These spanakopita empanadas have become a favorite in my house.
My daughter represented Greece at a school event and I volunteered to bring Spanakopita for the greek feast. Instead of baking it into a huge pie or casserole form, I made them into individual tiny two-biter spanakopita empanadas. This made it much easier to serve and eat. The kids were so skeptical to try them because of the spinach. But guess what? They loved them! Every single one of them was gone! Even the pickiest of eaters became fans.
These “empanadas” are crunchy and salty and all things yummy. I love to overstuff them because they look chubby and it makes the layers of phyllo burst.
Let’s talk about the spanakopita filling.
This filling is so versatile. I’ve used it in quiches, omelets and my kids’ favorite, stuffed chicken breasts.
You can also make these empanadas larger. Instead of cutting the phyllo sheets in three, you can cut it in two and double the stuffing serving size. These larger spanakopitas are a meal in themselves. Serve them with a simple fresh salad and you have the perfect lunch, or light dinner!
Detailed instructions for the spanakopita empanadas:
Measurements are all in the recipe box below. Follow the microwave instructions on the frozen spinach, drain, and squeeze out all the water using a clean kitchen towel.
Tip! This is such an important step to take, if you don’t do this, it will result in a very soggy and wet filling.
In a small pan with some olive oil, sauté the scallions until the green in them has intensified. Set aside and let cool for about 10 minutes. This step is quick to do. All the ingredients in this filling will become very cohesive, and by cooking these green onions a bit, it will help them blend in nicely.
Tip! I like to sauté the scallions and cook them a bit because it takes away the raw onion taste in them.
In a large bowl combine the spinach, scallions, 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 egg, garlic powder, nutmeg and feta cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
Tip! I love using my hands to mix this. It helps me get all the bits of feta well distributed throughout the mixture. Set the filling aside, while you work on the phyllo.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the rest of the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese in a bowl. This mixture is used in between the sheets of phyllo dough. The breadcrumbs and the cheese will bake in between the layers of phyllo and they will help crisp up the dough. The crunch factor in every bite is satisfying.
Tip! Set the phyllo dough on to a flat surface, cover with a moistened kitchen towel to keep soft, otherwise it dries quickly and breaks easily.
You will use 6 sheets of phyllo for every 3 spanikopitas.
Grab the first sheet of phyllo, brush the whole surface evenly with melted butter, and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs mixture. Next, add the next sheet (2nd sheet) of phyllo on top of the seasoned phyllo sheet and pat it gently so it adheres. Follow the same steps with the remaining 4 sheets of the phyllo dough. Cut the phyllo sheets longways into three equal strips.
Scoop 1/3 of a cup (or a bit less) of the spinach mixture on to the top right corner of each set of phyllo dough strips. Flip the dough from the left corner over the filling and form a triangle. Continue the motion downwards as if you’re folding a flag. Keep folding so that the triangle shape is continued all the way until the end of the strip. Do the same with the rest of the strips.
Time to do it all over again! Repeat the same process with the remaining 6 sheets of phyllo dough.
Brush the top of each triangle with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan mixture.
Tip! If the ends of the triangle are not glued to the whole, brush some butter to help it stick.
Set the triangles evenly on a large cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with non stick spray.
Bake for 35 minutes or until golden.
- Baking sheet
- Mixing bowl
- Small sauté pan
- Pastry brush
- 12 sheets phyllo dough
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 sticks melted butter
- 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 2 10 oz packages of frozen spinach
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup feta cheese crumbles
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried parsely
- salt and pepper
- Cook the frozen spinach and squeeze out the excess water by using a clean kitchen towel.
- Quickly sauté the scallions with some olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Let them cool for a bit.
- In a bowl, add 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, egg, spinach, feta cheese, nutmeg and the cooled scallions. Mix well.
- Preheat oven to 350° while you work on the phyllo dough.
- In another bowl, combine the rest of the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Brush the first sheet of phyllo with the melted butter. Sprinkle the bread crumb and cheese mixture.
- Add the second sheet of phyllo on top of the first. Pat them together to help adhere to each other.
- Repeat the same process of brushing melted butter and sprinkling breadcrumbs and cheese with the rest of the four sheets of phyllo.
- Once the 6 sheets have been brushed, sprinkled and patted together, cut them into three equal parts, longwise.
- Add 1/3 cup of the filling to the top right corner of each strip.
- Gently, start folding the left corner of the phyllo strip in a triangle onver the filling. Repeat motion, as if you are folding a flag all the way down the strip.
- Do the same with the rest of the strips.
- Place triangles on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and nonstick spray and cover with a kitchen towel while you work on the next batch.
- Repeat the brushing butter and sprinkling breadcrumbs process for the remaining 6 sheets of phyllo. Fill them and fold. Place them in the baking sheet with the first three you made.
- Brush the top of each triangle with the melted butter and sprinkle a little bit of the bread crumb mixture.
- Bake for 35 minutes until golden.