie dish and serve it as a crustless quiche instead.
Sheep’s milk feta is traditional in spanakopita, but any salty, crumbly, or grated cheese, including the vegan type, is excellent here. Think: cotija, goat, extra sharp white cheddar, paneer or pecorino. (You can also skip the cheese, if you like.) The breadcrumbs retain the extra moisture from the greens, or use cooked rice or another grain instead.
Finally, the eggs help keep the filling together, but you can use an egg substitute, or sauté them, if you don’t mind a softer pie. It will always be beautiful, shiny like ruffled taffeta, full of the greenest produce on earth, a little salty, a little creamy, and just the way you like it.
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 bunch (about 4 ounces) green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 10 ounces (8-10 cups) baby spinach
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces phyllo dough, about half a can, thawed
- 1 bunch of fresh dill or parsley leaves and tender stems, chopped
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 5 ounces of feta, crumbled
- 1/8 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 3 large eggs, well beaten
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until they shine. Add the green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 1 minute. Add the spinach and salt and cook until the spinach wilts, releases its liquid and is dry, about 5 minutes. Scrape the spinach into a large bowl and let cool while you prepare the crust.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Brush a 9-inch pie plate with olive oil.
Roll out the phyllo dough on a clean, dry work surface. Working quickly, gently brush the top sheet of phyllo dough with a little oil. It is not necessary to oil every place; the oil will spread as you work. Take the first three or four sheets of phyllo dough in a stack and place them, oil side up, in the pan, letting one narrow end cover the bottom of the pan and the other end to climb up the side of the pan. pie plate and hang over the edge.
Repeat, brushing the top of the remaining stack of phyllo sheets and placing the next three or four sheets in the pan, oil side up. Continue to oil and insert the oiled phyllo dough into the pie plate, turning the pan so that the bottom is covered and a roughly equal amount of phyllo dough hangs around the circumference of the pie plate. . It won’t look perfect; if the phyllo dough tears, seal it and continue. Once the pie dish is lined, lightly oil its surface then set aside.
Add the dill or parsley, breadcrumbs, feta and black pepper to the cooled spinach, stirring to combine. Then add the eggs, mixing well to combine. Pour the filling into the phyllo-lined pie plate and, using your fingers, crumple the phyllo overhang partially on top of the pie, leaving a 5-6 inch diameter in the center exposed. The more crumpled the top, the more beautiful it will be when baked, so don’t worry about making this look neat.
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until filling is set and dough is dark brown in spots, like the color of an almond skin. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Per serving (based on 6): Calories: 304; Total fat: 14 g; Saturated fat: 6 g; Sodium: 676 mg; Carbohydrates: 32 g; Dietary fiber: 3 g; Sugars: 2 g; Proteins: 11 g.
Recipe by the writer G. Daniela Galarza