Spanakopita is a classic Greek recipe featuring layers of flaky dough stuffed with spinach and feta cheese…and it’s delicious!
7 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?
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….
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!
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.
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 (Greek Spinach and Feta Pie)
- 2 pounds frozen chopped spinach thawed
- ½ cup olive oil divided
- 1 cup yellow onion diced
- 1½ tsp garlic minced
- ¼ cup green onions sliced
- 12 oz. feta cheese crumbled
- ½ cup fresh parsley chopped
- ⅓ 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
- 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!