Put a Little Greek into Your Holiday Party: Spanakopita Recipe

ysm SpanakopitaBetween Thanksgiving and Christmas, you and your loved ones are sure to attend multiple parties around town, or maybe even the country. Between all of these parties you will surely be asked to bring something to share. Look no further, this is a great traditional appetizer that is packed with eye healthy ingredients and loaded with flavor that will have everyone wanting your recipe.

Spinach is a great food to add to your diet for countless reasons, but especially for keeping your eyes healthy. It is full of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two essential compounds to help guard your eyes from damage. These compounds form together in the retina at the macula, and produce a yellow, oily substance called macular pigment. Macular pigment forms a barrier and protects against macular degeneration. Macular pigment is derived from nutrients that we consume, wholly from our diet. So the more foods we consume that have lutein and zeaxanthin within them, the more they will help our eyes produce this pigment, which greatly decreases our rate of degeneration in the eyes.

Spanakopita is a traditional Greek dish containing spinach, garlic, shallots, feta and other spices that can commonly be found at many parties throughout the world. They are like mini pies, with a very crisp, crunchy crust due to the Phyllo dough used to encase the delicious ingredients. It’s a great dish to make ahead of time and warm up when ready to be served making it a delicious option for any holiday party you may go to this season.

 

Spanakopita

Ingredients

  • 1 package Phyllo dough, thawed, unrolled and placed under a wet cloth
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and well drained
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup Feta cheese, crushed
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon pepper
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Thaw Phyllo. Make sure that you keep under wet cloth or it will dry out and be very brittle.
  3. Drain Spinach
  4. Add a tablespoon of oil to a sauté pan along with, garlic, shallot and chili flakes. Cook until fragrant.
  5. Add to large bowl and combine with spinach. Add both cheeses, nutmeg, lemon juice and zest and salt and pepper. Season to taste.
  6. Add a tablespoon of filling to top of Phyllo sheet. Using either a knife or pizza cutter cut long strip down from filling resulting in a ribbon of dough with filling at top.
  7. Brush with olive oil lightly and slowly fold into small triangles, starting with the filling portion all the way down the dough like a paper football. Once you are at the end, you will have a small triangle shaped dough with the filling wrapped up in the middle. Finish doing this with the remaining dough and filling, and seal them with olive oil. Set on a baking tray with the sealed side down on parchment paper.
  8. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes until golden and crispy.

*These may also be frozen and baked at a later time.