This Greek spinach pie makes a great meat-free option. Serve as a main dish, an accompaniment, or as finger food.
Spanakopita traditionally includes spinach, we’ve added watercress for a peppery kick. Feel free to use all spinach or rocket instead. If you have any spinach left over, take a look at our other spinach recipes.
There’s so much spinach in each slice. This is great as spinach is a brilliant source of iron, vitamin C and vitamin K – important for bone health. Feta cheese is a traditional Greek ingredient and a key part of a spanakopita. It holds its shape well when baked so gives a lovely texture. Feta is also high in calcium and B12 and contains less fat than Cheddar and other hard cheeses.
This recipe, although a little time consuming, is incredibly simple. It's great as part of a main meal with salad or as a picnic food. It can be eaten hot or cold.
We’ve made our spanakopita in a round shallow casserole dish. It can also be made in a roasting tin and cut in to squares – large or small – depending on the occasion.
- 520g spinach
- 80g watercress
- 200g feta cheese, crumbled
- 4 shallots, finely diced
- 2 large eggs
- small handful dill, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1⁄2tsp nutmeg
- 12 sheets filo pastry
- 75g butter, melted
- 50g Parmesan, grated
- 2tbsp sesame seeds
You will need:
- 30cm shallow casserole dish or medium roasting tin, buttered
- Heat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Put the spinach and watercress in a microwaveable bowl with 3tbsp water and microwave until the spinach has wilted. Remove and drain, then squeeze out as much liquid as possible, using the back of a spoon. Transfer the mix to a tea towel and remove any excess water. Then put in a large bowl and stir in the feta, shallots, eggs, dill, garlic, lemon zest and nutmeg, plus salt and pepper.
- Lay a sheet of filo pastry on top of the buttered dish, butter and lay another sheet on top. Repeat until you have 6 sheets of filo on the base.Spread the filling over the filo, leaving a 0.5cm gap around the edge. Lay a sheet of pastry on top, brush with butter and sprinkle with 1tbsp grated Parmesan. Lay another sheet of filo on top and repeat the process until you have 6 stacked sheets of filo. Using the palm of your hand, press down the layers. With a knife, score through the top 3 layers of filo pastry into 8 slices. Brush with butter and sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until golden.
Top Tip for making Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie)
You could also use chopped frozen spinach, just make sure it’s well thawed and as much liquid is removed as possible
After leaving university with a BSc in Food from the University of Birmingham, Samuel embarked on a career in teaching; he taught cookery to teenagers at secondary school level. At the weekends, he worked as a sous chef and assisted on food photography shoots during the holidays.
After 8 years as a teacher, he decided to concentrate fully on food writing. Nearly 15 years after he began his professional food career, his work has featured in national and international publications including Waitrose Food, Australian Delicious, and the LAD Bible Group. Samuel was also a nutritional consultant for BBC’s Eat Well for Less. Throughout his career he has specialised in recipe writing and he still loves to teach people how to cook (although he’s not quite as patient as he used to be!).
After travelling Europe searching for the best coffee shops, he landed the perfect role working across woman&home, Woman’s Weekly, Country Homes & Interiors, Livingetc, Homes & Gardens and GoodtoKnow. Along with the Test Kitchen team, he produces recipes and looks after the content for these magazines and websites and others in the Future portfolio.
Away from Future, Samuel is also Co-Vice Chair of the Guild of Food Writers and a Trustee of 91 Ways CIC. He can usually be found binge-watching TV shows, wandering a museum or escaping the city for greener and sunnier climates. He also dreams of buying a run-down Italian villa and turning it into a cookery school in the sun.
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