In this guest post, award-winning media personality and cookbook author Magdalena Roze shares her golden and crisp spanakopita recipe from her book Happy & Whole. This recipe is especially close to Magdalena’s heart as it is her mum’s favourite and something she loves to make for her own kids.
Magdalena’s love for food is mainly centred on simple recipes that satisfy the palate and the well-being. In Happy & Whole, Magdalena brings wholefoods into focus and demonstrates how to use them to match our ever-changing cravings per season. Family-oriented and a mum of two, Magdalena thoughtfully creates delicious recipes that are also good for the people she loves, just like her spanakopita recipe that serves six.
This is one of the first dishes I taught myself to cook, and it’s special to me because it’s my mum’s favourite. (Whenever I offer to cook at mum’s, she always asks for it!) It’s easy to make and produces the most delicious golden, crunchy crust. Spinach and kale are packed with iron, too, so it’s a great one for kids. You can just as easily use this filling to make filo triangles if you wish.
- Digital weighing scale
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Chef’s knife
- Paring knife
- Cutting board
- Pastry brush
- Baking dish or roasting pan
- Tea towel
- Saucepan or saute pan
- Wooden spoon
- Mixing bowl
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
- 375g filo pastry, fresh or thawed
- 500g spinach, chopped
- 6 kale leaves, chopped
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 250g feta
- 150g ricotta
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 2 shallots, finely sliced
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Zest of ½ lemon
- ¼ cup mint leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup parsley leaves, chopped
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 100g butter, melted
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 20cm x 30cm tray or dish with olive oil. Don’t worry if your tray is smaller, it just means that your filling will be a bit thicker.
- Place the filo sheets on a work surface and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out.
- Steam the kale and spinach leaves in bunches until they wilt and set aside in a colander to drain. Once cool, squeeze any excess water and chop into smaller pieces. This prevents the crust from getting soggy.
- Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in a frypan over medium heat and cook the onion until soft and lightly golden. Set aside to cool.
- Place the feta in a large bowl and rub it between your fingers to create a coarse crumb. Add the cooled onion, ricotta, garlic, shallots, nutmeg, breadcrumbs, lemon zest, mint, and parsley and mix well. I like to do this with my hands to get a nice even texture without over mixing. Add the spinach and kale, followed by the eggs and mix again until well combined.
- Using a sharp knife, halve the sheets of filo pastry. Place two sheets on a work surface and brush the top one with melted butter. Top with another two sheets of filo and brush again with butter, continuing until about half of the filo pastry has been used. Don’t worry if some tear as this won’t matter once it’s cooked, crispy, and golden.
- Place the buttered sheets of filo in the dish or tray, gently pressing them into the corners. Spoon the spinach and cheese mixture over the filo, spreading it out evenly. Butter the remaining filo sheets two sheets at a time and place them on top. Tuck in any overhanging pastry, brush the top with butter, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake the pie in the oven for about 45 minutes until golden brown. If the pastry is browning too quickly, turn the heat down to 160C and continue cooking for the remaining time.
- Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes before serving with freshly cut wedges of lemon for squeezing over. The pie makes the most satisfying crunchy sound when it’s cut, so it’s worth doing this in front of your guests!
Recipe and images are adapted from Magdalena Roze’s book Happy & Whole.