Spanakopita, meaning Spinach Pie in Greek, is one of Greece’s signature dishes. It is either made into a pie and cut into slices or prepared as small bite-size pastries.
The filling is mainly made with spinach and feta or Kefalotyri cheese, but every household has their own take on the remaining ingredients, whether it has leeks instead of spring onions; more dill and less parsley; an extra herb like mint, etc. I’ve added some ricotta cheese to give it extra creaminess which works well with all the aromatic herbs and seasonings.
The pastry used is the infamous leaf-thin filo pastry (aka phyllo, meaning leaf in Greek) which is usually sold ready-made with gluten. As it is a tricky pastry to make very thin without gluten, very few food manufacturers have come up with a gluten-free filo pastry.
Homemade gluten-free filo pastry:
Making homemade gluten-free filo is possible and turns out crispy and close to the real thing. It tastes great brushed with either melted butter or olive oil. It certainly had that crunch, but you do need to eat them warm, as they do lose their crispiness when they go stone-cold.
How large are spanakopita pastries?
I have made countless spanakopita pastries using my gluten-free filo, creating many different sizes depending on how large I create the circle in the pan. This is why I haven’t given out exact measurements, as that can be left up to you on how small or large you want your pastries.
Can you freeze spanakopitas?
They freeze well, so if you have made too many, pack them snuggly into a baking tray uncooked and cover them with plastic film several times. They can be cooked straight from frozen in the same baking tray providing you brush the tops with some melted butter or olive oil before baking. This is great to have handy for those unexpected visitors.
If you have extra filling, this freezes well on its own in an airtight container.
How do you assemble spanakopita?
Practice makes perfect! When it comes to assembling the spanakopita pastries, you will probably mess up the first few attempts, but don’t give up, you’ll get better and faster. If you need more guidance, watch my YouTube video below to see how each step is done.
For the gluten-free filo pastry:
- 200g store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 60g sorghum flour
- 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 500ml warm water
- 80g melted butter, for brushing the pastry
For the spinach filling:
- 330g fresh or frozen spinach leaves, chopped finely & drained
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 spring onions, finely chopped (soaked in cold water)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (optional)
- 300g feta cheese, crumbled
- 250g ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade gluten-free plain flour
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- Salt & black pepper, to season
- Start making the filo pastry by mixing the flours, xanthan gum and salt together in a medium bowl.
7. Pour a large serving spoon of batter in the middle of the dry pan and use the back of the spoon to spread the batter out into a circle shape.
8. Use a spatula or crepe spreader to spread the batter out more. Add small amounts of batter at the edges if the circle needs to be larger. Spread it out thinly each time more batter is added.
9. Allow to cook for around 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sides start to crisp up and the pastry is easy to remove without sticking to the pan.
10. Transfer the pastry to a sheet of baking paper and either cut the pastry in half using a knife, brush the top facing side with melted butter and place one half on top of the other half to form a semi-circle pastry. Alternatively, fold it in half after brushing it with melted butter (as shown in the video).
11. Place a generous tablespoon of spinach filling on the bottom half of the semi-circle pastry and fold over to the middle, pressing down firmly.
12. Brush the folded part with butter and fold again. Brush with more butter and transfer to a lined baking tray.
14. Either bake the spanakopita closely together in a baking tin (as shown in the photo) or separately on a baking tray (as in the video).
- Makes 40 small spanakopitas
- Keeps for 3 days chilled
- Best eaten warm. Reheat in the oven for 5 minutes covered with foil.
- Uncooked spanakopitas can be frozen. Bake directly from frozen
- Olive oil can be used to brush the filo pastry instead of butter.
- Sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of each pastry if you like before baking.