Sunday, January 29, 2012

Greek made easy!

Hey there everyone! Today I am posting my first recipe for GetFitAlamoCity and I'm super pumped because I am confident that this is a recipe that both you vegetarians and meat eaters will enjoy.  Not to mention the fact that this recipe could be a great healthy option to serve with all of those super bowl parties coming up...just a thought ; )!
Anyways, I don't know about you, but I really enjoy Greek food! My favorite choice of food when it comes to Greek has always been spanakopita...a spinach pie in a Greek savory crust...& no, you don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy a good spanakopita.  No, I'm not here to change all of you into vegetarians, but I will point out that both nutritionists and environmentalists agree that occasionally going meat-free...say one day a week (sounds reasonable, right?)...has significant benefits for both our physical health and the health of the planet. Now that's definitely something to think about ; ). Spanakopita has a notorious reputation of being a complicated food to make...with it's layers of flaky crust and gorgeous golden brown color, one would think that you would need to be an experienced chef to make it just right; however, that's just not true! It's actually quite simple...the main thing I suggest is pre-chopping all of the veggies earlier in the day or even the night before so that the cooking process goes by more quickly and smoothly...if not then the whole process (while not difficult) can be a bit time consuming. I found this recipe not too long ago and have always wanted to make it, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I tweaked a few things in the recipe in order to make it a bit healthier...I used olive oil versus butter and chose reduced fat feta cheese versus the full fat stuff. The main fat in olive oil is monounsaturated fatty acids and may actually help lower your risk of heart disease.  (note: heat, light, and air can affect not only the taste of olive oil, but possibly it's health promoting qualities so store it in a dark, room temperature cupboard)


  • 1 1/2 lbs fresh baby spinach (washed, chopped, and well drained) (try not to be tempted to buy frozen spinach...buying fresh spinach from the produce department and chopping yourself really makes a difference)
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 large leek, trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 tbs extra virgin olive oil (separated)
  • 1 egg, slightly  beaten
  • 7 ounces reduced fat feta, crumbled
  • 3 tbs grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package phyllo, defrosted and at room temperature (I prefer the Athens brand)
  • olive oil for brushing 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spread a piece of parchment paper over the surface of a shallow baking tray
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 2 tbs of olive oil and saute the spinach until wilted and most of it's liquid has cooked off. Remove and set aside to cool. (If the sauteed spinach is still very wet then drain in a colander.
  3. Wipe the skillet clean and heat another 2 tbs of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the scallions, leek, and onion until soft.
  4. Combine this mixture with the spinach in a large bowl.  Add all of the herbs, egg, feta, parmesan, and salt and pepper.  Let cool slightly.
  5. Remove one roll of the phyllo (usually there are two in a box) from the box, unwrap it, and unroll it vertically in front of you on a clean surface.  Cut the stack of phyllo twice vertically so that you are left with 3 vertical rows. I then place all of the stacks on top of each other to form one vertical column (note: be gentle with these since they are delicate and will break easily.) I then place a clean, damp cloth on the phyllo, while I work with the rest...this helps to keep them from drying out too much.
  6. Take one strip of phyllo and brush the surface with olive oil. Next place a second strip on top of the first strip and also brush the surface with olive oil. Place a heaping spoonful (using the standard spoon you eat your meals with) of the spinach filling on the bottom of the phyllo strip and fold it up to form a right angle. Continue folding from corner to alternating side...the same way you would form a flag-forming right angles with each new fold.  Place seam down on the sheet pan.  Continue this process until the filling and phyllo are used up.  Brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with a little cold water.  Bake the triangles for about 10-12 minutes, until golden.  Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature...whatever your preference!
Depending on how large you fill them, you will end up with approximately 25 triangles

spinach mixture

brushing oil on a strip of phyllo

folding into triangles
before placing in the oven

final product!

Like I said earlier, this may be a bit time consuming, but if you follow my tip of pre-chopping the veggies, the rest is a breeze! I hope y'all enjoy this recipe and please feel free to let me know how it went...just leave me a comment below.  Be on the look out for another recipe very soon that would provide another option for those super bowl parties.  Hint: it will involve phyllo dough...hey we can't let the remaining phyllo go to waste ; )

1 comment: