Traditional Greek Spinach Pie

Less is more – flour, water, extra virgin olive oil, various greens (“horta” in Greek) mixed with herbs and a bit of feta (or not) makes healthy and good pies of monumental taste in Greece. Not to mention, a natural “functional” food high in phytochemical compounds with powerful antioxidant properties. Homemade Greek pies are a culinary masterpiece. It’s all about their simple, healthy, good ingredients and the passion and love in the cooking. They are excellent as a side dish, a light meal or even as a simple snack! I was brought up in a family seeing my mother rolling-out a homemade traditional phyllo-sheet every week. Her spinach pies are some of my (and my son’s) favorite tastes! Follow my mother’s homemade spinach pie recipe step-by-step!

For dough:
500 g all – purpose flour
20 ml extra virgin olive oil
20 ml ouzo (a Greek drink with strong anise flavor)
200ml water
Olive oil for brushing

For filling:
Some extra virgin olive oil
½ kg spinach,
½ kg leeks, washed and chopped
1 bunch Kafkalithres (Greek word Καυκαλίθρες) or else Mediterranean hartwort (Tordylium apulum L.), rinsed and chopped
4 big dry onions, washed and chopped
1/3 bunch of dill, 1/3 bunch of spearmint, 1/3 bunch of parsley, all washed and chopped
250-300g Greek feta in brine, crumbled
Salt, freshly ground pepper

Recipe preparation
Make the dough
…In a large bowl, combine the flour, the olive oil, the ouzo, the water and the salt. Mix gently with your hands until you have an even dough (dough must be easily pulled away from the sides of the bowl). Shape into a ball. Cover tightly with a plastic wrap and leave to rest at room temperature for 1-2 hours.
Tip: The dough should be soft and elastic. You can make this dough in advance and keep it in well wrapped, in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two weeks. Bring to room temperature before using (If it’s frozen, first defrost in the refrigerator).

Prepare the filling
…In the meantime, wash the spinach*, salt lightly and leave it for 2 hours
*Place spinach in the center of a clean towel, gather corners together, and twist towel to wring excess liquid out of spinach. Try and get as much out as you can.
…In a skillet with a little olive oil sauté the leeks, the Mediterranean hartwort, the onions, the dill, the spearmint, the parsley until they soften, and all of the liquid evaporates
…Take off the heat. Break up spinach, with hands, into small pieces and add together with feta cheese to the mixture. Stir well and your filling is ready! Don’t be afraid to overmix; you want spinach, herbs and cheese in every bite!
Tip: Add some flour if your filling has liquids.

Roll out phyllo dough
… When the dough is ready, transfer it to your working surface and divide in to 6 equal round balls.
Sprinkle some flour on to your working surface and start to roll out (open) the first of the 6 pieces of dough (you will have your 1st phyllo dough).
Tip: If your dough is too sticky, sprinkle with some more flour and continue rolling out.

…Lightly brush bottom and sides of a baking pan with olive oil.
…Lay the first (1) phyllo nicely to prepared pan, covering bottom of the pan, and brush olive oil on top of the phyllo sheet. Gently press and tuck sides of sheet into bottom edges of pan.
…Repeat this process with remaining 5 dough pieces (roll out phyllo sheets) and transfer another 2 phyllo sheets to pan, the filling and another 3 phyllo sheets of dough for the top
…Cut the surface with a knife
…Preheat oven to 155-160°C. Bake pie for about 90 minutes- or until golden and crunchy

And..kali orexi!


Nutritional Composition per about 170-180g serving (according to the ingredients and preparation stated in the recipe):
Energy (Kcal) 216, Total Fat (g) 5.6 (of which saturates 2.7g, mono-unsaturates 1.9g, polyunsaturates 0.5g), Cholesterol (mg) 8.7, Carbohydrate (g) 31 (of which sugars 0.75g), Fibre (g) 3, Protein (g) 9, Salt (g) 0.9 (the quantity of added table salt has not be calculated. 1 tsp (6g) salt = 5 g salt)

Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamin Α (μg) 37, Carotene (μg) 1586, Vitamin D (μg) – , Vitamin Ε (mg) 1.2, Vitamin Κ (μg) – , Vitamin C (mg) 28, Thiamin (mg) 0.2, Riboflavin (mg) 0.3, Vitamin Β6 (mg) 0.4, Folic acid (μg) -, Vitamin Β12 (μg) -, Biotin (μg) -, Pantothenic acid (mg) -, Potassium (mg) 608, Calcium (mg) 156, Phosphorus (P) (mg) 250, Magnesium (mg) 52, Iron (mg) 3.7, Zinc (mg) 1, Copper (mg) 0.6, Selenium (μg) –

Symbols used in the Nutritional Composition:  Νο information available/ * This value represents lower limits because for one or more of the constituent foods of the respective dish no information was available concerning the concentration of the corresponding nutrient

Important Notes:
#1. The provision of any food information is in accordance with the rules laid down in Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 (lastly amended by Regulation (EU) No 1047/2012) on nutrition and health claims on food and in line with the opinions of the Authority

#2. Τhe nutritional content of the recipe was calculated using the Greek Food Composition Dataset (FCDB) by the Hellenic Health Foundation (Published by EuroFIR AISBL 2011), the British Food Composition tables “McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods Integrated Dataset (CoFIDs)” (accepted data source for food composition) (Full dataset 2015) and the Nutritional information from manufacturers and retailers