Greek Feast

I love the ocean. The air, the sun, the nature surrounding you. Its all so expansive and beautiful.

aegean sea
drifting along in the Aegean sea…knowing great civilizations of old have viewed this same view was magical. Truly at home in water, as I am a pisces 😉

The food was delicious, a nice break for me as a vegetarian I had more options here than when I was living back in Madrid which pretends plant based diets didn’t exist! I am going back in March to see if there has been more of a change, I hope so because I love the city! Anywho I digress…

So Greece, amazing views, great ruins (if you can say such a thing?) and I was loving every minute of it. I wanted to throw on a toga and discuss philosophy & party like Bacchus (the latter I did achieve successfully). We never wanted it to end! I mean who wouldn’t love getting university credit for going on a cruise through Greece & Turkey?

Sounion Greece

Although for me this was something deeper; something more. I was on a mission. I wanted to have truly authentic Spanakopita. Its a filo pastry spinach dish that I had plenty of times back home at our mediterranean style restaurant. I wanted the real deal straight from the source.

It took a while but when we found it, it was glorious. I ate it too quickly to take a photo 😦

So tonight I am doing my best to recreate it, and traditionally it is made without cheese, so turning it vegan was a cinch.

Here it is!

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Spanakopita served with roasted red pepper hummus & wholemeal pitta

Serves: 4

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 20 min

Ingredients:

Spanakopita

  • 3 lbs fresh spinach 3 cups thawed frozen spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped spring onions/scallions (approx 12 whole)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil + 3 tbsp
  • 1 cup fresh dill chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint chopped fine
  • 1/3 cup garlic chopped fine
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Red Pepper Hummus

  • 2 whole roasted red peppers, seeds removed
  • roughly 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, cooked in boiling water until soft, about 30 minutes
  • dash or two of salt
  • dash hot paprika
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • lemon, cut into quarters

Method

  1. If you are using fresh spinach
    1. Clean and rinse spinach well. In large bottomed pan, wilt spinach in 3 separate 1 lb batches in 1 tbsp of oil per batch.  Important:  transfer wilted spinach batches into strainer to allow juices to strain off.
  2. If you are using frozen spinach
    1. Thaw frozen spinach completely before using.
  3. Now for both wring spinach tightly with your hands (over the sink) to get out every drop of liquid that you can. Once spinach is as liquid-free as you can get it, chop well and set aside. You should end up with a bit more than 3 cups of chopped spinach.
  4. Get your pan out, heated up and pop in 1/4 cup olive oil,  sauté chopped spring onions/scallions and garlic on low heat until soft, careful not to burn. Add the herbs and spices, stir to combine well and cook on very low heat for less 5 minutes just to combine flavors. Add strained, chopped spinach to pan and mix well to combine completely. Take your time with this step to make sure ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the spinach mixture. Taste test. Set aside once satisfied.
  5. Tip* At this stage, you can cover and refrigerate filling for up to 3 days before using.
  6. When you are ready to bake, carefully separate and layer fillo sheets in baking pan and brush each sheet lightly with olive oil.  An average of 6-8 sheets both under and on top of  spinach filling is a good guide.
  7. Add the spinach filling and distribute evenly over the entire pan. Add top layers of fillo as above.
  8. Brush top of pie liberally with olive oil and score fillo sheets carefully cutting through all of the top layers of fillo.
  9. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until a beautiful golden brown. Allow pie to rest for about 15 minutes before serving.  To reheat, wrap in aluminum foil in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Do not microwave or you’ll get soggy spinach pie! Ain’t nobody got time for that!
  10. Now you can make your hummus beforehand and pop in the fridge if you like it cold, or you can make it whilst the spanakopita is cooking.
    1. Pop the peppers, cooked chickpeas, and spices in a food processor/blender. Start incorporating everything by pulsing it. Then add the olive oil slowly as it is going. Do it to your desired consistency. You can either add a drop of lemon juice in there now or drizzle it on when you eat it. Either way it is a great addition!

balsamic salad spanakopita Greek Feast

Source: The Greek Vegan

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