Vegan Spanakopita

posted in: Greek, Main Dishes, Recipes, Uncategorized | 13
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Cheesecake pans aren’t just for cheesecakes.
That’s probably why they’re not officially called “cheesecake pans” but rather springform pans. Still, I’ve always thought of them as cheesecake pans and it never occurred to me to make anything else in them. Then I came across a fillo and cheese pie that the chef had made in a springform pan and thought the idea was perfect for spanakopita. The pie is stunning when the ring is popped off. It’s also easier to make one big pie as opposed to all those little triangles.
Another trick to make assembling a spanakopita easier is to fold each fillo sheet into quarters before fitting it into the pan. It’s much less likely to tear or crumple up on itself this way. Also, did you know that you don’t need to thoroughly coat each sheet with oil or butter? A quick and uneven application of olive oil with a pastry brush, not much more than a swirl really, is all that is needed.
This spanokopita gets its rich and creamy component from cashew nuts blended with lemon juice, salt and garlic. Assembled with herbed spinach and crispy layers of fillo, the pie makes a perfect meal paired with roasted potatoes and a green salad.
The first sheet of fillo in the pan.
The bottom layer.
The top layer and the filling.
A perfect slice.
Vegan Spanakopita
This recipe assumes you have fillo dough with 40 sheets to a 1 pound box. Some fillo comes 24 to 28 sheets to a pound. If you have this kind, use about 9 sheets total for the bottom layer and 6 for the top one.

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2 10-ounce boxes frozen spinach
1 cup raw cashews
6 green onions, green and white part
5-6 cloves garlic
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for brushing fillo dough
1-1/4 teaspoons dried dill
1-1/4 teaspoons dried oregano
2-1/4 teaspoons salt
about half of a 1-pound box of fillo dough
Thaw spinach and squeeze it very dry. Transfer to a medium bowl. In a food processor, grind cashews to a powder. Slice green onions into 2-inch lengths, add to the cashews along with the garlic, and chop well. Add lemon juice, olive oil, dill, oregano and salt and process until creamy, but not completely smooth. Stir cashew mixture into the spinach.

Heat oven to 350 F. Oil a 9-inch springform pan. Have a small bowl of olive oil and a pastry brush at hand. Work with one sheet of fillo dough at a time and cover the rest with a piece of plastic wrap or a damp towel.

Place a sheet of fillo dough in front of you. Brush 1/2 lightly with olive oil – just a quick swirl. Fold sheet in half and brush half with olive oil. Fold in half again. Pick up the piece by diagonal corners and fit the corners along the bottom edge of the pan, so that one triangle extends along the bottom of the pan and another extends up the side. Fold another sheet into fourths and fit in the pan opposite the first. Repeat with 9 or 10 more sheets, placing them around the pan in even intervals, more or less, for a total of 11 or 12 sheets. Finish with two sheets, folded into fourths, placed in the bottom of the pan.

For the top layer, fold the fillo just as you did for the bottom, but place the diagonal corners of each folded sheet along the top rim of the pan. Use 8 sheets total.  Spoon the spinach and cashew mixture into the pan and smooth the top. Place a folded sheet of fillo on top of the spinach and then fold all of the edges of the other sheets over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden. Remove ring from the spanakopita and slice into 6 slices.

Serves 6.

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13 Responses

  1. this looks wonderful, vibrant color too.

  2. I think I love you (seriously) I’ve been craving spanakopita forever but knew I couldn’t have it!! Thank you thank you!!

    I’m pinning this!!

  3. Now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve ever made anything in my springform pan other than cheesecake. Your vegan spanokopita sounds so delicious with the cashew cream and herbs.

  4. Spanakopita was a favorite of mine before going dairy free…definitely trying this!!

  5. What a great recipe! Thanks :)

  6. your vegan spanakopita must be delicious with cashews and those pastry shell….yum!!! cheers from your italian veggie fellow-follower <3

  7. brilliant! can’t wait to make it myself. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi there. This was absolutely delicious and easy to make! My husband and I happily ate it 3 nights in a row and were sad when we finished it. My only changes were to omit dill (I absolutely despise this spice) and to add nutritional yeast to the mixture. Thank you sooooo much!

  9. Hi L. I am so glad you liked the spanakopita. Thanks for the feedback! By the way, I’m not a huge fan of dill either and sometimes I replace it with tarragon. Tarragon adds a bright flavor like dill does, but tastes completely different. Your nutritional yeast addition sounds like a good one!

  10. Anonymous

    I made this in a 9×13 and it was wonderful (and I’m not even vegan). Thank you for the post!

  11. Hi! This recipe sounds amazing, and I’d really like to try it. My only problem is that I’m allergic to cashews (and soy and peanuts, walnuts, and dairy). Do you think a different nut would work instead? Pine nuts, almonds, pecans, etc? Is there a particular reasoning behind the cashews that I could seek to emulate?

    • I’ve never made this with any nuts but cashews, but I think it would be fine with an alternative. The idea behind the raw cashews is that they’re rich and creamy but have a neutral taste. Almonds would be the nuts most like this, I think. Pine nuts, pecans and walnuts would all have too strong a taste on their own, but they might be nice mixed with almonds. If you try it with another nut, let me know how it works out!

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