Spanakopita has always intimidated me because, until yesterday, I had never used filo pastry sheets before. But I assure you! It could not be easier! Please try this recipe at home-for a first-time filo pastry sheet user, this recipe took me only 30 minutes to make, and then you simply bake them off in the oven for 25 minutes.
Here’s my recipe:
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 package frozen spinach, thawed with excess water removed
1/4 cup Feta cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
The juice from 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
4 sheets filo pastry, thawed
Heat olive oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add onion, and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic and turn off heat (do not want to burn garlic). In a medium sized bowl, combine spinach, Feta, Parmesan, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt, and egg. Stir in onions and garlic. Ok, the filling is done!
Next, take one sheet of filo pastry and orient it like this on the counter:
Spray sheet lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Fold sheet in half, from left to right, like this:
Spray sheet lightly again with nonstick cooking spray. Add 1/4 of the filling to the edge of the filo sheet, like this:
Roll the filling away from you once, so that the filling is covered. Spray with nonstick cooking spray, and fold edges in (burrito style!). Continue to roll until your spanakopita burrito is finished, and place on baking sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Repeat process with next three spanakopita rolls.Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, and enjoy! Delicious and filling dinner :)
Why: Spinach is extremely high in Vitamin A, which I have discussed in detail in my Sweet Potato and Spinach Risotto post- be sure to read that information! Spinach is also an excellent source of Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant which neutralizes free radicals in the body that cause damage to transport molecules in the body, the cell membrane, and even causes damage to DNA, RNA, and many proteins. Vitamin E specifically works to stop the oxidation process in those transport molecules and in our cell membranes, When the transport lipoproteins are oxidized (i.e. when LDL is oxidized), plaque forms more readily in the arteries, which makes the heart work harder to pump blood through the body, leading to hypertension, and later, cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E is critical in protecting the body from oxidation, and therefore protecting the body from chronic diseases. Vitamin E can also be found in dark green vegetables, like broccoli and collard greens, and is also found in egg yolks, nuts, seeds, and the germ part of whole grains (eat your whole grains!).Science information from Understanding Nutrition by Sharon Rolfes and Ellie Whitney.