Skillet Pan Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
Delicious weeknight Spanakopita without the fuss. Featuring a herb-studded spinach and feta filling, tucked inside layers of crispy phyllo dough. This might just be the best way to eat your greens! Vegetarian. <jump to recipe>
Spanakopita (also known as “spinach pie”), features a yummy spinach and feta filling nestled in layers of crispy phyllo dough. In our opinion, it also happens to be one of the best ways to eat your greens. Because who can resist anything that’s wrapped in a flaky, golden brown crust?!
While the crust may seem like the biggest hurdle to making typical Spanakopita at home, the truth is, store-bought phyllo dough is available in the freezer aisle of your grocery store. It’s what comes after that takes a while: diligently folding that dough around spoonfuls of filling to make individual triangle-shaped hand-pies. For this reason, we’ve avoided making Spanakopita for anything but special occasions. It can be quite a time commitment! However, recently the cravings have been real. And thank goodness we finally came to our senses and nailed the method for making Spanakopita on a weeknight! All it takes is a skillet pan.
Rather than shaping and baking individual servings of Spanakopita, this recipe cuts the prep time down by opting for a single big skillet of it. You’ll still get everything you love about this dish: herb-studded spinach filling, creamy feta cheese and crispy layers of phyllo...just without all the finicky work!
To make the filling, you’ll start with frozen spinach and defrost it in a skillet pan. The skillet pan is a hero here: we use the same one to defrost, saute, then bake. It helps cut down on dirty dishes, but if you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, then you can bake the Spanakopita in a casserole dish instead. Once the spinach is defrosted you’ll let it cool and strain in a colander while you assemble the rest of the filling. As you may have noticed by now…we tend not to stick to the rules…so here’s where we like to throw in a couple cups of kale for extra greenery. The kale helps to bulk up the filling and keeps the Spanakopita extra green, without releasing a ton of extra water in the baking process. And besides, even kale-skeptics won’t even be able to tell it's there. But if you prefer, you can leave the kale out altogether. To finish off the filling, fresh herbs - like dill, thyme and green onion - are added for extra flavor and feta cheese crumbled in to provide a creamy, salty kick. The combination is delicious.
To assemble, you’ll lay alternating sheets of phyllo dough in the skillet pan. The sheets of phyllo dough are longer than the pan, so the extra bits will hang over the edges of the pan. Don’t fret, this is actually exactly what you want - for now. A light brushing of olive oil in between the layers helps everything get nice, golden and crispy. Once you’re done layering, spoon in the filling, and fold over those extra edges. Pop the skillet in the oven, forget it, and then 40-45 minutes later pull out your beautiful golden brown Spanakopita! It’s best served warm, and even better if you add an extra crumble of feta cheese and tzatziki for serving. It can be eaten as a main or as a side dish. Either way, you’ll love it!
We prepared a little demonstration to show how we assemble the Skillet Pan Spanakopita, so you can check that out before getting started. We promise you it isn’t complicated. And feel free to reach out with any questions of course! We can’t wait to see your Skillet Pan Spanakopitas, so be sure to tag us on Instagram (@evergreenkitchen_).
SKILLET PAN SPANAKOPITA (SPINACH PIE)
serves 6-8 (vegetarian)
900 g / 32 oz frozen chopped spinach*
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups lacinato/dino kale, finely sliced (stems removed)**
2 green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, picked from stems
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup feta, crumbled
8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed***
For serving (optional): tzatziki, extra feta cheese for garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat a 12” oven safe skillet pan over medium heat. Add frozen, chopped spinach. Stir regularly, and cook until the spinach is defrosted and has started to release its water (approximately 2-4 minutes). Transfer spinach into a colander set over the sink (or a bowl) and let the spinach strain while it cools.
Meanwhile, return skillet to stove over medium-high heat. Once hot, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and swirl it to coat the bottom of the pan. Add onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown. Add garlic. Stir regularly for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Use the back of a spatula or stirring spoon to press the spinach against the sides of the colander to remove extra water. Once the residual liquid has been pressed out, add spinach to the onion and garlic mixture. Fold in kale. Crack eggs into the mixture and stir well. Add dill, thyme, salt, red pepper flakes. Stir until evenly distributed. Gently fold in feta.
Now it’s time to assemble. Give the skillet pan a quick wipe to clean. Pour the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a small bowl and grab a pastry brush. Brush some oil along the sides and bottom of the pan. Place the first piece of phyllo dough horizontally across the pan. Use your fingers to gently press the phyllo to the bottom of the pan and up the sides, allowing extra to overhang the sides of the pan. Lightly brush oil on top of the phyllo. Then, lay down the second piece of phyllo, in the opposite direction (vertically). Repeat with layers of oil and phyllo dough, alternating directions, until all 8 sheets have been used. Spoon the spinach filling into the center. Then, start folding the overhanging edges of phyllo towards the center of the pan, dabbing a bit of oil in between the layers. Brush the top edges of phyllo with remaining oil. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the center has firmed up and the phyllo crust is golden brown. Serve warm, with a side of tzatziki and extra sprinkle of feta cheese if you wish.
-*Frozen chopped spinach is often sold in 454 g / 16 oz bags, so this recipe will require two bags of that size. Although, check the package as sizes differ. Alternatively, you can measure out 9 loosely packed cups of frozen chopped spinach.
-**You can substitute for curly kale instead, or leave it out altogether.
-***For best results, put frozen package of phyllo dough in fridge to defrost overnight. Take the sealed package out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter to come up to room temperature before you begin cooking. Remove phyllo dough from wrapping just before using to prevent it from drying out.
-If you don’t have a 12” skillet pan, you can substitute the next closest size you have (for example, a 10” skillet pan). When using a smaller pan, you may need to warm the frozen spinach in batches over the stove.