We try to eat meatless dinners a few times a week, both for health and because it forces me to be creative with vegetables in the kitchen. I came up with this spinach pastry over the weekend by combining a few online recipes, my own ideas, and whatever ingredients we had in the fridge. We both loved it.
Serves 4 as a stand-alone dish, or 6 with sides
– 1 pkg. Puff Pastry (two sheets), thawed according to instructions on box.
– ~3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
– 1/2 Yellow Onion, finely chopped
– 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
– 1/3 cup Walnuts, finely chopped
– 6 cups/~9 oz. fresh Spinach, washed and well drained
– 2 Eggs, beaten
– ~ 1/3 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled, or a similar goat cheese
– ~ 1/8 cup Parmesan Cheese, shredded
– ~ 1/8 cup Ricotta Cheese
– Salt and Pepper, to taste
– 1 Egg, beaten (for pastry wash)
Pre-heat oven to 375. Grease a large cookie/baking sheet.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat, add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and translucent. Add garlic and walnuts and cook another minute or two to soften garlic and toast walnuts.
Make sure spinach is well drained, then hold it on a cutting board by large fistfuls and slice into 1/4 inch-wide strips. Add to frying pan, reduce heat to medium, and continue to stir and turn regularly until all spinach is wilted. If spinach begins to stick or smoke, reduce heat further and add another splash of olive oil. Once all spinach is wilted, remove the pan from the heat.
Place a mesh sieve over the sink or a bowl, scrape spinach mixture into sieve, and drain. Push down on the spinach with the back of a spoon to force out as much moisture as you can. A drippy vegetable mixture will make your pastry soggy. If you don’t have a fine mesh sieve for this step, line a regular colander with a clean loosely woven cloth or dish towel to keep the vegetable mixture from squeezing out the colander holes.
In a medium bowl mix two beaten eggs, crumbled Feta, shredded Parmesan, and Ricotta.* Once spinach has drained as much as possible and cooled for a few minutes, add to egg mixture and stir. Sprinkle mixture generously with salt and pepper.
Place a sheet of Puff Pastry on a sheet of parchment paper to prevent sticking, and roll it out an extra two inches or so in all directions. Peel the pastry off the parchment paper, and lay on the greased baking sheet. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the pastry, leaving a 1 inch border around all edges. Beat an egg in a small bowl and brush beaten egg around the 1 inch border of the pastry.
Roll the second sheet of puff pastry out to match the first. Lay it evenly over the bottom sheet/spinach, lining up the edges. Press down gently around the edges to seal the top sheet against the egg wash on the bottom sheet, then gently fold over the outside edges by about 1/4 inch to seal in any juices. Brush the top of the pastry with egg wash. With a sharp knife, cut a few slits into the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape. Place in oven and bake 25 – 30 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.
I was using up ingredients in the fridge. You could easily make this with all Feta (about 1/2 cup) or a similar cheese, but I didn’t have enough. I thought the Ricotta added a nice creamy consistency. You could also substitute pine nuts for walnuts. I assume you could use Filo dough instead of puff pastry, but I prefer the texture of puff pastry, and like how easy it is to work with. Well-thawed and drained frozen spinach could probably be substituted for fresh. Leftovers reheat nicely – just place on a baking sheet in a 450 degree oven until hot to the touch.
Even though I disliked some vegetables as a kid, this is the kind of thing I probably would have eaten thanks to the flaky crust and a flavorful but not overwhelming blend between the cheese and the spinach.