Monday, July 5, 2010

Spanakopita

Lately I have been craving Spanakopita, the fantastic Greek dish. I had this a lot growing up and I think my Mother even made it for me a few times. After all, my Dad is Middle Eastern and my Mom cooked all his favorite dishes from 'back home' so she was no stranger to Phyllo dough.

I have to admit that veganizing this dish was a little intimidating. I did a lot of research on the web and most of the recipes I found were fairly similar and got good reviews. This is my version of what I read and what I thought would taste good. I hope you enjoy.
Spanakopita

36 oz baby spinach (four bags)
4 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 cup finely chopped dill
1 bunch scallions, minced finely; green and white parts (6-8 scallions)
1/4 cup good quality olive oil
2 pkgs extra firm tofu drained well
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
3 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp nutmeg
Juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 cup finely ground walnuts
salt and pepper to taste
1 package frozen phyllo dough, thawed according to package directions

Drain tofu. I cut the tofu bricks in half and placed the slices on a soft, absorbent towel and covered them with a second towel. I then placed a large cutting board on top of the tofu and weighted that down with a cast iron skillet and placed some canned vegetables on the skillet. If necessary, change the towels halfway through if they become too soaked. I let the tofu drain for approximately an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large dutch oven or saute pan heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, dill, scallions and spinach. Allow spinach to cook down until very, very soft (consistency of canned spinach) and the liquid the spinach releases is largely cooked off. This will take some time so be patient. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

In a mixing bowl crumble the tofu and add the nutritional yeast, nutmeg, walnuts, oregano and spinach (I wrung the spinach out with my hands to ensure it was dry). Add salt and pepper to taste and mix until incorporated.

Prepare a 9x13 baking pan by brushing with some oil. Roll out the thawed phyllo and place one sheet on the bottom of the 9x13. Brush the phyllo with olive oil and repeat until you have used 8 sheets of phyllo. The phyllo will hang over the sides of the pan a bit, that is OK. In between sheets, make sure you cover your phyllo with a damp towel so it does not dry out.

Spoon half of the spinach mixture on top of the phyllo sheets and spread evenly. Cover with another eight layers of phyllo making sure to brush each with olive oil. Spoon in the rest of the spinach mixture and spread evenly. Cover with the remaining sheets of phyllo.
Tuck the phyllo that is hanging over the edges back into the pan.
Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes until nicely browned on top.

Let cool for about ten minutes before serving. Cut into wedges to serve.

No comments:

Post a Comment