Spanakotiropita is one of the most famous Greek 🇬🇷 pies and a very popular breakfast/lunch street-food. Filled with greens and/or feta cheese with crispy phyllo, swirled or leveled, hot or cold, this vegetarian-friendly pie is a hearty delicious dish.
Savory pie making is typical in Greece since the ancient times 🏺. Pies were originally a food for the shepherds and farmers 👩🏻🌾 to take with them on their journeys in the mountains ⛰️ and farms. Made with the simplest of ingredients and what was available at the time, pies are a traditional delicacy. The most popular spanakotiropita is made in the region of Epirus.
🤔 What is spanakotiropita?
A popular savory Greek pie made with phyllo pastry, and filled always with spinach (dah, it's a spinach pie 😆), herbs, and other greens. Feta cheese is also added in the mixture. Hence the name spanakotiropita, which literally means spinach cheese pie.
Spinach: The earthy, almost sweet leaves of fresh spinach, provide a unique flavor to the pie. Use it by itself or with other greens, like cavolo nero, endives, or chard, to add an extra depth of flavor. Spinach is rich in iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A.
Feta cheese: Use authentic Greek feta cheese (not Greek style) to get the best result.
Eggs: Use organic eggs 🥚 to get the best quality. Eggs act as a binding agent and help to achieve the right texture.
Phyllo dough: I often make my own phyllo dough, which is the village-style type. It is a little bit thicker and more rustic. I've learnt the recipe from my grandmother. If you are looking for an easier and quicker solution, use store bought phyllo dough (e.g. baklava phyllo).
Herbs: Dill is the most typical herb, but spearmint or mint are also used. All of them provide exceptional taste and aroma to the pie.
Onions: A combination of red onions 🧅 and spring onions is the most common for spanakotiropita. Another variation is using leeks instead of onions, for their sweeter taste.
Spices: Salt 🧂 and pepper are commonly used, and sometimes paprika powder and nutmeg are also added.
Olive oil or butter: To add in the filling and brush the phyllo dough. The choice depends on what flavor you want. When using butter, prefer the clarified one to achieve a more intense flavor.
👩🏻🍳 Tips & tricks
Fresh spinach is always better than frozen. Fresh spinach has less water, and that makes the pie crispier.
Drizzle the phyllo with olive oil rather than brushing it, to make it crunchier.
Ensure that you have drained excess liquid out of spinach. Saute spinach, onions, and greens, and drain them before mixing the rest of the filling ingredients.
Make spanakopitoripa ahead of time and refrigerate over night before baking it.
I don't recommend reheating spanakotiropita in the microwave because the phyllo becomes soggy. Heat it in the oven for ~ 10 minutes at 160°C (320°F), or in a panini grill.
Let the pie slightly cool before serving it. That makes both cutting and serving it easier.
Serve spanakotiropita as breakfast, snack, lunch, or even dinner!
🥡 How to store
Store spanakotiropita after completely cooled in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days.
Freeze spanakotiropita after completely cooled in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months. Place parchment paper between the pieces to defrost individual pieces easier.
Greek Swirl Spinach and Cheese Pie (spanakotiropita)
- 400 g/3 ¼ cups hard or all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon sea salt
- 220 ml/0.9 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon/15ml white wine vinegar
- 60 ml/ ¼cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoon/45ml vegetable oil
- 600 g/21.1oz fresh or frozen spinach
- 2 tablespoon/30ml olive oil
- 1 leek finely chopped
- 4 spring onions coarsely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh spearmint finely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh mint finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon fresh dill finely chopped
- 300 g/10.6oz feta cheese crumbled
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium egg white
- semolina or flour
- oil for the phyllo
- 3 tablespoon milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon sweet parpika powder (optional)
For the dough
- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and the salt and mix.
- Make a well in the middle and pour the olive oil, vinegar, and warm water.
- Use a mixer with a hook to mix the dough for 8 to 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and cut it into 4 equal parts.
- Roll them into balls and coat all of them with the vegetable oil.
- Let them rest for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling
- Wash your spinach leaves thoroughly if the spinach is fresh.
- Place a nonstick pan over medium/high heat and add the olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add the spring onions and leek and saute until soft.
- Add the spinach and saute until all the liquid evaporates from the pan.
- Remove from the heat and add the spearmint, mint, dill, salt, freshly ground black pepper, feta cheese, and egg white.
- Mix well so that all the ingredients are combined, and the egg white doesn’t cook.
Assemble and bake the pie
- Preheat the oven at 190°C (375°F) and add parchment paper to a baking tray. Set aside.
- When the dough is rested, sprinkle some flour or semolina and place the dough on a working surface.
- Use a rolling pin and roll out gently moving your hands from the center to the sides until the phyllo is a thin sheet.
- If the dough becomes sticky sprinkle more flour on it.
- Using a pastry brush, brush the phyllo with olive oil. Spread ¼ of the filling, and roll it into a cylinder shape.
- Leave ⅓ of the phyllo without filling so that the filling can be coated by the phyllo and doesn’t ooze when baked.
- Create a swirl/snail and place it on the baking tray. Continue with the rest of the dough and filling.
- Wrap each cylinder around the previous one to make a large spiral.
- Whisk the egg yolk and sweet paprika powder(if used) with the milk and brush the top of the finishing pie.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy.
- When ready, remove from the oven and let it cool slightly in a cooling rack.
- Cut into pieces and eat it while still warm.
- Enjoy 🙂
🍋 Nutrition facts
Servings: 1 (193g) | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 6.34g | Trans Fat: 0.008g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 915mg | Potassium: 341mg | Fiber: 3.3g | Sugar: 2.48g | Vitamin A: 7450IU | Vitamin C: 5.8mg | Calcium: 264mg | Iron: 3.92mg