Spanakopita – From Greece

Here is a popular appetizer recipe from Greece (from my “Cooking Around the World” series”). It is packed with nutrition because the main ingredient is spinach…which is an excellent source of antioxidant nutrients—including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and manganese.  To make this recipe healthier I have substituted the traditional use of butter (to layer the phyllo) with canola oil, making the recipe lower in saturated fat.  The nutmeg and lemon juice really help pull this recipe together, as it has a rich and nutty flavour. These taste so good that I had a time not eating all the filling before I was able to put them together!

You can make your own unique flavours and fillings, like mushrooms & blue cheese, or caramelized onion goat cheese. There are endless possibilities.  The key is that you use canola oil or margarine when brushing the phyllo to keep the saturated fat content down in the recipe. No one will know that these are healthy for you!

So if you are looking for ways to sneak in spinach into foods, this is a great recipe!

Hope you enjoy!

PS: Ross didn’t seem to be a big fan of these. He said that he is o.k. with eating one, and that was about it. I assume that it was because the final product is pretty flaky, and it involved a bit of work to not make a big mess…I think that if I used a gooey type cheese (instead of feta), he would be more accustomed to eating them, as they would resemble a pizza pop .

Spanakopita

Makes about 30 -40 pastries

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, plus ½ cup for brushing
  • 1/2 cup sliced onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 packages of frozen spinach. Thawed and drained. Squeeze out excess water.
  • ¾ cup feta, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup dried parsley
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 box phyllo pastry (frozen food section with pie crusts)

 Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over moderate heat, add onions and garlic and saute until transparent.
  2. Remove from heat and cool.  Transfer to a bowl and add spinach, feta, lemon juice, nutmeg, and parsley. Season with salt & pepper.
  3. Let filling cool before phyllo triangles.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cover phyllo stack with 2 overlapping sheets of plastic wrap and then a dampened kitchen towel (or work really fast, as the phyllo dries out quickly).
  5. Take one phyllo sheet from stack and arrange on a work surface with a long side nearest you (keeping remaining sheets covered) and brush with some melted margarine or canola oil. Top with another phyllo sheet and brush with more oil. Cut layered phyllo stack crosswise into 5-6 (roughly 12- by 2 3/4-inch) strips.
  6. Put a heaping teaspoon of filling near one corner of a strip on end nearest you, then fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip (like a flag), maintaining triangle shape. Put triangle, seam side down, on a large baking sheet and brush top with margarine. Make more triangles in same manner, using all of phyllo.
  7. Bake triangles in middle of oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool slightly.
  8. Do ahead: Pastry triangles can be formed, but not baked, three days ahead. Arrange in one layer in heavy-duty sealed plastic bags, then freeze. Bake frozen pastries (do not thaw) in same manner as above.

My Little Helper

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About alittlenutrition

Susan is passionate about teaching others how to achieve optimal health and wellness by taking the confusion out of nutrition and promoting fun ways to stay active. Susan has been a certified fitness instructor for over 8 years and enjoys teaching yoga, pilates, and fitball classes at Elite Fitness and Dance. However, her main interest in nutrition has led her in the direction of becoming a registered dietitian. Susan completed her undergrad in Human Nutritional Science at the University of Manitoba and has recently completed her dietetic internship with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Currently she is now combining her fitness skills with her nutrition knowledge and offering comprehensive nutritional and lifestyle coaching. Prior to becoming a dietitian, Susan worked as a sales executive for a variety of paint manufactures for over 10 years. She created innovative sales initiatives and marketing programs for corporate and independent retails stores. Now with her knowledge of nutrition and her business experience, she helps restaurants and food service operations create healthier meals options for their customers. Susan is highly involved in community health promotion, as she has been appointed to sit on the Recreation and Wellness Commission of Niverville and the Chair person for the South Eastman RHA District Health Advisory Council Western division. She is the co-founder of former the Niverville Active Living and she has put on many community health promotion activities such as: * Lose It For Life - Weight loss / Lifestyle Transformation program * Family Fitness Month…Win A Will Contest * Niverville Fair ~ Smoothie Booth * Community Cholesterol Reduction Challenge * Cooking On A Budget * Couch Potato Race She is a member of the College of Dietitians of Manitoba, Dietitians of Canada, Manitoba Fitness Council and the Canadian Obesity Network. In her spare time, Susan enjoys cooking for her family, gardening, photography and being physically active outdoors with her husband and friends.
This entry was posted in Appetizers, Greek, Healthly Living, Heart healthy, Snacks and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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