Wild Green Spanakopita
Recipe by Chef Heidi Fink
Heidi Fink

Wild Green Spanakopita

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 45 mins
  • Ready in 1 hour 45 mins
  • Yield Serves 8

This is one of my favourite recipes of all time. The use of tender leeks, robust kale, and creamy macedonian feta really makes a difference to the flavour and texture. Overall, this labour of love will be one of the best spanakopitas you will ever eat, and will make a showstopping vegetarian centrepiece to any meal!


  • Filling
  • Pastry


  1. Get out your largest pot. Put an inch of water in the bottom and bring to a boil. Add the kale leaves and cover the pot, Let steam for about 1 to 2 minutes. Add spinach leaves and let steam for 1 minute more.  It is helpful to stir the greens with tongs from time to time. Use tongs to remove the greens from the pot and place on a tray to cool. Discard the water.
  2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the 1/4 cup butter and let melt. Add the prepared leeks and saute for several minutes, stirring frequently, until the leeks are soft and sweet (but not browned). Add the thyme and oregano and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Scrape this into a large bowl and let cool.
  3. The greens should be cool by now. Use your hands to squeeze the greens, handful by handful, until you have removed as much excess water as you can. As you finish squeezing each handful, place it on a cutting board, until you have a tray full of dark green water and a cutting board full of squeezed greens. Discard the water.
  4. Chop prepared greens finely and scrape into the bowl with the leeks. Add the salt, pepper, and fresh dill (or parsley).
  5. Crumble the feta cheese into very small pieces and add it to the bowl with the greens and leeks. Add the cottage cheese. Mix well (using gloved hands is best) until the filling is evenly mixed. Taste for salt and add more if you think it needs it.
  6. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat them until evenly coloured. Add the eggs to the filling and mix well with a wooden spoon until evenly mixed.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 F. Melt 1/2 to 3/4 cup butter in a small pot.
  8. Place a clean tea towel or piece of parchment down on the counter on one side of you. Open the package of filo pastry and carefully unroll the pastry onto the towel or parchment. Cover with another clean dry tea towel. Get a third towel out and moisten it, wring it as dry as you can, and place this over the dry towel that is covering the filo. (This double tea towel business ensures that the filo won’t dry out, nor will it get soggy and stick together.)
  9. Have ready a pastry brush, two baking trays lined with parchment paper, a small paring knife, the filling with a soup spoon in it, and lots of clean dry counter space.
  10. To roll individual spanakopitas:   Remove the top two tea towels from your filo. Gently remove one sheet of filo and place on the counter in front of you lengthwise. (Like a piece of paper – short side on the bottom, long sides on the sides.) Brush with an even coating of melted butter. Now remove two sheets of filo and place them carefully on top of the first, lining them up as much as you can. Cover the pile of unused filo again with the two towels (dry one first, damp one second). Brush the top of the filo sheet in front of you with melted butter, covering evenly. Cut the stack of buttered filo into three long even strips. Spoon about 3 to 4 tablespoons of filling on the bottoms of each strip.
  11. Fold the bottom of the filo over like a triangle and continue rolling until you have run out of filo. Repeat with the other two strips. Place the rolled filo on the tray and brush the tops with butter.
  12. Repeat steps 10-11 until all the filo is used up. I often find there are one or two sheets left at the end, instead of three to make a last batch. What I do in that case is brush the sheet with butter, fold it into thirds lengthwise, spoon some filling in and roll up one filo pastry.
  13. Place the filo in the oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until golden brown. The trays must be rotated top to bottom and back to front halfway through cooking. Let filos cool on the tray or on a rack for several minutes before eating.
  14. To make a big filo pie: Brush the bottom and sides of a deep-dish 9-inch pie plate OR cast iron pan with melted butter. Remove the top two tea towels from your filo. Gently remove one sheet of filo and place it in the bottom of the pie pan, so it covers the bottom and hangs off one side. Repeat with a second piece of filo, making sure it’s excess hangs off a different side than the first. Brush the bottom and sides of the pan with butter. Repeat process with two more sheets of filo, so that all sides of the pie pan have excess filo hanging off. Brush the bottoms and sides of the filo in the pie pan with butter.
  15. Put  few additional pieces of filo in the bottom of the pan, all crunkled up like mini blankets – one at a time, about 3 pieces – and drizzle with additional metled butter. Place about half the filling on the filo and spread out into an even layer.
  16. Rumple another 4 to 6 sheets of filo over the filling, one at a time, so they have lots of  individual folds. Drizzle with more butter – making sure to save about 3 Tb for the top later. Add the remaining filling over this layer of filo and spread evenly.
  17. Now lift the edges of the filo that are hanging off the sides of the pan (from the first layer) and fold over the top of the filling. brush with melted butter. Now add the remaining sheets, rumpled up like the others, all over the top. Drizzle with remaining butter (you may not need all the butter, just enough to cover the top.
  18. Slice the spanakopita into 8 wedges before baking. Place in the oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes, until the top is crispy and golden brown. let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. You will need to slice through again, just to be safe, but it will be easy.
  19. Serve either style of spanakoptia immediately with tzatziki. Salad or steamed potatoes make a nice accompaniment. Leftover keep for up to 5 days, well-wrapped in the fridge. These rehat beautifully in the oven.

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Reviews on "Wild Green Spanakopita" (2)

  1. December 9, 2023
    Loved watching you make this, you used filo pastry but went somewhere to see gluten free items made. I need to use gluten free pastry so where can I buy what you showed on the show. Can this recipe be made using their pastry
    • December 9, 2023
      Hi Kathleen, I went to Bake My Day gluten free bakery. Their products are available at Country Grocer, and for pick up direct through the bakery. And yes, you can use their pastry to make this!

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