Enjoy spanakopitakia — baby cousins of the Greek spinach pie — on the go as a midday snack

This is the book that everyone has thought about writing based on their mother’s or their grandma’s out-of-this-world recipes but has not yet written. I did it for all of us out there who simply don’t have the time, the energy, the patience, the wherewithal, nor the skills to take on such a passion project. This cookbook is a gift to all of you. I also did it for my mama’s legacy. 

Call me selfish, but I want someone to pick up this cookbook—say 500 years from now—and make her recipes, which I know will stand the test of time. Her meals are magical. Delicious. Palatable. Full of life. My 88-year-old mother lives for kitchen-table visits from hungry strangers from all walks of life just for the pleasure of stuffing their bellies with her exceptional fare until they can’t eat any more.

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So for one year, I braved a series of intense hands-on cooking demos with my Greek mama to capture an oral history of her gastronomical treasure trove. And the result is My Big Fat Greek Cookbook. With that in mind, I present to you four simple, mouth-watering meals. Remember, this is just a taste of my mother’s cooking prowess . . . You’ll just have to pick up the cookbook to find out how it all ends. With eighteen dessert recipes, of course.

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Enjoy spanakopitakia (baby cousins of the spinach pie) on the go as a mid-morning or midday snack. Combine it with any Greek dip—tzatziki, skordalia, tarama, tirokafteri or melitzanosalata—for a colorful rainbow of delights.

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Recipe: Spinach Pie Triangles (Spanakopitakia) 

Prep: 1 h

Bake: 30 min

Ready in: 1 h 30 min

Serves: 8 

For the filling: 

  • 10 ounces (284 grams) spinach 
  • 10 scallion shoots 
  • 2 cups freshly chopped dill 
  • 1 cup freshly crumbled feta cheese 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1/4 cup olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper 

For the phyllo pastry: 

  • 16 ounces (454 grams) phyllo dough sheets
  • Olive oil 

Directions: 

1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a hard boil. 

2. Wash the spinach, scallions, and dill. Do not cut the spinach. Chop the scallions into 1/3-inch bits. Rinse the feta through a strainer to wash off the brine and set aside. 

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3. Toss the scallions and dill into the boiling pot of water. Boil for 2 minutes before adding in the spinach. Stir and boil for another 2 minutes. Thoroughly strain the greens through a colander, and let stand before placing into a large mixing bowl. Crack in the eggs, and toss in the crumbled feta. Combine the olive oil, salt, and pepper, then mix. 

4. Lay out the phyllo dough sheets onto a large cutting board and slice 3-inch-wide strips. Cover the strips with a towel so they don’t dry up. Brush each strip with olive oil, piling 3 strips for use per triangle. Drop a tablespoonful of spinach filling onto the bottom edge of the strips and fold the phyllo over like folding a flag. Repeat with remaining spinach filling and phyllo, and arrange the triangles onto a well-buttered baking sheet. Brush the triangles with olive oil. 

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5. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) on the convection setting. Bake the spanakopitakia for 15 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. (See Conversion Charts at back of book if you have a conventional oven.) Cool and serve with a dip.

Like this recipe as much as we do? Click here to purchase a copy of “My Big Fat Greek Cookbook: Classic Mediterranean Soul Food Recipes.”

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