Sarina is a reader and commenter on my Kitchen Operas Facebook Page. When I asked if anyone had vegan recipes they’d like to see for VeganMoFo, Sarina responded enthusiastically with vegan spanakopita!
Of course this got my foodie brain going, so off I went researching, checking out recipes, and I came up with this vegan version of the delicious spanakopita. And it was sooooo good you could serve it to vegans and omnivores alike and they’d all love it. I’m thinking about serving this at a dinner party along with a lemony salad to cut through the rich pastry.
The secret is a homemade vegan cheese. Yes, I know that sounds intense, but it’s way easier than you think… you just blitz almonds and seasonings, strain it overnight, and bake. The whole recipe is below, and it’s yummy. And it actually surprised me how much it tasted like dairy feta. Somehow the garlic and the lemon and the salt make a very feta-y taste!
And once you have your cheese (which I made the day before), your pie will come together quite quickly. And you get to play with phyllo.
I chose to use coconut oil here, and it’s a tasty match with the phyllo pastry and the spinach. I recommend going more lightly with it than you might with other fats, as it tastes so rich.
Thanks, Sarina, for the inspiration! This was a really tasty dinner that I’ll be replicating again soon! And it’s got me thinking about all sorts of phyllo pies, and phyllo desserts with coconut oil, and the delicious possibilities are endless!
Vegan Spanakopita Pie
Adapted from Maple ♥ Spice’s Spanakopita, Serves 4-6
- 550g fresh baby spinach
- about 4 Tbsp. sea salt (for reducing the bulk of the spinach, it gets rinsed off)
- 1 recipe baked almond feta (below), crumbled
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 150g phyllo pastry (I use frozen phyllo from my local grocery store), at room temperature
- 125 ml (1/2 c.) coconut oil, melted
Preheat oven to 400F.
Place your spinach in a colander (you may need to do this in a couple of batches) and wash it well. While the leaves are still wet, sprinkle with the salt. Rub the salt into the leaves of the spinach, while tearing the leaves into small pieces. The spinach will work down to a tiny amount compared to what you started with. Rinse the spinach to remove the salt, and squeeze to remove the excess liquid.
Transfer the spinach to a mixing bowl, and add the feta, garlic, black pepper, cayenne, and olive oil. Mix well to combine.
Spread out your phyllo on your work surface. Grease your 23x23cm (9×9″) baking dish with coconut oil, and begin to layer sheets of phyllo in the baking dish. Between each layer of phyllo, brush it with a light coating of coconut oil. Your phyllo sheets will overhang the baking dish. Keep layering phyllo until you have four sheets left, and cover your remaining sheets of phyllo with a clean and damp tea towel.
Place the spinach filling in the centre of the baking dish, and spread it out evenly across the phyllo.
Fold the overhanging phyllo over top of the spinach filling, and brush with coconut oil.
Scrunch your remaining phyllo sheets up and place on top of the dish.
Brush lightly with coconut oil.
Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, let cool for 5 minutes, cut into 6 slices, and serve warm!
- 1 cup whole blanched almonds
- the juice of 1 lemon
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 c. water