Spanakopita Pie Recipe – Dairy Free & Vegan

Spanakopita is a Greek dish, although it’s origin is Turkish where they make a very similar dish called ispanaki. It belongs to the burek family of pastries and is usually made as a triangle of filo pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese, amongst other things. I used it as inspiration to make this into a large pie and add other Mediterranean ingredients making a dish perfect for entertaining guests who will not even miss any meat or dairy in this tasty vegan treat. You can use this dairy free vegan ricotta recipe as a substitute for feta cheese or simply substitute with firm tofu. Serve with Greek salad and/or tzatziki and you will be onto a winner, especially if you have friends round.

Spanakopita Pie Recipe – Dairy Free & Vegan
Yield: 6 Servings
Difficulty: Easy
Cooking time:
Metric
US/Cups

Ingredients

  • 400 g frozen spinach (thawed)
  • 375 g freshly made dairy free ricotta or firm tofu, crumbled
  • 100 g sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 40 g pine nuts
  • 250 g filo pastry
  • 1 red onion
  • 100 ml olive oil for brushing
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp chick pea (garam) flour
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 14 oz frozen spinach (thawed)
  • 13 oz freshly made dairy free ricotta or firm tofu, crumbled
  • 3½ oz sun dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1½ oz pine nuts
  • 9 oz filo pastry
  • 1 red onion
  • 6½ tbsp olive oil for brushing
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 4 tbsp chick pea (garam) flour
  • 6 tbsp water

Instructions

  1. Warm up a pan and and once hot add the pine nuts. These need a couple of minutes at most to start releasing their flavour. When you can smell them it means that they are done, set to one side.
  2. Finely chop the red onion and sweat in about 1 tbsp of olive oil until tender.
  3. Put the thawed spinach in a clean cloth, or several layers of kitchen paper and squeeze tightly until all the water is released. You could use fresh spinach and wilt, but quite frankly I see no point in the extra work when frozen spinach is a great thing to have in the freezer, there is no difference in taste or texture and personally I am not averse to using this kind of short-cut.
  4. Add this to a large bowl with the onion and dairy free ricotta / tofu and mix well. If you are using tofu you can add a squeeze of lemon and some nutritional yeast to give it more flavour.
  5. Chop the sun dried tomatoes as finely as you can and add, as well as the pine nuts.
  6. In order to bind the mixture we are using chick pea (gram) flour. Add 4 heaped tbsp of flour to about 6 tbsp of water in a cup and mix well. The consistency should be that of beaten eggs.
  7. Add to the bowl with the nutmeg and lemon zest and season well. Stir the mixture to combine all the ingredients and set to one side.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180C (355F) and while that is heating up you can proceed to dealing with the pastry. Filo pastry is very thin and dries up quickly so you need to cover with a tea cloth when you open the pack to stop it from drying out and cracking. I find it is best to use a 22cm (9 inch) spring-form cake tin, but you can use any similar measurement dish that has high sides so that you can fill the sheets of pastry without it collapsing.
  9. Brush the bottom and the sides of the tin with oil and add the first sheet so that it covers the bottom and all sides taking care that it doesn’t break, there will be some overhang from one of the sides. Brush the sides and bottom with oil and add the second sheet in the opposite direction, so there is an overhang on the other side. Add the third sheet perpendicularly, and then the same for the forth sheet opposite, oiling between each one. A pack of filo pastry will usually have 6 sheets, so you can add the final two as you did the first two.
  10. Once all the sheets are on the tin, proceed to add the filling which is simple enough. Then comes the covering of the filling. This is done by working the overhang of each sheet of pasty, just fold it in to cover. As there was an overhang from each side, it will enable the pie to be covered completely. Oil between each sheet, and then brush the top with some more oil to brown.
  11. Bake in the oven for between 40-45 minutes. When done allow to cool on a wire rack.

Notes

You can serve this hot or cold, but the Greeks tend to have Spanakopita slightly warm, served with Greek salad or tzatziki.

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