Yiayia’s Spanakopita


2 leaks (cut thinly and cleaned)
2 cups of spinach (chopped)
12 oz of cottage cheese
1.5 cups of good feta cheese (crumble yourself)
2 sticks of butter (melted)
7 eggs (whisked)
2 rolls of phyllo sheets
vegetable oil (to grease the pan)

Set your oven to 350 degrees


1. Prep Your Ingredients

You can skip this step and move to the next if you think that you’re cool enough not to need guidance.

Hi there, noobs (just kidding). First, grab your eggs and whisk them in your prep bowl.

Then, grab the entire leak and lay it parallel to you on your workspace. You are then going to cut the bottom piece off, where all of the roots are sticking out. Leaks are a root vegetable, so that area that you are cutting off lived in the ground for quite a bit! Next, you are going to cut all of the leafy stalk off. In order to find the top of the usable stalk, find the leafy greens and look closely at when it goes from a pale white color to a grainy green texture. Cut where the grainy green texture starts gaining more of the green pigment.

Once you have your usable stalk, start slicing the stalk from the bottom to the top in thin slices. Once you have all of your thin slices, throw them into a bowl with some water and move them around with your hand. You may see some of the dirt left from its growing process in the bowl. Grab the leaks with your hand and pour the water out then grab a paper towel and smush them down to get as much of the water out as you can. Repeat with stalk #2 and throw it into your prep bowl.

Chop your spinach in a rough chop, ensuring that there are no large whole pieces of spinach. Take your spinach, cottage cheese, crumbled feta cheese, and toss it into your prep bowl. Give it a little stir and make sure everything is well mixed and incorporated.

2. Construct the Spanakopita

Grease your pan. If you don’t grease your pan, just turn back now. Don’t go further. It’s not even worth it. GREASE IT!!!!!!!! Not just grease it, but grease it well. Grab your vegetable oil and a basting pasty brush (one of the utensils with the little flingy things at the bottom), and use it to spread the vegetable oil all over the bottom and sides of the pan.

You are going to put three layers of the phyllo dough at the bottom and in between the phyllo dough’s three layers, you are going to grab your washed basting pastry brush and fling some butter across the layer. Don’t go to town on the butter, just a little flinging will do just fine. The phyllo dough is not long enough to cover my pan so I have to use two as one layer in order to cover the pan’s area fully.

After you’re satisfied with your three layers, now you are going to grab a kind-of handful of your mixture and repeat the flinging motion you used with the butter. It’s hard to explain this part. I’ve watched my yiayia do it so many times it’s engrained into my memory. Honestly, watch my Tiktok to see the technique. Then, apply your phyllo sheets to cover one layer of the pan overtop of your mixture. Then, do the flinging of the butter again. Repeat these three steps until your mixture is gone.

Much like the beginning of the pan process, cover the top of your mixture with three sheets of phyllo dough. Remember, that doesn’t mean literally three sheets, but to cover the area of the pan so more like 6 sheets. Then, flinging butter technique on the top and sprinkle some water to help with steaming.

Lastly, cut your spanakopita. My yiayia swore by this and I do too. No one wants to get third degree burns by cutting it when it’s out of the oven, and you know you don’t have the self control to resist. Do you!? No. Cut 6 cuts vertically and 9 cuts horizontally (or whichever size you prefer).

Once you put it in your 350 degree oven, keep an eye on it. You’re going to keep it in for an hour and a half. I usually go thirty minutes before I cover the top in tin foil. You’ll know its to that point when it gets this really lovely golden color.

Then, you’re ready to eat. From my ancestors to your family, enjoy!

In loving memory of my yiayia, Nia. May your memory be eternal.

What is spanakopita?

Spanakopita is a traditional recipe originating in Greece. It is a spinach feta pie filled with a few key ingredients that produce it’s overall delicious texture and flaky phyllo “filo” crust. Sometimes this baked spanakopita recipe is created in greek cheese pie triangles though that is not how my yiayia did it. I do have family members that create it this way, but I find the phyllo dough ratio to spanakopita filling to be too much.

Is spanakopita healthy?

Good question. I think if you’re optimistic then it can definitely be healthy. The majority of the spanakopita nutritional ingredients are phyllo dough, spinach, eggs, and leaks. The leaks and the spinach are definitely healthy. Eggs have protein! So, boom, healthy, relatively.