Monday, February 8, 2016

Spinach Spanokopita-style Roll Ups

It's Monday with Jan, the Mid-Westerner!

Today I'm sharing a recipe that I love, but the rest of my family doesn't share my passion.

It isn't that they don't appreciate spinach. They do. In very small portions. (Like non-existent!) And this recipe has spinach at the very heart of its being.

We can blame this on Ruthy. A couple weeks ago she shared her Baklava recipe (go read that post here.) Last Wednesday I made her Baklava for a ladies' fellowship at church.

Yes, we do make each other's recipes! And it was as easy and delicious as she promised!

Well, the problem is that the package of phyllo dough has enough dough sheets for two Baklavas, and I only made one.

I could have kept the second roll in the freezer until the next time I made Baklava - but then I remembered this recipe.

Spinach Spanokopita-style Roll Ups

filling ingredients:

10 oz. (or about 3 cups) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup onion, minced (I used sweet white onions)
1 egg
8 oz. package cream cheese, softened (I used a tub of spreadable cream cheese I had purchased by mistake)
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons dried parsley

Other ingredients:
9 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
1/3 cup butter, melted

Mix the filling ingredients together in a medium bowl, then set aside while you prepare the pastry.

I like to use a sheet of parchment paper as a base when I'm working with phyllo dough sheets. They are very fragile and dry out easily.

The box has directions on how to handle the pastry sheets. Basically, you need to keep the sheets you're not working on covered with plastic so they don't dry out.

Line a baking sheet with a second piece of parchment paper. If you haven't used parchment paper before, you'll love this stuff. It's perfect for this kind of work, and even better when you're baking cookies or brownies!

So here we go - the assembly.

Lay your first sheet of pastry on your parchment paper.

Starting with the edges, brush some melted butter on the pastry sheet with light, quick strokes. Do the edges first and then the center - you'll thank me later. :) Lay a second sheet of pastry on top of that one and repeat with the butter. Do it again with a third sheet of pastry.

Now, spoon 1/3 of your filling mixture onto one end of your pastry layers.

Fold over about an inch of the end, and then about an inch along each side, and then carefully roll up the pastry with the filling in the center.

Lay the first log on your baking sheet, and make two more logs with the rest of the pastry sheets and filling.

Slice the top layers of the logs with a sharp knife.

Bake at 375° for 25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.

Let's look at that first picture again:

Do you see how the filling has burst through the phyllo dough? Part of the reason is that I forgot to put the egg in the filling.

I mean, what difference can one egg make?

Well, plenty. As the egg cooks, it firms up the filling, making it un-soupy. Soupy filling weakens the dough and makes a mess.

No problem! It was still delicious!

When the roll ups are done, take them out of the oven and let them cool for about 15 minutes. You can cut each roll into 5 slices for appetizers, or have a whole one for a main dish.



  1. Oh, this looks delicious! I love spanakopita. I've never done it in a roll, though. I bet my kids could make this really easily on a busy week night.

    1. This is definitely a kid-friendly recipe - especially for older kids. The phyllo is forgiving, like Ruthy said in her Baklava post, and the steps aren't complicated at all.

  2. What a clever way to use up leftovers. This really sounds yummy because all of the ingredients sound delicious to me. They would be fun to serve guests. Thanks Jan.

    1. I've served this to guests, and it brings on the "ooohs" and "aaaahs"! When you slice the top layers of the rolls before baking, you can make as many as you'd like to get 7 or 8 smaller slices rather than 5 large ones.

      I love versatile recipes!

  3. I've never heard of spanakopita but it looks scrumptious. Haven't used phylo pastry yet either so I might just have to get adventurous. And they look so pretty!

    1. Spanakopita is just Greek spinach pie. :) Nothing fancy, but so delicious!

      The phyllo is pretty easy to work with, as long as it doesn't dry out. Follow the instructions on the box and you'll do great!

  4. Looks amazing! I've never worked with phyllo dough but would like to brave doing so. I think maybe I can handle this. :) Then once I master this, I can try the baklava. :) (Yes, I'm a chicken.)

    1. Missy, you'll surprised at how easy it is!

  5. Spinach! Oh yum! Do you think steamed fresh spinach would work if I squeezed out the liquid?

    Thanks for the recipe :)

    1. Well duh ... that was me ... I'll get the hang of this yet LOL

      Nancy C

    2. Hi Nancy :)

      Yes, of course the fresh spinach would work. It would take a lot of it though, because it cooks down so much.

      I hope you enjoy it!

  6. I love spinach. I love fat free cream cheese. This looks amazing.

    1. It is amazing. Make sure you have friends around to share it with!

      You can also freeze it. Just freeze the unbaked rolls. Then to eat them, thaw in the refrigerator and bake like in the regular recipe. :)

  7. Oh Jan, This is SO not fair. I want one of these NOW and I have none of the ingredients except the spinach. I love love love spinach rolls and these look like pretty much the same but in phyllo. Oh yum!

    1. These are yummy. I have one waiting in the refrigerator to heat up for supper tonight!

      You'll have to get the rest of the ingredients on the next trip to the store. :)

  8. I have a package of Phyllo in the freezer and I'm making this this week! I've been dying for spanokopita (I worked in a Greek restaurant for 11 years, waitressing) and this is like a spano-strudel! How fun to roll it like this, and what a perfect appetizer or party dish, Jan! I've got to buy some frozen spinach, because everyone I know who makes spanokopita likes frozen, drained, blotted spinach best... it keeps the tenderness of the filling perfectly! I missed this yesterday, I was working away and my internet is through a little cord this week, so I have to connect and disconnect regularly. It's kind of funny and a reminder to be grateful for the amazing ease of wifi!

    1. I thought of you when I posted this recipe, and remembered you had worked at a Greek restaurant. I'll have to look up spano-strudel. What a fun blending of two languages in the name. :)

      Too bad about your internet woes. Isn't it amazing how quickly we all got used to instant internet? It wasn't so long ago we all had dial-up modems, and paid for the internet by the minute. I have to admit, this is one area where progress wins. :)