Spanakopita; Cannellini and Tomato Salad

By Ira

My husband thinks this meal is fabulous, especially the combination of the Spanakopita and the salad. He loved it so much that he went back for more AFTER having dessert. Once you prepare the filling (which can be done the day before), it’s quite easy and quick to put together.

I have adapted some of the concepts from America’s Test Kitchen but this is based heavily on the way my mom makes it. One of the those concepts is to spread Pecorino Romano cheese on the top phyllo sheets, except for the last two. This stops the top phyllo sheets to fall off when it is sliced.



  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 small leeks, finely chopped
  • 3 pounds frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 medium scallions, sliced thin
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Phyllo layers:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 5 tablespoons milk
  • 1 package phyllo sheets
  • 8 scant tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese


  • If your 1 packet of frozen spinach is 10 ounces, then you can just use three of those.
  • You can add a bit more or less of the ricotta cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium nonstick skillet over medium low heat, add the butter then the leeks. Cook stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add the spinach to a clean kitchen towel

and squeeze to remove the water. Add it to the same large bowl.

Then add all the rest of the filling ingredients and mix well.

In a small bowl, combine the melted butter and milk.

Cut 20 sheets of phyllo the size of your baking dish. This could be 9 x 13 in or similar in size. If your package doesn’t come with 20 sheets of phyllo, you can put together the cut up pieces to make one layer. Once you cut the phyllo sheets, you’ll need to cover them with plastic wrap and a moist towel so it doesn’t dry out.

Brush the bottom of the baking dish with the butter and milk mixture. add one layer of phyllo and brush it again. Repeat with the additional 9 layers.

Spread the spinach mixture on top,

then layer it phyllo dough, brush it, then sprinkle it with a scant tablespoon of Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese. Repeat with 7 more layers. Continue with the last two layers but this time do not sprinkle the cheese on it. Don’t forget to brush the last layer. If you happen to run out of the butter / milk mixture, then just melt an additional tablespoon or so of extra butter and combine it with the same amount of milk.

Before you put it in the oven, cut the top layers of the phyllo with a knife, being careful not to cut all the way through, into desired number of pieces.

Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown.

Let it rest for 10 minutes when you take it out of the oven, then you can cut all the way through to separate the pieces and loosen the edges.

Cannellini and Tomato Salad

  • 1 15 ounce can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 medium scallions, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients together. Taste to adjust the amount of salt needed.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s