A Savory Greek Pie – Spanakopita

by Renee on April 5, 2012

Spanakopita

Have you been surprised by someone lately? I certainly have been. A typical evening of going out to dinner with friends turned into an evening filled with surprises, one right after another. I saw a side of a person I had never seen before. I have known this person for over 25 years. He is very quiet and reserved. When we dine out it is usually somewhere that fits with his very restrictive diet (no spices, dairy, sauces, etc). When he suggested the restaurant, I could tell it was Greek by the name and I figured it must have a good seafood selection or something appealing to his preferences.

A Greek restaurant it was for sure. Seafood selection? Minimal. Tasty Greek food? Check. As I am reading over the wine list (first priority) I see an explosion of napkins off to side. “Opa!” yelled the waiters. More napkins flying. “Opa!”. For any reason whatsoever the restaurant staff will throw piles of napkins onto tables filled with diners. Fun. Then the belly dancers started. The music was loud and people started dancing on the tables. It was crazy and exciting to watch.

My friend ordered a meal full of spices. We ordered several appetizers and he ate some of them all. I ordered Greek wine for us and he had more than his usual one glass. Then the restaurant started a Greek line/conga dance of some sort. My friend jumped up and joined in the line. Yes, Mr. Quiet and Reserved was Greek dancing around the restaurant. He ate desserts with butter and cream in them. It was one surprise right after the other. It was also inspiring. It is proof of how anyone can take a new direction at any time. No matter how well or how long you know someone they can always surprise you. It is refreshing and exhilarating to see it happen.

I am sharing this Spanakopita recipe to celebrate the evening. It also is for today’s Holiday Recipe Club Easter event. The HRC requirements include using one or more of three ingredients and this time they are eggs, spinach, and carrots. Both eggs and spinach are in Spanakopita, or Spank-O-Pita as my husband called it. The original recipe came from Chris on The Keenan Cookbook. As soon as I saw the post back in February I knew I had to make it. I was hooked as soon as I saw phyllo. I adapted the recipe by adding some ingredients and doubling the spinach.

Freshly Baked Phyllo on top of Spanakopita

Have you done anything new or different lately? Step out of the usual routine and surprise your friends. Pass on the fun of new discoveries and add freshness to both your and someone else’s life. My friend did that for me and I am so grateful.

Are you a food blogger? If you would like to participate in the next Holiday Recipe Club blog hop, go to the HRC website for more information. Thank you Erin, @BigFatBaker, for inviting me to participate in this event.

Please take the time to visit the other posts with wonderful recipes by Holiday Recipe Club bloggers. Just click on the links below. (If you are reading this in an email or RSS reader you will need to go to the post on my site to see the links to the other blogs).

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Spanakopita

Spanakopita

  • 1 package phyllo pastry, at room temperature
  • 2 9-ounce packages chopped frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 small garlic clove, chopped
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 16-ounce carton cottage cheese
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 X 9 X 2-inch baking dish and set aside. Using a tea towel, drain and squeeze excess liquid from spinach and set aside.

In a saute or frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic to pan and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, add eggs, spinach, feta, cottage cheese, and onions. Stir until combined.

Unroll the phyllo pastry and cover with a slightly damp tea towel to keep it from drying out. Lay 2 sheets of phyllo pastry in the baking dish and brush lightly with melted butter. Continue layering 2 sheets of phyllo pastry and butter until you have 10 sheets layered.

Spread spinach mixture over phyllo pastry. Brush with butter and repeat layering until you have 10 sheets layered. Brush top layer with butter.

Using a sharp knife, carefully pre-cut into rectangles or triangles (you do not need to cut completely through).

Bake for 40 minutes or until browned.

Allow to cool slightly before serving. Keep uncovered or the crust will get soggy.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Veronica April 5, 2012 at 6:08 am

Aw, what a great story! I love it when people surprise me too, as long is it’s something good like this. Some surprises I could do without-lol! I’ve heard of Spanikopita but never tried it–this is something I will have to make at home b/c I don’t even think any restaurants around here make it! It seems very easy and looks perfect for brunch. Yum!

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Thank you Veronica. It was a fun night and I agree about good surprises. We just try to forget the not-so-good ones.

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Jen @ Juanita's Cocina April 5, 2012 at 6:48 am

YUM Renee. This is one of my faves at any Greek restaurant and you have made it so easy to recreate at home!

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Thanks Jen! It was so good I ate it for days. It re-heats nicely. Just get it to room temperature and them warm in the oven at 375 for about 15 minutes.

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Liz April 5, 2012 at 7:03 am

Perfect spanakopita, Renee…I haven’t made this in years, but you’ve inspired me. So happy to be in the SRC with you~

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I’m glad you are a part of the HRC too. I am enjoying your recipes (and the other bloggers too). It is a great group.

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Chris @ TheKeenanCookbook April 5, 2012 at 8:01 am

So glad you tried our Spank-o-pita! Sounds like dinner at the restaurant was quite the event :)

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Like I said, as soon as I saw your post I had to make it. Now it is something I will make again and again. It is so very good.

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Pam @ The Meltaways April 5, 2012 at 9:02 am

I Love Spanakopita! I haven’t made it in forever and now I am wanting some right now! Sounds like you had a blast with your friend. Its always fun to get a surprise. : ) Happy Easter!

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Happy Easter to you Pam! If I could send you some over the internet I would. I guess you will have to make it soon to satisfy your craving.

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amy @ fearless homemaker April 5, 2012 at 9:35 am

yum! i love spanikopita but have never tried making it at home. will have to give it a try! =) and what a fun story about your friend kickin’ up his heels at the restaurant!

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Thanks Amy! It was such a fun night. You should make it. My husband really liked it and he does not care for feta or cottage cheese. It was another good surprise.

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Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts April 5, 2012 at 11:07 am

My husband loves spanikopita, but I have never thought of making it at home. This looks wonderful! Sounds like a fun and eventful dinner!

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Thank you Erin! It was quite an evening for sure. I still get a big smile every time I think about it.

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Erin April 5, 2012 at 11:57 am

The flaky top is gorgeous

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Thanks! I had to take and post a photo of the phyllo. It looked so good. Thin and crispy – yum!

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Rhonda April 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I want to go to that restaurant and do the Greek conga…but then again, I’m not very reserved. I have made spanakopita many times before, rolling up little triangles..tedious. But from now on, when I get the hankering I’m going to make it like a pie!

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm

I have not tried making the little triangles. I might do that for appetizers since it would be a good finger food. For now though I like the pie version.

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Teri @ The Freshman Cook April 5, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Love spanakopita! This is a great recipe. I have never had this is pie form. Can’t wait to try!

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Renee April 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Thanks Teri!

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BigFatBaker April 5, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Renee, I am so impressed with your spanakopita! I have never attempted to make this before, but you have inspired me. It’s one of my favorite greek dishes but I bet having it homemade is so much better. Great job!!

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Renee April 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Thank you Erin! It is so good homemade. I don’t know if I will order it out anymore…but perhaps to check out other versions. So yummy.

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Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers April 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Wonderful recipe! I always wanted to learn how to make spanakopita!

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Renee April 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Thank you Jennifer. I have enjoyed spanakopita for a long time now. I have usually had the triangle/appetizer version. I do like this version better although I want to attempt the triangles at some point in time too.

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Eliot April 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

What a great time. It is funny that just when we think we know someone, they do something wild and crazy and throw us for a loop! What a wonderful post for HRC!

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Renee April 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Thank Eliot!

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After Taste April 8, 2012 at 8:57 pm

Loving this recipe. An absolute favourite of mine and something I can rarely pass up.

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Renee April 9, 2012 at 11:59 am

I already have a request from a friend for me to make another one. I cannot wait. I could not get enough of this one.

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ATasteOfMadness April 9, 2012 at 12:41 am

Spanakopita is my favorite. Every time I’m at a Greek restaurant, I always order it. I havn’t made it myself yet, but I’m sure going to try!

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Renee April 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I am the same way. I have to order it when I am at a Greek restaurant. But since there are not many of them close to my home then I can make this whenever I get a craving.

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