Greek Spanakopita (Spinach and Feta Pie)

Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese…and it’s delicious!

Greek Spanakopita7 minutes.  Apparently that’s how long it takes to eat an entire head of lettuce.  Correction.  That’s how long it takes the world lettuce eating champion to eat a head of lettuce.  Yes, that’s right.  World lettuce eating champion.

Have you heard about lettuce eating clubs?  I felt like I was a pretty normal college kid.  I joined a fraternity.  I attended a lot of basketball games.  I spent my fair share of late nights in the library.  (Well, maybe not during my sophomore year.  Let’s pretend that year never happened.)  But a lettuce eating club?

Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese...and it's delicious!For the last year or two, lettuce eating clubs are gaining traction on college campuses across the country.  And these aren’t just meetings of vegetarian students.  Nope, this is competitive lettuce eating.  These clubs meet once a year (one shot at glory!), and everyone shows up with a head of lettuce.  The person who downs the lettuce fastest is named president of the club until the next year’s meeting.

You can use any type of dressing you like.  But you have to show up with your own head of lettuce, and you have to eat the entire thing.  I mean, I love a good salad…but chomping down on an entire head of lettuce while racing against the clock?  Uhhh….

Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese...and it's delicious!

What is Spanakopita?

Let’s shift our leafy green gears a bit here.  Gone is the lettuce.  In its place is 2 pounds of spinach.  Have you ever had Greek Spanakopita?  Spinach is the base for this classic Greek dish, and it’s delicious!  Of course, it helps that there is a bunch of feta in Spanakopita, too.

When we lived in Atlanta, Laura and I would make the trip over to the massive (and I mean massive!) Dekalb Farmer’s Market every couple of weeks.  Imagine an indoor space the size of at least 10 football fields.  And they had everything you could possibly imagine.  We’d always stock up on fruits and veggies, but we’d also swing by the bakery on our way out.  A couple pieces of Spanakopita and a couple pieces of Baklava were a requirement!

Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese...and it's delicious!Truthfully, Spanakopita and Baklava are rather similar.  Both of these classic Greek dishes use frozen filo dough to create layers upon layers of flaky crust.  The main difference is that the filo dough in Spanakopita is brushed with olive oil and then filled with spinach and feta whereas the filo dough in Baklava is brushed with melted butter and then filled with chopped nuts and honey.  Spanakopita is really pretty easy to make at home, and it reheats really well for quick dinners.

Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese...and it's delicious!For some reason, I always crave Greek food in the late Winter/early Spring.  I think it might be related to my craving for lemon and citrus flavors.  (That lemon craving carries over into desserts, too.)  And like many Greek recipes, this Spanakopita includes a whole bunch of fresh herbs, too.  Maybe the lemon & herbs are just my body’s way of telling Mother Nature that it’s time for some warm sunshine again.  Whatever the reason, Greek recipes are always on the menu in our house during this time of the year.  You won’t find me joining any lettuce eating clubs anytime soon, but if there was a Spanakopita eating club, then I’d be there!  Enjoy, my friends!

Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese...and it's delicious!

Spanakopita (Greek Spinach and Feta Pie)

Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese…and it’s delicious!
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 319kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds frozen chopped spinach thawed
  • ½ cup olive oil divided
  • 1 cup yellow onion diced
  • tsp garlic minced
  • ¼ cup green onions sliced
  • 12 oz. feta cheese crumbled
  • ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
  • cup fresh dill chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh oregano chopped
  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 16-oz. package frozen phyllo dough, thawed

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Using a large bowl, add thawed spinach. Use paper towels to press out as much liquid out as possible; set spinach aside.
  • Using a large skillet, add 2 Tbsp of olive oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add yellow onions and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, or until onions begin to soften. Transfer onions and garlic into bowl with the spinach.
  • Add remaining filling ingredients (green onions, feta, parsley, dill, oregano, eggs, lemon juice and pepper); stir until well combined.
  • Unroll phyllo dough and cover with lightly damp towel to prevent it from drying out.
  • Grease a 9”x13” baking dish. Place 2 sheets of phyllo dough into bottom and sides of dish. Brush dough with some of the remaining olive oil. Place 2 more sheets of phyllo dough into pan and brush with more olive oil. Repeat process 3 more times, or until you have used 10 total sheets of phyllo dough.
  • Spread the spinach filling mixture evenly over phyllo dough. Fold the edges of the phyllo dough down over the filling. Continue adding 2 sheets of phyllo dough and brushing with olive oil until all phyllo dough has been used. Brush top of phyllo dough with remaining olive oil.
  • Before baking, use a sharp knife to cut the spanakopita into 2½-3" squares. (Note: Preslicing will make it easier to remove from pan once baked.)
  • Bake at 375°F for 40-45 minutes, or until top is golden and crispy to the touch.

Love Greek recipes?  Have you ever made Greek Dolmades?  Dolmades are Stuffed Greek Leaves, and they’re quite tasty!
Check out my recipe for Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves) here!

Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese...and it's delicious!

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36 Comments

  1. Hmmm…lettuce championship? At least it’s healthier than those where you need to gobble up burgers or cheesecakes, right? I just didn’t get one thing. You must bring your own salad head, but do the rules stipulate its size? I guess they do. Also, can you be disqualified and on which grounds? And spanakopita is one of our favorite savory pies – so flaky, buttery, and delicious (I always want to believe healthy too because of spinach, but not really). I believe I made it only once, but that was a simplified one in a cast iron skillet. I also want to make a pie with ricotta and sun-dried tomatoes, but Andrey doesn’t like them. So if I made it some one day, I will have no choice but ship you a half of that pie 🙂

    1. Well, you do make a good point about lettuce eating competitions being healthier…although they still don’t sound good to me. And excellent point about bringing your own head of lettuce. I guess it’s just kind of an honor system to bring a legit-sized head? As far as that pie with sun-dried tomatoes, I wonder if you could put ’em in only half the pie? Then your slices come from that half while Andrey’s slices come from the other half. I think it’s possible!

  2. 7 minutes? That’s pretty good, I think. Lettuce? That’s kinda funny. Though, this eating competitions really perplex me…don’t get it and think it’s kinda over the top and not necessary, ya know? Anywho – spanakopita! I’ve eaten it a bunch of times, but never made myself. That’s got to change cause this looks absolutely delicious. I can see this and vino on Friday night (along with my fave show) and I’d be set!! Pinned! Have an awesome weekend!!

    1. Yeah, I think 7 minutes is good for eating a whole head of lettuce? Heck, I have no idea. It sounds like a long time, but then again a whole head of lettuce is a lot of leafy goodness to eat. Yes to spanakopita with a glass of vino. In fact, I might have to make this one again soon as that sounds like an awesome Friday night plan! Hope you had a great weekend, Dawn!

  3. Um. I have no words. Who wants to be president of a club that meets only once a year? And can you even put Lettuce Club President on your resume? Or is it more of a bragging rights thing? I guess I do have some words after all :). After reading this post I’m further convinced I would not like to be in college today. But I’m adding the Dekalb Farmer’s Market to my list of things to do one day! Farmer’s markets are my happy place. And so is eating spanakopita! Greek food is one of my favorites!

    1. Haha, I agree, Kelsie! I mean what do you actually get for being the president of the lettuce eating club? A stomach-ache after eating all that lettuce so quickly? Who knows. So if you ever make it out to Atlanta, you definitely need to go by the DeKalb International Farmer’s Market…and give yourself at least 2 hours to wander around. 🙂 They have literally everything you can possibly imagine. Everything.

  4. I’ve never made spanakopita at home, but now I’m totally inspired to try! One of my favorite things to order at Kebaba, a Middle Eastern restaurant here in Bend.

    Have to admit that lettuce eating clubs are new to me. Seems like a college parents dream, lol!

    1. Haha! I can only imagine the thoughts of those parents when their kid calls and tells them they ate a head of lettuce faster than everyone else. Pure pride and joy right there! 🙂 Also, definitely try your hand at homemade spanakopita, Marissa…it’s not too difficult at all, and it’s really tasty! Thanks, my friend!

  5. Not sure joining a lettuce eating club is high on my list I’d rather join a Spanakopita eating club – it looks delicious. Feta & spinach are such a nice combination and that beautiful flaky crust on top, amazing! A nice way to celebrate the first days of spring – we finally had some sunshine here in London 🙂 Have a nice weekend, my friend!

    1. I agree with you about those lettuce eating clubs…I mean what is the attraction there?? But I noticed that these clubs are popping up mainly at engineering schools. I think that explains a lot. 🙂 (I’m married to an engineer…so I’m allowed to make that joke!) And as far as that sunshine, will you bottle some up and send it over here? I’m desperate for some warm weather right about now!! Thanks, Miriam!

  6. Dude, that lettuce bit was hilarious. At least these competitive eaters are downing something healthy for a change, but still… an entire head of lettuce? I would MUCH rather down 2 lbs of spinach!

    I’m drooling over the thought of an indoor farmers market that huge. Seriously, it sounds amazing! I’m looking forward to the summer markets in Portland!

    I adore the Spanakopita recipe! Feta is one of my favorite cheeses and I adore spinach so this recipe has got me ALL KINDS of drooling!

    1. I totally agree with you about the lettuce clubs…but these aren’t competitive eaters. These are college kids. Talk about a random club to join! I am definitely looking forward to the summer farmer’s markets. We have indoor markets here in the winter, but let’s face it…it’s too cold to go out at all in the winter. Haha! So I’m all about the feta, too, and spanakopita is one heck of a delicious way to use it. More feta please! Thanks so much, Christina! 🙂

  7. I actually remember the first time I made spanikopita. It was delicious. Sadly, it was my last time to make it. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Oh no! First and last time? That means it’s about time to make spanakopita again, Mimi! 🙂 Thanks so much for the comment, and I hope you have a great start to your week!

    1. Hah! So I took your dare, Frank…and I failed miserably. 🙂 But I agree with you that spanakopita is a classic. And it’s so tasty. My 6-year-old self would’ve been skeptical of the spinach, but my adult self loves it! Thanks so much for the comment, my friend!

  8. Nope! Never heard of a lettuce eating competition! I guess it’s better than a hot dog eating competition! I think I’ll just eat my greens at a normal pace. No need to time myself when eating. I’m loving this spinach spanakopita. This is a dish to savor! No rushing through pure deliciousness!

    1. Hah! Yeah, I guess lettuce eating is better than hot dog eating. But the difference is these lettuce eating clubs are popping up at colleges rather than competitive eating events. Like a college club with the sole purpose of eating heads of lettuce. Let’s hope the idea doesn’t trickle down, or you may have some of your students starting a lettuce eating club, Kathy! 🙂

  9. I LOVE Spanakopita! So much you’ve made me wonder why I’ve never made it! It looks and sounds DIVINE! Also, I’m with you on the Spanakopita-eating club, and no thanks to the lettuce.

    1. Spanakopita really is delicious, isn’t it? And I actually enjoy making it, too…something about the layers I think! Sadly this batch is all gone now, but I’m thinking I need to make another one soon. I crave Greek food like you wouldn’t believe during the early Spring every year! Thanks, Laura!

  10. How in the world did I miss your Spanakopita? When I visited Greece I was always on the lookout for this tasty spinach and feta pie. To my surprise, most places didn’t serve it, but when we did find it OMG it blew my mind. I’ve made a low-fat version for gatherings but the next time I’m craving this green filled goodness I’ll try your recipe. 🙂 It would take me a lot longer than 7 minutes to eat an entire head of lettuce.

    1. So I actually haven’t been to Greece (yet), but I’m surprised that it was hard to find spanakopita on menus there. I wonder if it’s a regional thing? Like some parts of Greece specialize in spanakopita while others focus on different dishes? Maybe? Either way, it really is delicious! And I actually find it fun to make, too. Thanks so much, Mary!

    1. Haha! I agree that a lettuce eating club sounds super strange. Kids these days! So you should definitely put spanakopita on the list to make sometime, Dawn. I find it fun to cook, and it’s really, really tasty, too! 🙂

    1. Yes! I totally agree with you, Nicole. I crave Greek food like it’s nobody’s business during the early Spring (I have no idea why), and spanakopita is always one of my go-to favorite Greek recipes. Yum! 🙂

  11. A lettuce eating club, you say?! I wish I had heard of these when I was in college – but then again, I went to art school and all we had was a “portfolio club” and there was barely any food at meetings – freaking starving artists syndrome begins in college! Now I’m curious to see if there’s a lettuce club at Lil Shash’s Uni? Oooh – I gotta check and see if I can con my way into it – I LOVE lettuce and am gonna have to start practicing eating a whole head – it would be especially tasty if a slice of this Spanakopita was set aside to enjoy right after! I love Spanakopita (Lil Shashi likes to break that word down, buuut seeing this is a G rated blog I won’t go there). Thanks for sharing this recipe, my friend – and the reminder to visit the Dekalb Farmers market – I haven’t been there since October of last year – I will enjoy a piece of Spanakopita and Baklava just for y’all! 🙂

    1. A portfolio club, eh? Sounds kinda cool…but not as cool as a lettuce eating club! I hear that they have a lettuce eating club at GaTech, but then again it’s an engineer school, so that doesn’t surprise me at all. I’m gonna take a guess that UGA doesn’t have a lettuce eating club. Just a guess. 🙂 Lil Shashi totally cracks me up, by the way! Oh my gosh, I’m SO jealous that you can drive over to the DeKalb Farmer’s Market. And the drive probably isn’t all that bad since Decatur is on the Athens side of ATL. It’s worth the trip! Oh, and stop by Southern Sweets for lunch and a slice of their amazing cake…it’s right next to the farmer’s market!

  12. As someone who isn’t overly fond of wedge salad I cannot imagine a whole salad eating..do they chop it up or is this just a free for all with lettuce pieces flying left and right? Either way more of a club Id sit in on then participate, haha!

    Love the savory use of filo dough! Truthfully I’ve only ever had it as a dessert (more often than not, as bakalava) but this is probably amaza-tastic!

    1. So I’m not really sure what the rules are for the lettuce eating clubs, but I kinda get the feel that it’s a free-for-all go in head first kinda thing. Umph. And all for the “recognition” of being president for the next year. Silly kids these days! So I’m right there with ya on filo dough and Baklava, but definitely give spanakopita a shot sometime, too. It’s dee-licious!

    1. Haha! I agree with you, Manali. Eating an entire head of lettuce (especially quickly) sounds pretty low on my list of things to do. But I would gladly polish off a couple slices of spanakopita instead! 🙂 Hope your week is going well, my friend!

  13. Hey it´s better to have lettuce eating clubs than a lot of other things for college kids!!! I love this recipe of Spanakopita, It has been a long time since I have eaten this…love your take on this classic Greek dish…rock on David

    1. You know, that’s a great point, Albert! Lettuce eating clubs might be strange, but there are far worse things that college kids could be doing instead of eating lettuce. Haha! Spanakopita is a favorite around here, and I always crave Greek food in the Spring. Thanks so much, Albert!

  14. I make crustless spinach quiche with feta and cheddar –
    But, this sounds yummy, love filo dough and Baklava !!
    Will have to try this recipe, thanks !!
    Mar

    1. I’m all about that spinach quiche, Mar! I mean it’s hard to go wrong with feta and cheese…yum! Filo dough is a fun addition though as it’s so flaky. Definitely give this one a shot sometime soon! And in the meantime, I’m going to be thinking about that quiche. 🙂

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