Monday, January 21, 2013

Rustic Chunky Spanakopita (Spinach and Cheese Pie)

Until just a few hours ago, I'd never heard of Meatless Monday. I know I know. What vegetarian hasn't heard of Meatless Monday?! A luddite like me, that's who.

I was over at Veggie Mama's blog drooling over her Roasted Corn Salsa and my eye caught the "linky" thing at the end of the post about the "Meatless Monday" thing.

Hmmm, Meatless Monday. What's that. And what on earth is a linky?

The technical jargon was just too much for me so I sought the wisdom of Veggie Mama herself and she kindly enlightened me. Meatless Monday is a worldwide movement and non-profit initiative to encourage people to reduce their meat consumption by 15%. Blogs like Veggie Mama have got on board with this and provide a tool for other bloggers to share posts of their Meatless Monday meals, which of course must be... meatless!

The classic Greek dish Spanakopita contains no meat. It's a hearty, healthy spinach and cheese pie that goes really well with Greek salad and a cold beer. I have many spanakopita recipes, all of which I will eventually post here on my new-born blog. But today I'd like to share with you my rustic, chunky spanakopita. It uses a combination of onion and shallots in the filling which gives it a lovely earthy sweetness.

Rustic Chunky Spanakopita (Spinach and Cheese Pie)

Makes 6–8 portions


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 or 4 shallots, diced
  • 400g frozen chopped spinach
  • 300g fresh ricotta*
  • 180g Greek feta cheese, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 sheets of thick filo pastry or 6 sheets of regular filo
  • Olive oil for brushing filo
* I make my own ricotta cheese but you can use store bought. Home-made is much creamier and thicker so if using store-bought ricotta, you might need to drain it over some cheese cloth for a few hours. Click here to see the recipe to make your own ricotta.


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Fry the onion and shallots over low heat, stirring occasionally for around 20 minutes, or until golden.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the cheeses, dill, eggs and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well.
  4. Heat the frozen spinach in a saucepan with the lid on. When cooked, strain as much water from the spinach as possible and add the spinach to the cheese mixture. Mix in well by cutting through the mixture with a spatula or fork.
  5. Grease a small to medium but high-sided baking dish with olive oil. Lay one sheet of filo in the dish and brush with olive oil. Make sure there is plenty of pastry hanging over the edges of the dish – this will be used to cover the pie afterwards. If your tray is too large to allow for the overhang, use two sheets of pastry side by side and slightly overlapping each other, to broaden the coverage of pastry.
  6. Repeat with two more sheets (or 4 more if you have a larger dish), brushing between each sheet with olive oil.
  7. Pour cheese and spinach mixture into dish and use overhanging pastry sheets to cover the mixture in a suitably rustic way. Rough as you like really.
  8. Pierce the pastry several times with a knife to allow steam to escape, and bake at 180 degrees celsius for 45 minutes, or until top is golden and crusty.
The pie will appear to rise drastically in the oven, and may even resemble a volcano, but do not fear. It will subside once removed from the heat. And don't worry about any spillage or lava-like markings on the pastry. It all adds to the rustic effect. Results may vary :)


  1. Nothing beats a good spanakopita! I love this version (with a cold beer too!).

    1. Greek food was made for cold beer (or is it the other way around?) I also love to make spanakopita in bite sized triangles, perfect for summer snacking and beer sipping!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by Bibi! I'm eating leftover spanakopita right now as I type!!

  3. Congrats on starting your blog! Careful, it gets addictive ;)

    Love this dish for the different textures, especially the crunchy filo!

    1. Thanks for the warm welcome Christie (yes, I'm already addicted!).

      The crunchy filo can be re-crunchified the next day by covering with foil and putting back in the oven for around 15 minutes, then removing the foil and another 5 minutes in the oven. Just finishing off another piece now!

  4. I second Peter's comment, it would be best served on a hot day, outside in a nice shady spot, and of course, with a cold beer! Reminds me of Greece.

  5. Thank you my dear Tony. As you know, all Greek food goes with beer!

  6. Another winner Lisa and all looking so gorgeous! Am really looking forward to the ricotta recipe too. x

    1. Thanks again Andra. I really appreciate your comments. I know you are a bit of a foodie yourself so your thoughts mean a lot to me. The ricotta recipe is coming this weekend!! It's sooooo easy!

  7. You have many spanakopita recipes? Ahh, I can hardly wait for them and their variations!! I do love this type of pie.

    Pinning this one right now! (Are you on pinterest yet, Lisa?)

    1. Yes, I have a few recipes! Different members of the family like to think theirs is the "correct" recipe, but in my eyes they're all good. All different but all good!

      I am in the process of building my pins on Pinterest - will have a link here soon! Thanks for pinning the chunky spanakopita!

  8. I know this version of spinach and cheese pie. One of our favourites. I'm keen to see the other versions. Can't wait.

    1. Thanks for dropping by purplepear - good to hear from another spanakopita fan! One of my alternative recipes is from my dad which I will be posting soon. He claims his is the best but he would never admit to it being anything else!

  9. oh my gosh this looks perfect. im gonna try it. wish me luck - my last spanikopita was quite yum, but decidedly weird in texture and in appearance.

    1. Hi Accidental Lentil! Oh I hope this version of spanakopita works well for you :) To get the chunk though, you really need to use a smallish but deep baking dish. Thanks for visiting my blog :)


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