Spanakopita (Greek Savory Greens Pie) Recipe

For a twist on the classic, this version of traditional Greek spanakopita uses an assortment of greens and tender herbs in addition to spinach.

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Photograph: Vicky Wasik

Why It Works

  • Massaging the greens and combining them with warm sautéed aromatics wilts them sufficiently, eliminating the need for precooking.
  • Gently folding crumbled feta into the greens leaves large curds running through the pie.
  • Trahanas (or rice, barley, or couscous) in the filling absorbs moisture from the greens as they cook in the oven, keeping the phyllo crisp.
  • Cutting the pie into portions before baking ensures clean slices.

Spanakopita is a traditional Greek savory pie wrapped in flaky layers of crisp phyllo and filled with spinach and salty feta. For a twist on the classic, this version uses an assortment of greens and tender herbs in addition to spinach.

Feel free to mix and match whatever quick-cooking greens you have on hand—we recommend a combination of spinach, watercress, Swiss chard, and arugula, but as long as you avoid hearty greens, like kale and collards, any mix can work in this pie. If you prefer to keep things traditional, this recipe works with all fresh spinach as well.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Makes: 1 pie

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Ingredients

  • 8 cups chopped mixed greens and tender stems, gently packed (about 12 1/2 ounces; 350g), such as spinach, watercress, arugula, and Swiss chard
  • 1 cup chopped mixed tender herbs and tender stems (about 2 ounces; 60g), such as dill, parsley, chervil, and chives
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (2 ounces; 50g), plus more
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 sliced scallions, both white and green parts (about 2 ounces; 60g)
  • 2 cloves (10g) garlic, sliced
  • 2/3 cup trahanas (3 ounces; 90g); rice, barley, or couscous can substitute (see note)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 pound (226g) Greek feta, crumbled
  • 6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed

Directions

  1. Getting Started: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Brush a 9-inch glass pie plate (either deep-dish or standard size will work with this recipe) generously with olive oil and set on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

  2. For the Filling: In a large bowl, combine chopped greens, chopped herbs, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Massage together to gently wilt the greens, then set aside.

  3. In a small sauté pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, scallions, and garlic and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the hot mixture to the greens and combine to further wilt the vegetables. Add the trahanas (or your substitute of choice) and egg and thoroughly combine. Once everything is well mixed, fold in the crumbled feta.

  4. To Assemble the Pie: Unroll thawed phyllo and keep it covered with a moist kitchen towel while working. Working with 1 sheet at a time, lay phyllo so that it is centered in the pie pan with the excess draping over the rim and brush generously with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Repeat with 3 more sheets of phyllo, each sheet placed perpendicular to the previous one, brushing with olive oil before adding the next.

  5. Add greens mixture to phyllo-lined pie. Fold excess phyllo over greens and drape remaining 2 sheets of phyllo over the top. Drizzle with more olive oil. Slice into portions using a serrated knife. Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Special equipment

Glass pie plate, rimmed baking sheet, pastry brush

Notes

Trahanas is a type of pasta made from fermented dairy and grain. It is traditionally used in Greek cuisine for thickening soups or to absorb moisture from the greens in spanakopita. An equal amount of rice, barley, or couscous can be used in its place.

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