Spanakopita and Tiropetes with phyllo or puff pastry

These Greek spinach and cheese pies have a complex taste: sharp bite of feta, green spinach, explosion of herbs: mint, dill, oregano, basil, garlic, and green onion, wrapped in a crispy filo dough or buttery puff pastry. My recipe was inspired by my Greek-American friend Margret’s delicious version.

You can make these traditionally with flaky phyllo (filo) dough. I use olive oil spray on the phyllo instead of spreading oil or butter with a pastry brush, to cut down on the fat. I also make tiropetes, which are phyllo filled with feta and ricotta cheese. They are great for breakfast.

On the other end of the calorie range, I recently tried these at a Greek restaurant made from puff pastry. They were rich and delicious! So I made them at home. It’s much less fuss than phyllo, although it has quite a few more fat and calories from the buttery pastry.

Makes 3 logs (about 18 triangles) of phyllo wrapped spanakopita or 8 triangles of puff pastry spanakopita

3/4  package defrosted phyllo dough OR 1 package (2 sheets) puff pastry (defrost for only 10 minutes at room temperature)

Olive oil spray for phyllo dough

Spinach filling: You can make this a day ahead of time.

2 heads fresh spinach, well washed, stems removed and chopped (use a food processor to chop it) OR 1 lb bag of frozen chopped spinach – about 3 cups.

1 tsp olive oil

2 scallions

2 cloves garlic

¼ cup pine nuts

1 Tb finely chopped mint leaves OR 1 tsp dried mint

½ Tb finely chopped fresh dill weed OR ½ tsp dried dill weed

1 Tb finely chopped fresh oregano leaves OR 1 tsp dried oregano

1 Tb finely chopped fresh basil OR 1 tsp dried basil OR 1 cube frozen basil

Several grinds pepper (about ¼ tsp)

1 egg for filling. Another egg if using puff pastry.

6 oz (about 1 cup) crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375’ for filo, or 400’ for puff pastry

Microwave frozen or fresh spinach in a covered casserole bowl about 2 minutes (longer for frozen spinach) until soft. Drain in fine mesh sieve over a bowl.

I place a bowl with a few cans in it on top of the sieve while preparing the other ingredients. Afterward, press on the spinach with a tablespoon for several minutes to squeeze out the liquid. You should have 1 1/2  cups drained spinach.

While spinach is draining, finely mince white and green parts of scallions, garlic, and mint leaves and other fresh herbs, salt and pepper Sauté onion, garlic and pine nuts in olive oil in a heavy skillet. After a couple of minutes, stir in the herbs and heat for another minute.

Finish squeezing the last liquid from the spinach and discard the liquid. Stir the spinach into the onion and herbs.

Beat the first egg and add feta and Parmesan cheeses. Stir in the spinach mixture until well blended.

Tiropetes

1 cup feta cheese

3/4 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1 egg, beaten

2 Tb minced fresh parsley

Mix ingredients together. Spread on puff pastry or phyllo dough as below.

Assembling Puff Pastry (I used Trader Joe’s), cut both sheets in two. Beat the second egg. Using a pastry brush, paint the egg on each piece. Spoon filling o to fill exactly half the pastry, leaving about 1/2 inch border of dough on the edges. Fold the pastry over the filling, then seal the edges with the back of a teaspoon.

Place on a cookie sheet that you have sprayed with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes at 400’ Let cool, then cut in half diagonally, to make triangles.

Phyllo Dough directions:

For phyllo dough pastries: spread one sheet of defrosted dough on a large wooden board or cutting board. Spray olive oil on top. Spread another sheet on top of it and spray and repeat for a 3rd sheet. Spread a 2 inch line of spinach or cheese filling about 3 inches from the edge of the shorter side of the rectangle. Leave a one inch space between the filling and the sides of the phyllo.

Roll the dough up over the filling, then tuck in the sides, and continue rolling until the end. Spray a little of the oil on the edge to seal it. Place the roll seam side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spray a little oil on top of the roll.

Bake at 375’ for 40 minutes until browned.

Let cool, then slice the logs diagonally in each direction into triangle shapes.

Spinach Over Easy

Fresh spinach leaves fried with eggs over easy. Fresh chives add flavor to this easy breakfast treat.

Serves 2

4 chives, chopped

about ½ tsp butter

4 large eggs

2 cups fresh spinach leaves, stems removed

1 Tb feta cheese (optional)

I warm the eggs in hot tap water so the yolks won’t be cold in eggs over easy. Fill a large bowl with hot tap water. Place eggs in the water to warm them while preparing the rest of the ingredients. Pick through spinach leaves, removing stems. Chop the chives. Heat a nonstick skillet. Rub a butter stick over the hot pan until it is coated with about ¼ tsp butter. Lower heat to medium. Add chives and sauté for a minute. Crack eggs into pan, add spinach, and crumbled feta, if using. Cook for about a minute, then gently turn eggs over and making sure spinach wilts. Cook another minute, or until whites are mostly cooked and yolks are mostly loose. Serve with toast on the side.

Green Eggs and Ham

Perfect to serve to Sam-I-am on Dr. Suess’s birthday, March 2.

serves 2

1 cup whole kale leaves, stems and ribs removed

1 cup spinach leaves , stems removed

1 scallion

1 tsp fresh thyme

4 eggs whipped well

2 Tb milk

2 Tb crumbled feta cheese

1 Tb grated Parmesan cheese

shake salt to taste

grind pepper

Wash all vegetables and mince finely in food processor.

Heat nonstick skillet. Holding butter stick, grease pan, using approx. ¼ tsp butter. Add minced vegetables and sauté over medium heat for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whip eggs with milk, salt and pepper, and cheeses. Mix  vegetables into eggs. Clean pan and fry up ham slices. Remove ham and coat pan with butter again, then add egg mixture. Push eggs around with spatula so they don’t brown. Cook over medium heat until desired consistency is reached. Serve with ham to Sam-I-am

Say! I like green eggs and ham!
I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat.
And I would eat them with a goat,

And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good, you see!

So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!

I do so like
green eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,
Sam-I-am!

by Dr. Seuss

Raspberry-Pecan Salad

This easy salad combines some of my favorite foods: fresh raspberries, pecans and feta cheese. I like to use Bulgarian sheep’s milk feta.

Fill each salad bowl with about 2 cups baby spinach or butter lettuce. Toss with about 2 Tb Raspberry vinaigrette. For each serving, add  a handful of  fresh raspberries (about 10), ¼ cup chopped pecans, and 2 Tb crumbled feta cheese.


Nutritional Info for salad only (made with spinach)

  • Servings Per Recipe: 1
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 278.2
  • Total Fat: 25.7 g
  • Cholesterol: 16.7 mg
  • Sodium: 256.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 9.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 5.5 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g