This authentic Greek recipe has gotten a makeover and is better than ever. This vegan spanakopita is hands down the absolute best you've ever had!
Well, it happened. And it happened hard. The true test was giving it to my boys who often eat her original version with feta. Let's just say that they asked me why I can't make "pita" like yiayia does. I may have danced in my kitchen like a fool.
I grew up eating my mom's spanakopita on a weekly basis, and now my boys take it down like hungry lions. It's as much a staple in our lives as water. I have always wanted to try a vegan makeover but it's such a coveted recipe that I was afraid to attempt it.
Well, lately I have been working with this incredible business coach, turned good friend, that has helped me tackle all these fears of mine that have been holding me back in scaling my business. So I decided, tackling this vegan spanakopita version was step one to my growth. And dang, I nailed it!
How do you mimic feta with a dairy free alternative
So feta is really just salt and tang. As much as I am against pretend feta (there is no recipe I found out there that comes close) in this vegan feta recipe all I needed to do was recreate the flavor because the texture is simply a ricotta like mixture.
One of my mom's personal twists in her original Greek spanakopita, is that she uses half feta and half cottage cheese to lighten up the filling. She has always done it this way so I knew that I could recreate that texture with cashews.
The flavor was easy, white vinegar gave the tang I needed and salt gave it that authentic saltiness. I left out the egg because you really don't need it for texture, but the rest of the recipe I followed as is.
Making vegan spanakopita step by step
The process itself is really quite easy, but there are multiple steps to getting it just right:
- Sauté the green onion and greens.
- Blend the simple 4 ingredient "feta' like filling.
- Combine the two.
- Layer the phyllo sheets at the bottom.
- Spread the mixture when you are half way through.
- Add the rest of the phyllo sheets.
- Cut into pieces.
- Bake and enjoy!
The kind of phyllo you use doesn't really matter, but I have found that the thicker phyllo sheets are easier to work with and come out a bit better. So if you have a choice, try finding a package that says "thick" or "#9 thick" to signify a thicker phyllo sheet.
If you like this Greek recipe turned vegan, don't miss all the others I have created too!
Healthy Vegan Gyros and Tzatziki Sauce
And if you love to eat food that tastes good but is actually healthy, check out this post!
World's Best Greek Vegan Spanakopita
- 12 ounces fresh spinach , chopped (can also use a mixture of spinach and chard)
- 1 bunch scallions , chopped (about 6-7 scallion bulb pieces)
- ¼ cup dill
- ¼ cup parsley , either kind works but I use Italian flat leaf
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Olive oil or veggie broth for sautéing
- 1 pound phyllo (filo) sheets , if you can find the thick ones use those (see note for gluten-free)
- ⅙ - ⅓ cup olive oil for brushing phyllo (filo) (see notes for oil free idea)
- 1 cup vegan feta cheese recipe , make the entire recipe for use here
- Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 175 C.
- In a skillet brown the scallions in olive oil or broth until soft, about 2 minutes.
- Add spinach, salt and pepper and sauté until wilted, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
- Add dill and parsley and mix well. Put the mixture in a large bowl.
- In a food processor, add the cashews (drain and rinse them after the soaking), vinegar, water and salt. Pulse until you get a chunky but coarsely chopped texture.
- Pour the cashew “feta” mixture into the bowl with the spinach and mix well.
- Pour the olive oil for brushing in a glass bowl. Or use the method for the oil free version.
- A little trick, cut the phyllo (filo) edge to fit the length of your pan, cut it while it is still rolled up in the package to make it easy. Meaning, keep it rolled, measure it in your pan then slice off the edge so that it fits in your pan well. You can keep the extra and use it for other things or if you're like my sister and I, we loved to eat it when we were young!
- Brush the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking pan with a little bit of oil.
- Then line the pan with half of one phyllo (filo) sheet, allowing the other half to hang over the edge, brush the half in the pan with some oil, then fold the other half over the top and brush it with oil too. See the photos in the post. This has to be done like this because the phyllo (filo) sheets are bigger than the pan.
- You are going to do this for half of the phyllo (filo) sheets, brushing each sheet with the olive oil.
- After you have used half of the sheets, spread the spinach mixture on top.
- Then top with the remaining phyllo (filo) sheets brushing each of them with the olive oil again.
- When done, cut into squares.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes until it is golden brown on top. Begin checking at 50 minutes as ovens vary.
- Let it cool completely before cutting through and serving.
- You can also use frozen spinach for this recipe. Just make sure to squeeze out all the water after it defrosts so that it doesn't get watery.
- Any kind of phyllo (filo) sheets will work but I find the thicker ones are quicker and easier. If you can find a package that says “thick” or “#9 thick” then get those.
- To make this gluten-free, you can make your own filo (search online for recipes), you can buy gluten-free puff pastry (Schar brand makes one) or you can be creative and use gluten-free pizza dough or tortillas and make individual pockets.
- If you forget to soak the cashews, simply boil them for about 25 minutes. They need to be soft so do not skip this step and use them dry.
- If you want to keep this oil free, sauté with broth and you can try to use a version of the trick I used in my Vegan Baklava to get the phyllo crispy. It called for Aquafaba mixed with almond butter and maple syrup since it's a dessert, but you can try it with just the aquafaba or the Aquafaba and almond butter. It’s better with the oil, but if you want to make this oil free, the aquafaba should work like it did in the baklava recipe. Keep in mind that the phyllo dough still has some oil in it.
- This makes 24 pieces, each piece is a serving in the nutrition info.
- Make the filling the day before.
Recipe by Veggies Don’t Bite, visit our site for more great plant-based recipes.
Nutrition and metric information should be considered an estimate.
This Spanikopita recipe is AWESOME! I will admit I augmented with a few things: I added WAY more spinach than the recipe called for. I added a liberal shake of dried shallots, and a whole block of vegan feta on top of the spinach/feta mixture! It is definitely a do-over! 🙂
Oh! And I didn’t add the dill! 🙂
So happy you liked it Donna! And glad you could make it your own!
Hi. My Spanakopita came out with curled phyllo dough. What went wrong?
The oven wasn't warmer, not longer
Hi Alexandra! Usually this happens when the phyllo is dry. It doesn't really affect the flavor, just the looks of it. If you brush on more oil it will help. Sometimes I get areas that curl up a little too. It can also be the kind of phyllo you used. Some are better than others. But if it still tastes good then I wouldn't sorry too much about it!
Hi.I really loved the vegan Spanakopita. I made it with the Dodoni Vegan Greek White.
Can you maybe veganise this lovely Karodopita, this Greek Walnut cake?
I'm so happy you liked it Alexandra! I can sure put the Karidopita on my list. I am not a fan of syrup on my cakes, it's a texture thing. But my mom always leaves some dry without the syrup for me and it's delicious!
Hi Sophia, when do you think you are going to veganise the Karodopita? I love the syrop on cakes.
I am going to make your spanakopita today again, as a birthdaypresent for my sister.
Hi Alexandra! I have it on my list, but it probably won't happen for a while. So sorry, there are other things I need to focus on right now. But it's there when I get a chance!I am so happy you like the spanakopita! I hope your sister does too!
Truly this is the best recipe. I made it and even used the feta cheese of your recipe and the result was just wonderful.
God bless you for sharing.
There are two types of spanakopita in Greece: one is with cheese and one is without cheese, made many times when fasting. So it's vegan if you do it without cheese anyway. I use frosted spinach which I boil with all the onions and dill until not much water has remained, and then throw in a cup of breadcrumbs (that's what I think you call it) to absorb any moisture left.
Technically this should be called spanakotiropita but because here in the US everyone called it spanakopita (and that is how this recipe is found on Google) I had to follow what Seo told me to do haha. The good thing is this version is dairy free but tastes as amazing as the cheese version!
I made these spanakopitas a couple weeks ago, they were fantastic. I want to make them again and i'm wondering if it would be a scandal to use frozen spinach? Do you think it would be less tasty / more watery?
Hi Ariane! You can definitely use frozen spinach. Just make sure to squeeze out all the water so it doesn't get watery! I have used frozen with success.
I used frozen spinach .....a package of frozen spinach "pucks" from the "World's Largest Retailer".
Defrosted overnight in the fridge, then placed in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to drip.....after a while use a large spoon or spatula to press the residual moisture out. Use the nutient rich water for soup.
Yes Pietro! I also allow to defrost overnight, or on the counter day of. I squeeze it out with a dish towel or spoon in a strainer as well. Glad it worked and love your no waste idea!
I tried this today after ages of wanting to give it a go and this recipe did not disappoint. Only mistake was adding a bit of salt in the spinach mixture but it did not need it. Thank you. Am going to try this filling with cannelloni.
I am so happy you liked it Priya! I think it would be delicious with cannelloni!
Love this recipe!! Made it a bunch of times, it's super delicious! Sent it to my mum who now also cooks it regularly too! I cheat and use puff pastry sheets. I also tend to be more generous with the greens and often add some chopped potatoes (pre cooked in microwave) to the filling to bulk it out a bit as our family have big appetites! So delicious, thank you!
Our daughter LOVES this spinach pie! It’s a dish she’s missed since having to cut out all dairy, egg, and wheat. The Schar phyllo is surprisingly flaky(ish). I do double the filling recipe, which seems to balance the thicker GF phyllo. I also added the juice of one lemon after first trying the recipe and I do like it better with the added lemon juice. I am making it again today to take her for her birthday this weekend because she keeps telling me how good it was the last time.
I’m so happy you liked it! Good to know about the schar gf pita. I’ll have to check it out.