Vegan spanakopita triangles

Vegan spanakopita triangles

vegan spanakopita triangles plate

I bet that when you think of Greek food, spanakopita is one the first dishes that springs to mind. Greeks make all sorts of delicious pies, but spanakopita is world famous for a reason – it has flaky and crispy golden pastry with a spinach and feta cheese filling seasoned with nutmeg and herbs. When made with love and care, it is the stuff of dreams.

On Paros, there is one pie shop in particular, run by a charming Giorgios that has become something of a local institution. Its appearance may be unassuming but the pies are out of this world – made with homemade pastry with well balanced filling and always fresh (often made on request while you wait and chat to the owner – that’s the Greek way! 🙂 ). We take all our guests there to make sure they have a quality Greek pie experience before they leave the island.

Whilst Giorgios is lovely and very accommodating, I am pretty sure that asking him to make me a vegan pie would blow his mind, as a traditionally made pie contains a prolific amount of butter, some egg to bind the filling mixture and feta cheese.

Turning vegan has motivated me to learn how to make vegan spanakopita myself to satisfy my cravings. It really isn’t that hard provided you use a shop-bought pastry as I would not dream of making my own. I’m not Giorgios 😉 and don’t make pies for a living.

I made my filling with my vegan ricotta that I posted a while back (recipe here) and even though it isn’t feta it works very well in this recipe – Duncan wolfed these down, one after another, going on about how great the filling was. I recommend making the ricotta for the filling, but if you are short on time, you could also use a very well seasoned crumbled tofu instead (see NOTES).

Today’s recipe is for vegan spanakopitakia (or mini pies) but I will be posting a grown up version soon too 😉 . These cute vegan spanakopita triangles make a perfect appetiser, are great for dinner parties and potlucks so I thought the recipe may come in handy in the pre-holiday season. Kalí órexi (enjoy!) to you all! 🙂

making vegan spanakopita triangles

vegan spanakopita triangles baking tray

vegan spanakopita triangles

vegan spanakopita triangles close up

makes
24 triangles
PREP
60 min
COOKING
20 min
makes
24 triangles
PREPARATION
60 min
COOKING
20 min
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + more for brushing
  • 300 g / 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 3 tbsp (loosely packed) dill
  • ½ cup my vegan ricotta cheese (SEE NOTES)
  • 1 tsp dried mint (or approx. 1 tbsp fresh)
  • ¾ tsp fine sea salt* (SEE NOTES)
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ cup fine breadcrumbs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 10 sheets vegan (a lot of them are!) phyllo pastry, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp reduced** aquafaba
  • black and white sesame seeds, for decorating
METHOD
  1. Blanch clean spinach in a pot of boiling water (see how here). Immerse in ice cold water (optional) immediately after to preserve the beautiful green colour.
  2. Heat up 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add sliced spring onions and fry gently, until soft. Add diced garlic and fry on a low-medium heat until translucent and fragrant.
  3. Squeeze the water from the blanched spinach really well using your hands. Go over the spinach twice or even three times to get it as dry as possible. Chop it and add to the pan.
  4. Season with pepper, lemon zest and juice, nutmeg, nutritional yeast (if using) dried mint and dill. Let the mixture cool down completely before adding vegan cheese.
  5. Add vegan cheese to the mixture and stir around well. Season with salt depending on whether you used my ricotta or the tofu option (below). I used ¾ tsp of salt in mine.
  6. Heat up the oven to 175° C / 350° F.
  7. Prepare a small bowl with olive oil, a pastry brush, a bowl of breadcrumbs, a bowl with aquafaba and one with sesame seeds (if using).
  8. Before you roll out the pastry, measure the length of the roll. Trim ends off as they tend to be dry and therefore brittle and divide the entire roll into as many 6.5 cm / 2.5 in wide segments as you can. Use a pencil to make the markings on the paper that is wrapping the pastry. Cut off the first segments (no need to peel the paper off before cutting) and keep the rest covered with a damp kitchen towel as phyllo pastry dries up and cracks easily.
  9. Unwrap the first segment and place the first strip on a table ahead of you, keep the rest under the damp towel. LIGHTLY brush it with olive oil (you don’t want the pastry to be oily), sprinkle with a bit of salt (optional, but I found that necessary) and a little of the breadcrumbs so that the pastry layers do not stick to each other and the pastry stays crunchy. Now, place another strip on top of the first one and brush it lightly with oil again.
  10. Place a heaped teaspoon (do not overfill the triangles) of filling at the bottom of each strip and then start folding the pastry around the filling as per the photos in the post.
  11. Seal the triangle with a dab of olive oil. Place on a baking tray (no need to grease it) under a damp kitchen towel. Continue until you use up all of the filling or pastry sheets.
  12. Brush the tops of the triangles with reduced aquafaba and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden.

NOTES
* If you don’t want to make my vegan ricotta cheese for the filling, you could use firm tofu instead. The best way to do that is to drain 200 g tofu, freeze it for a day and defrost it first – this will make the tofu more crumbly. Crumble the tofu into a bowl, season with plenty of soy sauce, lemon juice, some white miso and pepper. It will produce a less creamy texture but it tastes nice too and requires a bit less effort.

With regards to salt, please judge it yourself as the ‘vegan cheese’ you use will affect how much salt is needed. I used my vegan ricotta (recipe here) and felt that the mixture needed an additional ¾ tsp of salt.

** Reduced aquafaba simply means simmered, without a lid on, until excess water evaporates and aquafaba becomes like an egg white. Please cool it down completely before using as an egg wash.

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NUTRITIONAL INFO
calories
54
3%
sugars
0 g
0%
fats
2 g
4%
saturates
1 g
3%
proteins
2 g
3%
carbs
7 g
3%
*per triangle
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5.0
2 reviews, 14 comments
REVIEWS & QUESTIONS
Jess Crouch:
These are so delicious! I didn't have enough fresh spinach so substituted for the same weight of frozen. It looked like a lot to begin with but once blended with the other ingredients was beautifully balanced. I didn't have time to reduce the aquafaba so used melted nuttelex which worked well. Your vegan ricotta recipe worked so well in them too. They were a little fiddly but well worth the effort :)
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Jess! I'm really happy to hear that you enjoyed them and thank you for taking the time to let me know - much appreciated. x Ania
Laana:
Turned out delicious even though it was time consuming and frustrating to make 😅! Phylo dough is so tricky, every time I do something with it I swear it's the last time, but here I'm again. There's just something about that flaky crispy goodness! I used your sunflower feta in this recipe and it worked great! I was about to make theese pies into rolls, but your version was so much prettier and easier to make. Thank you for a great recipe!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thank you, Lana - great to hear that you enjoyed these! And if you are finding phyllo difficult to work with perhaps it dries out too much? The best thing to do is to keep it in a stack underneath a damp kitchen towel while you work. x Ania
Janet:
Thank you Ania for this lovely recipe. I do have a question . How many sheets do I use for each spanakopita ? Is the 10 sheets for each or just 2? Thank you Happy New Year let’s hope 2021 will be much better year! Sincerely Jan
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Janet,I used 2 layers of pastry per triangle, if that's want you mean. Adding 1 more layer is not an bad idea if you can afford it pastry-wise, but 10 would be an overkill as bear in mind that the pastry gets folded around the filling a few times so you end up with more than 2 layers of pastry in the final product. Hope you'll enjoy these! Happy New Year to you and your loved ones too! x Ania
Grace:
If I wanted to make thia with frozen spinach (thawed & drained well) - how much would I need vs the fresh?Thanks,Grace
    Ania
    Ania:
    I'm sorry, but I don't know. I've always made this with fresh spinach. Ania
Lisa:
hello! I'm planning on making these for a work morning tea next week. Is it possible to freeze them? That is, make up to assembling stage, freeze, and then cook on the morning I will be serving?
    Ania
    Ania:
    Hi Lisa,I haven't tried that myself if I'm honest, but it should be okay. Alternatively, you could bake them fully, freeze and then re-heat. Ania
Johanne:
Ania, These golden spanakopita look perfection. I need to try that ricotta recipe. My dad always made big batches of spanakopita and froze them . It was terribly easy to pop them in the oven when guests arrived and fill the house with that buttery cheesy fragrance. The best part was the long afternoons of drinking coffee and folding dough together. Johanne
    Ania
    Ania:
    Thanks so much, Johanne! Hope you'll try them and like them. I agree having company when making pies or dumplings and maybe a cheeky glass of wine too ;) makes it so much more fun! :)
Kate:
I used to love these when i visited Greece (when i was a vegetarian) so i'm super excited to see this recipe now that i'm a vegan! Will definitely be trying these.
    Ania
    Ania:
    That makes me really happy, Kate! Hope you'll love them! :) Ania
Emily Frank:
This looks completely swoon-worthy. I've already got Thanksgiving planned, but this will likely show up on the table at Christmas!
    Ania
    Ania:
    Aw, thanks so much Emily - that's so nice to hear. Hope you and your guests will like them :) x
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