Vegan Spanakopita



Spanakopita is traditionally a Greek filo pastry pie filled with spinach and feta cheese. This twist on a classic adds mashed butterbeans and vegan cashew feta to add a beautiful creaminess and cheesy texture. The pie can be adapted to suit any season by mixing up the greens. In winter I would use a combination of kale, cavolo nero and rainbow chard and in summer, spring onions, spinach and lots of fresh herbs, a combination of parsley, dill and mint. The sumac and lemon adds a tangy freshness to the rich greens. The spanakopita is also great eaten cold the next day although the filo will soften and lose its crunchiness.


INGREDIENTS

Olive oil

1 leek, finely sliced or 3 spring onions

3 cloves of garlic, sliced

1 bunch kale/cavolo nero, roughly chopped

1 bunch of spinach, roughly chopped

1 can of butter beans

100g cashew feta or vegan cheese

Small bunch of mint, picked and roughly chopped

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 tsp chilli flakes

2 tsp za’atar

1 tsp sumac

Salt, pepper

1 tbsp sesame seeds

Filo pastry, 6 sheets


METHOD


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.

2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the sliced leeks or spring onion with the garlic and a pinch of salt over a low heat to soften, about 6 mins.

3. Add the hardier greens, if using kale, cavolo nero or a combination of both. Fry for 3 mins or until starting to wilt then add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes to wilt. Set aside to cool.

4. Place the butterbeans with 1tbsp olive oil and 1tsp of salt in a bowl and crush using a potato masher until soft. Add the spinach mix, cashew feta or vegan cheese, spices and lemon. Stir all together, taste and season with salt and pepper.

5. Open the filo pastry, using a tea towel to cover the pastry sheets when not using to stop them from drying out.

6. Brush your cake tin with olive oil and lay 1 sheet of filo inside, crumpling it to fit inside. Leave any excess hanging over the edge of the cake tin. Repeat with another 3 sheets, brushing oil between each layer and rotating the direction so the cake tin is covered with filo. Spoon the spanakopita filling inside and lift the overhanging filo over the top to cover. Crumple 2 more sheets over the top of the filling and drizzle generously with olive oil. Don’t worry about being too neat here, the crinkles will look beautiful once baked and give a delicious crunch. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.

7. Place the tin in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the filo is golden and crispy all over. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before taking out of the cake tin to slice up and serve.