I was introduced to Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie) about four or five years ago by a co-worker. She was Greek and often made this pie, plus other amazing Greek delights, for family dinners. Occasionally she would bring left-over Spanakopita into work to share with us, which wasn’t too often as her family would always eat it. But when she did bring some in, I enjoyed every mouthful immensely.
A couple of years later I was watching a food show on SBS where they made Spanakopita. It looked so easy that I knew I just had to try it for myself. I adapted the recipe a little to my own taste. Not only was it an easy recipe but it tasted just as good as I remember, if not better!
This time when I had a craving for my spinach and ricotta pie, I thought I’d make triangles instead. Triangles are not only the perfect size for a (single) snack but perfect when baking for the whole family. My spinach and ricotta triangles are such a better option than a whole pie as they freeze and bake really well. As I’ve gone back to school 3 days a week, preparing our weeknight meals over the weekend makes my life a little easier, especially when school finishes late.
As you may know, I made my own ricotta last weekend which was fantastic. Adding my homemade ricotta to my triangles gave me extra feeling of joy and fulfilment as I took my first bite. I loved that I had a go at making my own ricotta and I’ll happily make it again in a heartbeat. If you like ricotta and eat it regularly, give this recipe a try – it’s so easy!
Chard or kale are very popular green leafy vegetables that could also be used in replacement of spinach, if you prefer. I’m not a fan of either as they’re quite bitter for me but feel free to experiment. I’d love to hear how it turned out for you.
Spinach (Spinacia oleracea) is an herbaceous edible plant which is native to central and south-western Asia. It is cultivated worldwide and it’s in season during autumn and winter in Australia. Spinach is available loose, in bunches, tinned or frozen and can be eaten raw or cooked. Spinach is extremely high in nutritional value and is rich in antioxidants, which, studies have shown, may help combat cancer and is good for eye health. Spinach has also been found to have anti-ageing properties. It is a good source of vitamins A, B2, C and K, and also contains magnesium, manganese, folate, iron, calcium and potassium. A recent study found a bowl of spinach every day increases muscle efficiency – which is why Popeye was such a big fan! Thank you to Body & Soul Australia for this information.
TIP 1: You don’t need to cook the spinach prior to adding into the pie or triangles. Ensure the spinach is well washed and thoroughly dried before adding to the pastry though, as excess moisture and pastry don’t mix.
TIP 2: Don’t be scared that the spinach is prepared a day in advance. This ensures there’s absolutely no excess moisture left on/in the spinach. If you feel you can dry your spinach thoroughly before adding the wet ingredients, go ahead. The spinach should not be wet at all or otherwise it will make your puff pastry soggy while cooking. To ensure the spinach dries completely, I placed it in an airtight container in the fridge over night. Before putting the triangles together, ensure the spinach comes to room temperature.
TIP 3: Frozen puff pastry can be defrosted and re-frozen just the once. You will still get plenty of puff when you bake them. If using filo pastry, don’t freeze it prior to making the pie or triangles as it easily breaks – keep your filo pastry in the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature before constructing.
TIP 4: Remove inner stem from the spinach leaf prior to finely slicing. The stem can still have a bitter taste and they hold a lot of moisture. See my photos of how to remove the leaf stem below.
TIP 5: This recipe makes 28 triangles, enough to freeze for later meals or snacks. If you want to make a smaller amount or not freeze any, divide ingredient amounts in half to feed a family of four for dinner.
PREP: 1 day (spinach washed, dried & shredded) + 1 hour to make triangles
COOK: 12-15 minutes MAKES: 28 triangles
2 bunches spinach, (stems cut off 375-380grams), washed, dried and finely shredded
315 grams ricotta, roughly mashed with a fork
100 grams feta, crumbled
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
½ teaspoon salt
7-8 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
Heat oven to 220°C (425°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper and keep aside until needed.
In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the ricotta, feta and parmesan.
With a fork, mix in the eggs and salt with the cheeses.
In 3-4 batches, use your hands to add the spinach with the cheese and egg until well combined. Set aside until needed.
Place a sheet of puff pastry on a cutting board and cut into four even squares.
Remove one square and fill half the square, on the diagonal, with one-two teaspoons of spinach & cheese mixture.
Fold in half to form a triangle and seal with a fork. Gently prick the top of the triangle with the fork, to allow excess moisture to escape while baking.
Place on the *baking tray. Repeat process until all pastry sheets and mixture has been used.
Turn the oven temperature to 200°C (390°F) and place the tray of triangles in the oven, on the second shelf, for 12-15 minutes, depending on your oven (fan forced oven about 12 minutes).
Remove and serve immediately with your favourite vegetables or salad.
*If freezing, wrap the spinach & ricotta triangles, individually, in plastic and freeze. Place in a large sealable bag and keep frozen until needed. Don’t thaw before baking – place them straight onto a lined baking tray and bake as per above instructions.
I have just been featured on Bake, Play, Create’s featured recipe of the week – so exciting! Thank you for your support Lauren. Love a great food party!
As seen on Bake, Play, Smile Foodie Friday #12. Thank you Lucy for some great inspirational recipes. Hope to see you there.