Around the World in 12 Dishes – Simple Spanakopita

by Jen in around the world in 12 dishes,greece,recipe,spanakopita,spinach filling

For January we are happily travelling to sunny Greece for Around the World in 12 Dishes. Today was kind of a grey day, so it was nice to spend some time imagining we were enjoying some sunshine. In our house Greek food is part of our regular repetoire. In fact, my kids LOVE Greek food. By Greek food I mean lemony chicken, rice, greek salad and pitas. We make this dinner about once a week. What I love is how healthy Mediteranean food is and I think what my girls’ love is how simple the flavours are. So, for our exploration of Greece we grabbed some phyllo dough and some spinach and got baking.

Simple Spanakopita
(adapted from Epicurious)

1/2 cup butter (plus 1 tbsp melted butter)
1 shallot, finely chopped
8 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt and pepper
phyllo pastry (thawed)

1. Melt 1/2 cup butter in large saute pan.
2. Saute shallot, until transparent, about 2 minutes.

child making spanakopita filling

3. Wilt spinach in the saute pan, with the butter and shallot.
4. Once the spinach is wilted, remove from the saute pan. Cool spinach in a large baking dish, or on a large baking sheet, placed in the fridge.

spanakopita filling

5. Once cooled either chop the spinach with a knife, or place in a food processor to chop. The spinach should be roughly chopped.
6. Add feta, nutmeg, salt, pepper and lemon juice to the spinach…mix until everything is combined.

Now for the fun part…when working with phyllo dough be sure to cover any dough that you are not working with, with a damp tea towel. The dough will dry out very quickly, so it needs to be kept covered.

1. Melt 1 tbsp of butter and place in a small bowl with a pastry brush.
2. Cut phyllo dough into strips that are approximately 12″ x  3″…we started by cutting about 10 strips…you have enough filling for about 24 triangles.

steps for folding spanakopita

3. Place one strip of dough on the table and brush butter on to the strip.
4. Drop about 1/2 tbsp of filling onto the end of the strip.
5. Fold the strip forward and to the left…creating a triangle and beginning to seal in the filling.

child folding spanakopita

6. Repeat the folding to alternating sides until you reach the end of the strip of dough. My daughter pretended she was folding a flag. Over and over until you reach the end.

baked spanakopita

7. Place the triangles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake in a 375F oven for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown.

What a great food for kids to make. My daughter really enjoyed folding them up. When they were done baking we enjoyed eating these tasty handheld treats. We placed a few unbaked triangles onto a baking sheet and froze them. Once they were frozen we placed them in a freezer safe bag and pulled them out and baked them as an after school treat. We just had to bake them for a few minutes longer than the ones we baked from fresh. They were just as delicious baked from frozen.

Have you been following along with Around the World in 12 Dishes? Be sure to check out all the other co-hosts amazing dishes and activities around Greece.

Don’t forget you can print out your very own Greece passport page filled with interesting facts and Greece placemat for your kids to colour and play with. If you have created a post about the country Greece we would love for you to link up to our linky below or come share your story on the Around the World in 12 Dishes Facebook page. We can’t wait to see what you have been eating and learning about the world.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Valerie GlitteringMuffins January 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Love that it’s a hand food! And so glad the girls enjoyed the making and eating :) Thanks for participating again.


Becky January 16, 2013 at 12:51 pm

Thank you so much for posting this- I have the ingredients and might try to make it this week:).


Leanna @ Alldonemonkey January 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Looks great, excited to give it a try!


Terri Thompson January 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Yum! I love spanakopita, but am terrified of working with phyllo. I may need to give it a shot though, because these look yummy!


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