Spanakopita (Cheese and Spinach Pie)

This recipe is taken from a book called "Australian Speciality Cheese Book" by Margaret Hill, and appears to have been published by Regency Publications and Lactos Pty. Limited in 1998. I was for a few years a "cheese taster" with Lactos so it may be that is how I got the book and it was not available to the general public.

This well known Greek dish is fantastic. Just serve it with a green salad.

  • 1 kg of spinach (I use two bunches, because the coarser stalks get the flick)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 250 gms Fetta cheese, crumbled
  • 250 gms Cottage cheese
  • 30 gms (¼ cup) Parmesan or Kefalotiri cheese, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly milled black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Parsley, leaves picked and chopped (I use a lot as I like it and it is available in the garden. The original recipe only mentions parsley as an afterthought)
  • Filo pastry sheets (out of the freezer, defrosting — it doesn't take long)
  • Olive oil for the pastry

The spinach requires careful washing and trimming. The leaves are then chopped roughly, placed in a colander and spinkled with salt and allowed to stand for an hour, after which you squeeze out as much water as you can. I actually microwave the leaves before letting them stand in the colander, and then chop them.

Preheat the oven to moderate (180°C).

Saute the onion in the oil for five minutes or so, then let stand to cool.

In a large bowl, mix the cheeses, onion, eggs (there is no reason to beat them prior to this stage), spinach, parsley, pepper and nutmeg.

Now it is time to assemble the pie. I have a square (8½″ or about 22 cms) dull metal cake tin which is quite deep that I use, and each sheet of filo that I have is more than twice as big as the base. I start by brushing the pan with oil, and then I oil a sheet of filo and double it over. I do this five times (ten thicknesses)and stack them which gives me a strong base to slide into the tin. Each side then gets one sheet of filo, suitably oiled, and folded effectively three times (eight thicknesses) to get a rectangular side. Everything for me overlaps nicely. Then put all the goo in, and make a lid using say four sheets (giving eight thicknesses). Fold the edges over the top, and make sure everything is oiled. With a sharp knife cut diagonal parallel lines in the top (presumably to stop it exploding as well as being pretty.

Bake for about forty minutes until golden brown.

I unmold this by putting a cake rack on top of the pan and inverting, and then repeating with a chopping board on which it will be taken to the table.


  • Use extra virgin olive oil.
  • It is easier to use slightly warm water to wash the spinach - the grit is easier to remove. And spinach can be really dirty!
  • I sometimes use more cheese and it doesn't seem to make any difference.
  • You can use silverbeet (including the stalks), but it isn't as good.
  • I suppose frozen spinach would be OK but I can't vouch for it.


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