Tuesday, 5 April 2011


Vegan Spanakopita

Yes, that exclamation mark is necessary here, as I am that excited!! Once more that almond feta has come in to replicate one of my all time favourite vegetarian dishes - spanakopita. If I do say so myself I used to make the best spanakopita, but as it was full of feta and eggs a no-go having gone vegan. Further, like the couscous salad below, it needed the feta. This isn't just as good as my old recipe, it's better. Seriously. It does take some planning of course as you'll need a day to make the almond feta first, but it is so worth it!!

Edit! - I've recently discovered you actually don't have to make the almond feta first with this. Like my Orzo, Spinach and Almond Feta Pasta Bake you can just blitz up the almond feta in the blender then mix it with the prepared spinach and onion. It did result in a softer, creamier filling but just as good and so much easier. Anything that gives me Spanakopita quicker is a win in my book! I also added 1/2 tsp oregano and 1/4 tsp dill to the cheese which was a lovely addition. 

Terrible photo taken at night, and I used puff pastry instead of filo here, but just to show you the filling comes out just fine using this quick method!

Quicker Version Spanakopita:

150g ground almonds (1½ cups)
60ml lemon juice (¼ cup)
125ml water (½ cup)
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pureed
1¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp dried dill - optional
½ tsp dried oregano - optional

Simply blend all of this together in a blender until really creamy. Add it to the spinach and fried onions as indicated in the recipe. Scrape into the filo shell as instructed but bake at 180C for 30 minutes. I should explain here that I've only tried the quicker version with puff pastry. If using filo you'll need to keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn as the filling will need longer to cook with this method.

Vegan Spanakopita

serves 6

550g fresh spinach, tough stems removed
about 150g filo pastry
1 recipe almond feta  - omit the drizzle oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
50g vegan margarine, melted
freshly ground black pepper

First you need to wash and reduce the bulk of the spinach. As you can see 550g of spinach is a bloody lot! That's one large colander and my biggest mixing bowl full up.

Put the spinach into your (clean!) sink and wash. With the leaves wet, very generously pour salt over the leaves, don't worry as it gets washed off, this is just to break them down so really pour it on. Now rub the salt into the leaves while you tear them into small pieces, keep going until it really reduces in bulk. Rinse very well and then squeeze all the excess water off. You should end up with this much spinach:

That's just one of the above bowls barely 1/4 full. Now I like to take this mixture and give it a good chop just to get it a bit finer, in case there are still some big pieces of spinach, but it's not essential. 

Now heat up the olive oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and about 20 grinds of black pepper. Gently fry until soft and slightly golden, about 7 -10 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly, it's ok if it's warm.

Scrape the fried onion into the bowl with the spinach and crumble in the feta. Stir well with a fork until the feta goes all creamy and it's all mixed up well. Your mixture should look like this:

 * Quicker version - mix together the blended cheese, spinach and fried onions.

Set aside now and prepare the pastry. Make sure the filo is defrosted and out of the fridge a couple hours before hand. In a small saucepan melt the margarine and have a brush ready. I used a 6.5" x 9" roasting tin here, but size isn't too important, bigger and you'll have a thinner spanakopita, smaller and you'll have a thicker one. Brush some melted margarine in the tin you are using and preheat the oven to 200C.

Take one sheet of filo and make sure the rest are covered with a damp cloth so they don't dry out. Brush with  margarine and fit into the tin. Repeat with another sheet and place in the tin but fan it out from the first one so they don't all pile on top of one another. Keep going, brushing each sheet with margarine until you have a couple sheets left. It should now look like this:

Now spoon your filling in evenly and level it off:

Now fold over all four edges until it's covered and take the remaining sheets and loosely scrunch over top. Give it all a final brush of margarine and it's ready for the oven:

Bake in a preheated 200C oven for about 20 minutes. The top layers may brown very quickly as mine did and I was prepared to cover it with foil to ensure it didn't burn but didn't need to in the end, it cooked the full 20 minutes uncovered and didn't burn. However, all ovens are different so you may want to have some foil ready just in case. After 20 minutes it should look like this and be hot in the middle - check by sticking a knife in the centre and feeling if it's hot.

Now simply slice into 6 servings, or less if your really hungry! Serve immediately and enjoy - it's positively delicious! Despite the production in making this, I'll be making it a lot - believe me :-)

Nutritional Information: per 1/6 of pie
Calories: 375
Fat: 27g
Sat Fat: 3.6g
Protein: 9.7g
Carbs: 25.6g
Sugar: 2.8g
Fibre: 5.4g
Sodium: 732mg
Calcium: 160mg

Also, you are not limited to a pie here, using filo to make little hand pies is also very common with spanakopita filling and would be great for summer picnics. Easy to transport and these would still taste great cold, after cooking and cooling of course! When I first made that feta and was craving spanakopita I didn't have any filo but did have some spring roll wrappers defrosted. So I made a smaller portion of the above recipe, cut the spring roll wrappers in half and spooned in a teaspoon of filling. Simply roll them up, brush  with some melted margarine and bake in the oven:

 Voila! Mini Spanakopita rolls!!

These were just as good as the full pie and unbelievable morish - I could eat a very large plate of these. They would be perfect for parties, vegans and omni's will love them equally.

A scaled down recipe to make about 6 mini rolls:

40g spinach
about 1/4 onion, chopped fine
20g almond feta
salt and pepper
bit of melted margarine
3 sheets standard size spring roll wrappers

Simply follow the filling instructions as per the pie above. Slice the wrappers in half, spoon in a teaspoon of filling. Fold over end bit over filling, fold sides over and roll up. Brush with either melted margarine or olive oil then place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake in a 200C oven for 20 minutes. Perfect!

Nutritional Information: per mini roll
Calories: 58
Fat: 3.7g
Sat Fat: 0.5g
Fibre: 0.6g
Carbs: 5.3g
Sugar: 0.7g
Protein: 1.3g
Sodium: 96mg

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  1. This looks wonderful!
    There must be endless options to use this almond fetta. I wonder if it would be suitable to make sweet recipes too.


  2. Thanks Rose! I keep thinking of loads of things to use it in. Haven't even tried a pasta yet...It would make a very yummy super creamy risotto too!

    Never thought to use it with something sweet, omit the salt and garlic and tone down the lemon and you might be onto something there!! Hmmm, cheesecake!

  3. oooh, I love spanakopita so much, I made it last summer but didn't have any spinach to hand so made it with leek and peas... it was good! I picked some wild garlic leaves last weekend and was thinking that they would make a great spanakopita (or I guess wildgarlikopita)... lovely stuff!

  4. That sounds fantastic! Never would have thought to not make it with spinach, love leeks and peas! Fab idea with the wild garlic too :-)

  5. that looks delicious. i've been wanting to make spanakopita for a long time and i may just use your yummy looking recipe :)

  6. Ohhh




    I used to love this stuff!! Looks excellent.

  7. Beautiful! I've been thinking about spanakopita a lot lately, and yours looks like a perfect recipe to try - thanks for sharing!

  8. Those rolls look like the perfect picnic food indeed!

  9. Thanks for this recipe! I had no idea it was so simple! I LOVE spankopita!!!

    PS: Can you please come to my page and vote for me on PETA??? THANK YOU!!!!

  10. Thanks Carissa! Totally forgot to say that I voted for you!! Good luck!!

  11. Ok, so I made your almond feta this morning and spanakopita this evening :D
    These are so good that I do not know how to thank you. This sure is going to be a regular especially when I am entertaining people.

  12. That's excellent! Thanks so much for letting me know :-) Funnily enough, I've got the spanakopita in the oven right now!

  13. i really like my feta-spinach mixture with some sesame seeds, you might want to sprinkle them on top or just miy it with the filling.
    i used to make somehting similar with puff pastry, but this looks so nice and crispy, i will be trying this soon.

  14. I have always wanted to make spanikopita, but buying FILO is just SO expensive here (Malaysia). But I can get cheap wonton and spring roll wrappers, I never thought of using them for that! I'll definitely be making some of that version!!! Thanks so much!! You mentioned cheesecake in another comment. I also commented on my blog when I made the almond feta that it has a cheesecake texture. I definitely want to try making it into a cheesecake!

  15. Thanks so much for the comments :-) The spring roll or wonton wrappers work great here, hope you like it!

  16. Just made this for tea, and it was divine. Definately one to repeat. Thanks

  17. Where is the recipe for the "feta?" This looks so good, but I can't find the feta! Do you ever use frozen spinach?

  18. Hi! It's linked to in the recipe, just click on "recipe almond feta" - I've put it in bold and italics to make it easier to see, my new template isn't showing my links very well!

    I've never used frozen spinach for this as I prefer fresh but you could easily use it, not sure how much though, you might just have to eyeball it :-)

  19. Edit - actually I've changed the link colour altogether so it's more noticeable now :-)

  20. These tasted great but I had some trouble getting my spring rolls crispy all around. They looked nothing like yours....any suggestions?

  21. Hi! My first thought was to ask if you brushed them with melted margarine before going in the oven. Then I checked my recipe and I see that I said to do that in the write up to the recipe but failed to say it in the recipe itself!! D'oh! Sorry about that, if you didn't brush them with either melted margarine or oil that would be the reason.

    If you did, the only other thing I could think of is that all ovens vary wildly in temperature and perhaps they just needed to be cooked longer or at a higher temperature than mine were.

    At any rate, I will edit this post to make the brushing with margarine or oil step more clear :-) Apologies!!

  22. I made this tonight. I'm new to being a vegan and have never been much of a cook but I've figured out I have to be more adventurous when I'm really missing something I used to love that wasn't vegan. It's not usually much of an issue since I've been semi-vegetarian for a long time, but sometimes the egg-cheese-dairy thing still stumps me.

    I made it the "fast" way, without cooking the almond feta (in part because I don't have or know exactly where to get cheese cloth--did I mention I don't cook much?). I used filo dough and it was the first time I've ever used filo dough--and I am very glad you mentioned to keep it covered with something damp because, eesh, no joke does it dry out fast! I definitely would have ended up with filo-flakes. I used frozen spinach (not as good as fresh, but always on hand in the freezer) and just tried to add enough to make my filling mixture look like your picture. I also quartered the recipe because I didn't need so much and didn't want to waste the ingredients if I totally made a mess of it, but I still ended up with two good sized servings.

    And for all of that--it was delicious! Thank you so much for this recipe, it was awesome, and if even a total novice in the kitchen could manage to get something not only "edible" but actually yummy, it HAS to be good. :)

    1. Sorry for the late posting of your comment Jen, I was on holiday. So glad you liked it and had no problems with it. I do find it's a very adaptable recipe and can take a lot of modifications :-) Thanks so much for the comment!

  23. I want to be vegan, but I'm having trouble since I'm not a great cook to begin with. This was my first 'vegan' recipe and it was a huge hit. My husband swears that it is better than 'real' spanakopita. This was very encouraging and just what I needed show me that I can do this! Thank you!

    1. That's fantastic! Thanks so much for the comment and I'm glad it was a hit :-)

  24. Great recipe - I found that adding 1-2 tsp of nutritional yeast to the "feta" sauce (on the quick recipe), really added a great depth of flavour.

    1. Great idea! (I have a serious nutritional yeast addiction so can totally get on board with that) :-)

  25. I absolutely love this recipe! So much so that I just shared it on my blog thank you so much for coming up with almond feta! I love it! Karen

  26. I'm making this today for a few people who are curious about veganism. Thankyou so much for inventing it!! It is such a great recipe! I have made this quite a few times before, and it always gets eaten in about 5 seconds flat! Plenty of people don't realize that it is vegan, and have asked me what cheese is in it! :D
    Eve x.

    1. Hi Eve! Thanks for the comment, that's great to hear. It really is hard to imagine there's no cheese in this :-)

  27. Oh by the way- I use your almond feat to make Glamorgan sausages as well! They are welsh sausages usually made with caerphilly cheese, leeks and breadcrumbs, pan fried. Although caerphilly is a lot sharper than almond feta, if you slightly culture the almond feta overnight (while its in the cheesecloth), using a probiotic capsule, it gets a sharper flavour without adding more lemon. I think there is a recipe for the glamorgan sausages on bbc food, a hairy bikers one i think! I based mine on that (I used a thin chickpea and water batter instead of egg to coat the sausages in breadcrumbs). The hairy bikers use egg to bind the ingredients together as well, but i found that, as almond feta is softer than caerphilly, this was not needed! I hope you like my idea, Eve x

    1. Ah, that's a great idea to use the almond feta for Glamorgan sausages! I recently blogged my take on Glamorgan sausages using my vegan parmesan:


      ....but I will try with the feta as well. I can imagine the flavour and texture working beautifully there. Many thanks! ♥


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