This vegan spinach pie, made with layers of phyllo dough and a creamy cashew-based cheese, comes together quickly for a light meal or appetizer that will not disappoint! It is a savory and vegan version of the classic greek dish, spanakopita.
Don’t Be Afraid of Phyllo Dough
Many of us learned a lot about cooking from our mothers. My mother was pretty territorial about her kitchen, but I learned a lot watching her prepare big meals for a large family. While not vegan or vegetarian, she was a big proponent of using whole-foods. I am so grateful that that was the foundation for my own cooking adventures. Because she was not into using prepared foods, with the exceptions being whole grain breads and cereals, she never used phyllo dough.
When I had anything prepared with phyllo dough, it was always some sort of holiday situation. It was a tray of baklava or squares of greek spinach pies – always something a little exotic. How could creating that wonderful combination of buttery flavor and flaky crust be simple?
Guess what? It’s simple.
Its Not Difficult, Trust Me
No need to be intimidated by phyllo dough if you have never tried it. It is as forgiving as it is delicate, so you can be fearless if you have never tried it. It is vegan. You can find it in the freezer section of most grocery stores. You do need to remember to take it out to thaw for a bit before using it. I’ve messed that part up, but it is not a deal breaker. When you are ready to use the dough gently unfold it on a clean surface or tea towel. Then place a sheet of plastic wrap over it to keep it from drying out while you are working with it. Left over dough can be gently rolled up and refrozen.
One box was more than enough for me to make this recipe twice (consider doing that – it goes fast).
Vegan Spinach Pie is a Treat
Now that the holidays are approaching (or really any excuse you want) its a good time to have a treat to share. We are all about clean eating, low fat, whole foods, healthy habits, but a nice rich treat every now and then is perfectly OK. Make no mistake, this recipe is one of those treats! Delicious and rich, you will have people in the kitchen eating it out of the pan as soon as it cools off, just like Greg and our daughter did. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cashew cream ricotta cheese recipe
- 1 large onion
- 3 cups sliced mushrooms
- 3 generous cups frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed to reduce liquid
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 12 sheets of phyllo dough, cut to be slightly larger than the 9x13 inch pan
- melted vegan butter, approx 1/3 - 1/2 cup
- Prepare the cheese as directed and set aside
- Thinly slice the onions and sauté in a small amount of oil or vegan butter. Lightly salt and stir frequently to prevent burning. Cook until golden and tender. Set aside
- In the same pan, saute the mushrooms and, once cooked down, drain off the cooking liquid
- Press or squeeze the liquid out of the thawed spinach
- Combine the cheese, onions, mushrooms, spinach and nutmeg gently. Set aside
- Place a sheet of dough in the bottom of the 9x13 pan, gently letting extra dough fold against edge of pan, and lightly brush with melted butter. Layer a second sheet and repeat the brushing. Continue until there are 6 layers
- Evenly spread the cheese and spinach mixture over the dough
- Repeat the layers of dough, using the same technique with melted butter, until you have 6 sheets on the top. Brush the top layer well
- Place uncovered in the center of a 350 degree preheated oven and cook for 35-40 minutes. The top layer should be golden and flakey
- Cool slightly before cutting. Serve warm or at room temperature.