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Dine In: Spanakopita

SpanakopitaOne recent Friday night, I wrote about dolmadakia – Greek stuffed grape leaves.

Well, this weather must remind me of a Friday night on the Mediterranean, because I still have Greek food on the brain.

Spanakopita is a very authentic Greek pie stuffed with spinach, cheeses, onions and herbs, wrapped in phyllo dough.

Phyllo dough is stuff of the Greek gods themselves. A light, flaky pastry, it literally melts in your mouth. You could make your own, but I don’t advise it, not when it’s so easy to buy – and sometimes more delicious – in the freezer section of your Brookshire’s, near the frozen pie crusts.

While I’ve never been to Greece (a trip there tops my list of places to visit), I’ve spent a lot of time on the Mediterranean and long to return. The cuisine is fresh, light and flavorful. Try this on a Friday night to transport you to an ancient civilization.

Serves 5

1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs spinach, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough

Preheat oven to 350º F (175º C). Lightly oil a 9 x 9 square baking pan.

Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to sauté until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta and feta. Stir in spinach mixture. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough to cover filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 528, Fat: 38 g, Cholesterol: 123 mg, Sodium: 952 mg, Carbohydrates: 33 g, Fiber: 7 g, Protein: 21 g

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