Hello! How have your Holidays been so far this year? Mine have been terribly busy. And also quite frankly, a smidgen frustrating...I'm looking at you, UPS, Shutterfly, and West Elm! However, there were times of relaxation that included walks in the snow and watching Dracula on Hulu. You know, the one on NBC with Jonathan Rhys Meyers? How they are allowed to show that on normal television is waaaay beyond me, but after watching The Tudors, I'm down for anything with Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Even if it is watching scary Dracula...around Christmastime. Oh well. If you haven't seen either of these shows, first, shame on you. And second, what are you waiting for?! For Christmas morning brunch at my Grandparents' house, I made this. Sooooo amazing. And for Christmas dinner I brought along my favorite drink ever and this Spanakopita! Spank-eee-o-pita. I was informed this is not the correct pronunciation of this dish. It's spa-na-ko-pi-ta, which, now that I look at it...makes a lot more sense. I have no idea where I got my pronunciation of it.
My family never made this dish, growing up. Honestly, I think I've only had it a couple times. My BFF used to make it a lot and I remember liking it, though I obviously never learned how to properly pronounce it. I had some leftover phyllo dough in the fridge, which of course, I couldn't bear to waste and I thought might be a sign that it was time to take on the spank-eee-o-pita.
Traditionally, I believe it involves feta. But don't freta (hah hah hah), feta doesn't make an appearance in this spanakopita! The flavor and texture of feta, however, is mimicked by a combination of chickpeas, nutritional yeast, tahini, vinegar, and lemon juice. Yes, this dish has all the wonderful flavors of the traditional, but with a little more benevolence. It's friendlier to the earth, to the cows, the chickens and to your body! I should've called it Friendly Spanakopita!
- 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 8 green onion stalks, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 10 oz. frozen chopped spinach packages, thawed
- 1 15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained, rinsed and mashed
- 3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup kalamata olives, de-pitted and chopped
- 1/3 cup tahini
- 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 Tbsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, juiced (divided into 1/4 cup and remainder)
- 12 phyllo dough sheets
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add in the chopped onion and green onions and saute for a few minutes, until the onions have started to soften. Now, add in the garlic and continue to saute a few more minutes, until the onions have become translucent.
Add the spinach to the onion mixture and turn the heat up to medium. Allow the spinach to cook until all the water has evaporated, stirring occasionally. This will take some time, about 10 minutes or so. Meanwhile, mash up the chickpeas.
Once all the water is gone, add in the rest of the filling ingredients, including the remainder of the lemon juice once 1/4 cup has been set aside, but excluding the phyllo dough. Combine well and allow to cook for another 5-10 minutes, until thoroughly heated while stirring occasionally.
See my reindeer dish towel?? Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 F and whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with a nonstick cooking spray and place one sheet of the phyllo dough on the bottom of the pan. Lightly brush with the glaze to coat, then place another sheet on top of that and glaze. Repeat with an additional four sheets. There should now be six sheets stacked, total.
Now, spoon the filling into the dish and smooth over so it's even, ensuring to fill the corners. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on top of the filling and continue the glazing process with the other half of the phyllo dough sheets. There should now be six on the bottom of the dish, followed by the filling, followed by six more phyllo dough sheets. Be sure to brush the very top sheet and even spray it with some nonstick cooking spray.
Bake for about 35 minutes at 350 F. Remove from oven and allow to rest for five minutes.
Wiggling to George Ezra – Budapest
[yumprint-recipe id='56']Adapted from Virtually Vegan Mama