Spanakopita, Deconstructed

5 Dec

I’ve made no secret about it: spanakopita, practically the national dish of Greece, is no favorite of mine.  This indifference is, in large part, owed to the strong contrarian spirit that dominates at least two-thirds of my opinions (“Oh, you think puppies are cute? Let me tell you why I find that to be misguided…”)– but mostly it’s just because I’d rather be eating my Aunt Lena’s eggplant pie.  Why eat a spinach/lemon/feta concoction when you could be sinking your teeth into an amazing amalgamation of eggplant, tomato, and onion? I rest my case.

But, alas. Winter is coming and the days of eggplant for $0.99/lb (thank you New Jersey, third-largest eggplant producer in the world) are over. Way over. Seems the only things under $2.49/lb these days are greens. Mustard greens, spinach greens, beet greens. Spinach. Arugula. Kale. It’s a slow boat ride back to berry season– but at least we’ll be full of iron.

So what’s a good Greek girl to do? Break down and deal with the hand nature deals the Northeast or spend $86/week on groceries? With my hand forced, I turned to spinach.

I came up with this take on creamed spinach–a cornucopia of uber-Greekness. Olive oil, spinach, dill, creamy yogurt… it’s almost enough to make me forget about that eggplant pie.


Deconstructed Spanakopita, or: “Creamed” Spinach

Pay no attention to the pre-made salmon patty on the left.


  •  9 oz spinach, rinsed and dried
  • 1 medium-large bunch of kale, rinsed, dried, and shredded from the thick center vein
  • 1 bunch dill, bottoms cut off and chopped into thirds
  • 1 large onion, chopped roughly
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 TBS olive oil 
  • 7 oz Greek yogurt (Fage is best, but you do you)

**I made this with my food processor–if you don’t have one, just finely mince the onions/garlic and skip the shredding of the greens. It won’t have the same texture but the option’s there.**

 1. Puree the onion and garlic together in food processor. Set aside.

2. Throw the kale in a big, deep pot. If you have room, throw the spinach in there too–otherwise, cook separately.  To cook, add a splash of water and cover the pot, heating over med-high heat.  After 2-3 minutes, open the pot and stir thoroughly to distribute the heat. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until the greens are wilted (note: the kale will take longer so, if cooking together, make sure it is on the bottom first so it gets most of the heat).

3. Place the greens in a colander to strain the excess water. Use a spatula to press out any additional water.

4. Heat the olive oil and oregano in a saute pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pour the onion/garlic puree into the pan and mix with the oil.  Allow to heat over medium until fragrant and slightly carmelized,  6-8 minutes.

5. While the onion mixture cooks, run the spinach, kale, and dill through the food processor until it is a pulp. Set aside.

6. Once fragrant, take about 1/3 of the onion puree (does not have to be exact) and set aside to cool.  Add the pulped greens to the remainder and mix well to combine.  Cook all together for another 3-4 minutes, until spinach is heated as well.

7. While spinach heats, combine cooled onion puree with yogurt and mix well.

8. Once spinach is heated, combine  spinach and yogurt mixture. Enjoy!

One Response to “Spanakopita, Deconstructed”


  1. Occupy the Grocery Store: Butternut Spaghetti with Pine nuts and Peanut Sauce | Cooking Up Kefi - November 20, 2013

    […] is entirely possible that this has less to do with the foods and more to do with my commitment to contrarianism–but today’s recipe will blow the hair back of anybody with a palate, pasta lover or […]

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