Spanakopita, is a Greek spinach pie, I’ve been making again and again for ages. I admit, Spanakopita sounds better and more interesting than pie. But with all the herbs, this version is also much more a spanakopita than a spinach pie or spinach strudel or in whatever way you want to call this delicious thing. In the shape of a snail and with this kind of ingredients it is definitive a spanakopita.
Tofu is the new feta
“Back then”, in my pre-vegan days, I always made it with feta. Then without feta. Or with homemade vegan feta. Or, as recently, with tofu, inspired by a recipe from one of my favorite food blogs eat-this.org.
Tofu in a strudel? Trust me! This combination fits perfectly! I even dare to say that nobody would notice that this is not feta at all. Even less, if you have prepared spanakopita the day before, then the tofu can really absorb the good things like garlic, herbs, salt, and olive oil. But of course, it also tastes very good straight away.
Speaking of taste. spanakopita is not only incredibly tasty, it is also very versatile: Like I said it can be eaten immediately or the next day, but also warm or cold, for brunch, dinner, as a snack or as a starter. Literally anytime, hehe. I like to eat spanakopita pure or with some kind of vegan sour cream or yoghurt dip.
By the way, something about the shape: Spanakopita as a Greek spinach pie, has often a snail shape, not a long, round thick shape like a strudel. But of course, this dish can also be prepared as a strudel. Or, as I often do: Bake it in a square shape with a layer of dough, then the filling, and then another dough layer. Another version I am going to try: To not combine the individual rolls to a snail, but rather bake them as individual rolls. Definitely a great snack on the go. I have also eaten Spanakopita as triangles. Do you have any more ideas for other shapes?
Vegan Greek Recipes
If you love Greek cuisine as I do, be sure to try Fasolakia, a delicious dish with green beans and potatoes. Or, what about Spanakorizo? As you might know now: It must be something with spinach. Bingo! Spanakorizo is a Greek spinach rice with lemon – so good! And of course tzatziki – what would Greek cuisine be without this refreshing delicacy?
- 2 tbsp olive oil (plus a bit more to brush it on top before baking)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 500 g (17.7 oz or 16 cups) fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
- herbs: I had fresh parsley and dill as well as dried oregano and thyme. Be generous!
- 1 tsp salt
- black pepper
- pinch of nutmeg, ground
- 4 tbsp vegan sour cream (substitute with vegan yogurt, can also be skipped)
- 200-300 g (7 - 10 oz) tofu
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- (1-3 tbsp flour)
- 200 g (10.5 oz) filo or yufka pastry dough (from Turkish stores. Or “Strudelteig” as we can buy it in Austria)
- sesame seeds
- black cumin seeds
- Heat olive oil in a pan, add onion and fry until translucent.
- Add garlic, and fry for one more minute.
- Now add the spinach and let it simmer for a few minutes until it shrivels.
- Add all herbs and all spices, let it cook for two more minutes.
- Remove from heat, add sour cream and tofu: break it into small pieces with your hands just above the pan.
- Also, add the nutritional yeast.
- If there is too much liquid, move the spinach to the side and stir in some flour into the liquid to bind everything.
- Let the filling cool down.
- In the meantime preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Snail form: place a moist kitchen towel on your kitchen surface. Put a yufka sheet on it and spread 4 tablespoons of the filling on the lower length side. With the help of the kitchen towel roll long but thin (thinner than I did) rolls and place them into a greased springform pan, one after the other, in the form of a snail house.
- Quick version: Place two dough sheets (put some oil between them) on a greased square baking dish, spread the filling evenly, and add two more sheets with oil in between on top (in this case you will need less dough). In this case, I usually cut the pie into pieces before I bake it, to avoid too many crumbs as if I would cut it after baking.
- Lightly brush the top with some olive oil and add sesame and black cumin seeds.
- Bake for 20 minutes until slightly brown.
Of course, you can also make this recipe with frozen spinach. Just be sure to squeeze the water out after defrosting.
Instead of tofu you could also use this homemade almond feta. If you do so reduce the amount of salt as the "cheese" is saltier than the tofu.