It took me a very long time to realize that I should make spanakopita at home. It’s one of those things that is so easy to replicate in a successful way but it just never crossed my mind. I committed to making it and bought tons of spinach and then couldn’t find the phyllo dough anywhere. I don’t know why it was so difficult to find. I suspect that most of the places that I went to had it but that it was hidden somewhere in the frozen section and I just kept walking past it over and over again. Eventually though, a helpful employee pointed me to the right aisle and I was off on my spanakopita adventure.
There are a few things to keep in mind when making spanakopita.
1- You need a ridiculous amount of spinach to make a decent amount spanakopita (I always freeze mine since it takes a bit of effort to wrap them up and on top of it, they freeze wonderfully). Because it took me so long to find the phyllo dough, I had four bunches of spinach taking over half of an entire shelf of my fridge for almost a week. Even with four bunches of spinach, I was kind of disappointed with the amount of filling that this recipe yielded. I got 15 medium sized spanakopita (about 3×3 inches) out of it, but would have liked more.
2- Take the time to drain your filling. Spinach releases so much water while it cooks and soggy filling = soggy spanakopita. It is definitely a necessary step for a successful dish.
3- Dill gives spanakopita its unique flavour (who knew?). Don’t leave it out!
This is exactly the kind of thing that I like to stash away in the freezer. It’s easy to throw in the oven for 20 minutes and have a warm, satisfying meal (paired with salad or another vegetable- it’s not enough on its own).
In the biggest pan you have, heat up olive oil.
Add garlic and cook until it starts to turn golden brown.
Add spinach and cook until wilted. You may have to do this in batches depending on how big your pan is.
Once all spinach is wilted, transfer to a colander and let drain for about 10 minutes.
Once spinach is drained and cooled down, use your hands to squeeze out any extra liquid in the spinach.
Chop spinach finely.
In a large bowl combine chopped spinach, lemon, dill, feta, salt and black pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Put some water in a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375F.
Lay out 2-4 phyllo dough sheets (I used 2 and it is super, super thin. If you enjoy more dough you can go up to 4).
Cut phyllo dough into 4 x 4 inch squares. Add 2-3 tablespoons of filling. Wrap phyllo dough around filling, using the water to 'glue' the phyllo dough down.
If you are baking these right away, brush with melted butter and bake on a parchment paper covered baking tray for about 20 minutes (until golden brown).
If you are freezing them, place them on a baking tray until frozen. Wrap in saran wrap and transfer to a plastic bag.
Add a few minutes to cooking time when cooking from frozen.