Spanakopitta

My love affair with spanakopitta began in junior high school when I tried it for the first time at the Checkmate Restaurant in Bangor, Maine. Since then, it’s been one of my favorite entrées, and when eating out, I’m always delighted when someone suggests Greek. Whether offered as an appetizer or an entrée, my eyes easily find it on any menu.

The best spinach pie I ever had was in Toledo, Ohio, at an unassuming restaurant called the Med Room. Everyone I knew in Toledo—including some world travelers and hard core foodies—argued that it was the best version they ever tasted. Even those who didn’t have a friendly relationship with spinach thought it was delicious. One tasty ingredient was cream cheese, although I couldn’t tell you what else made it so unique or special. They served it with brown rice and a wonderful spaghetti sauce spread generously over green beans. It wasn’t a combination that I would have thought to put together, but it was scrumptious.

When making spinach pie today, I use only feta and leave the cream cheese for bagels. For me, the more lemony the spanakopitta, the better—so I have plenty of freshly-squeezed lemon juice and hollandaise sauce mix handy. To complete the meal, I serve it with brown rice, a lovely Greek salad, and of course, lemon wedges. Perfect accompaniments!

Spanakopitta is a convenient, one-dish meal that packs a hearty nutritional punch. Spinach’s benefits—including iron and vitamins A and C, to name just a few—are well known, and the eggs offer a hefty helping of protein. It’s a perfect entrée for those whose bodies are compromised because of the cancer, chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Here’s to healing!

You’ll need:

  • 1 package of phyllo dough (2 typically come in a box, only use one), thawed (takes about ½ hour)
  • 2 boxes of chopped, frozen spinach
  • 12 eggs, beaten well
  • 2 blocks of feta cheese
  • ½ cup of butter, melted
  • 1 packet of hollandaise sauce mix
  • 3-4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 3-4 lemons
  • Garlic powder and black pepper to taste

1)  Grease a 13 X 9 casserole dish with the olive oil.

2)  Lay half of the phyllo sheets on the bottom of the dish.

3)  Pour the beaten eggs over the sheets.

4)  Thaw the spinach in microwave for a few minutes.  While still in the box, squeeze all of the water out.  (I usually wring the box like a dishrag).  You’ll want the spinach as dry as possible. 

5)  Lay the spinach evenly over the eggs.

6)  Slice the feta cheese and lay evenly over the spinach.

7)  Lay the other half of phyllo dough on top of the feta cheese.

8)  In a small bowl, melt the butter.  Add the hollandaise sauce powder, juice       from a few lemons, black pepper, and some garlic powder (approximately a   tablespoon), and mix well.

9)  Pour over the phyllo dough and spread evenly.  Be sure that all of the phyllo dough is moistened.

Bake at 375° for approximately 30 minutes.  Keep checking the phyllo dough, which should turn crispy and golden to dark brown.  Let set for 10 to 15 minutes and serve with lemon wedges.  When re-heating, use an oven instead of a microwave so that the phyllo dough comes back to life (crispy).

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