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Spanakopita – A Mediterranean Treat

Posted Jan 19 2011 11:00am

Over the years I’ve been following a Mediterranean Diet like I live on the Sea! While I don’t eat fish, I do particularly enjoy olives, fresh veggies, feta cheese, home-grown herbs and all of the cooking techniques associated with this diet. When I say diet here, I don’t mean the diet you’ve been on since the new year, I mean a group of foods that are eaten typically in a particular region.

There are so many countries that cozy up to the Mediterranean Sea to give us this unique blend of mostly healthy dishes. One of those countries is Greece. And, if you’ve ever navigated the menu at a Greek restaurant, you know you should be armed with a plan to avoid some of the less-healthy options in the mix. I know, you’re thinking, but Miss M, I just looooooove the doughy and cheesy dishes! Fear not, because I do too, which is why I try to recreate my favorites in my own kitchen where I can control what goes in the dish and what goes in my mouth.

Let’s talk about spanakopita – a feta cheese-spotted spinach filling wrapped in layers of buttery filo. My favorite part of spanakopita is the feta and spinach filling, so you’ll see in my recipe that I don’t sacrifice those flavors. I do cut down on the calories when it comes to the flaky dough on top, opting for an olive whole wheat crust. Even Grant Park said this recipe was a keeper, which is high marks from a guy who will eat almost anything!

Spanakopita

Ingredients:

Olive Whole Wheat Crust

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil + extra to brush the top of crust
  • 1 Tbs. tapenade OR chopped olives
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 c. water

Feta Spinach Filling

  • 2 packages frozen organic spinach (about 16 ounces cooked)
  • 2 sweet onions
  • 5 green onions
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 Tbs. dried parsley
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 cage-free egg whites
  • 6 ounces crumbled feta
  • 1/2 Tbs. olive oil

Directions:

1. First, prepare the crust by mixing the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

2. With a fork, drizzle in the olive oil and tapenade/olives, and combine as much as possible.

3. Add water and stir. Knead the mixture with one hand in the bowl until combined into a ball.

4. Empty dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and cover with another sheet.

5. With a rolling pin or cup, roll out the dough into a round.

6. Place in fridge.

7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.

8. Unwrap frozen spinach and defrost in the microwave cooking for about 7 minutes. Drain the excess water by squeezing the spinach thoroughly.

9. In a sauce pan heat olive oil and add chopped onions. Saute for about 5-6 minutes on medium heat until translucent.

10. Add chopped garlic, green onions and herbs to the onions. Saute for a minute or two.

11. In a separate bowl, break up the spinach and add the sauteed veggies.

12. Mix until combined and slightly cooled, add egg whites and stir.

13. Pour feta cheese into bowl and stir.

14. Grease a pie dish or 8 by 8 pyrex and empty spinach mixture into dish pressing the top to create a flat surface.

15. Remove dough from fridge and lay on top of dish, pressing down to meet the spinach mixture. Brush or drizzle top with olive oil.

16. Bake for 40 minutes.

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