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.
I had Spanakopita pre becoming vegan and did not think it would be just as good veganised. I have just made this and I'm pleased to say it is...absolutely amazing. Thank you! 🙂
I am so happy you like to Carole!! That's my goal!! Thank you so much!
I tried your vegan spanakapita with cashew nuts but it came out very dry. Is there something I may have done wrong or can I fix it. I could take the tops off and add something moist but its very dry with the spinach , nuts and parsley mixture?
Hi Aurlee! Hmm, that is very surprising. It's hard to get it dry with so many ingredients that have a lot of moisture. I see it more often too wet. I am wondering if you soaked the cashews when making the feta? That is very important as it gives the moisture to it. Is it the inside filling that is dry? The filo is flaky and should be on the dry side and crispy. Did you brush with olive oil as you put it together? You could add a little oil to the inside and rebake to warm it up. That would help. If you are oil free, then maybe use a spray bottle to spray some water or broth and try baking again. This may make the bottoms a little soft but would help the filling. Let me know what happens!
This recipe exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t convinced the cashew feta would be a tasty sub for dairy feta, I was wrong! I also added mint in with the dill and parsley because I like a minty spanakopita. Great work Sophia.
Wooohoo!!! Thrilled you liked it! Yes, some people do add the mint but my mom doesn't. Thanks so much for the great review!
I’ve made this a few times now and it’s a hit even with my boyfriends Greek omni parents! Well worth the make
So happy you liked it Dylan!! Thanks so much!
Would it work as well if I use frozen spinach instead of fresh?
Hi Sunny! Yes! You can definitely use frozen. Just make sure you defrost at room temp and squeeze all of the water out so it doesn't get soggy!
Really great recipe! My Omni Greek guy and his mother loved it, too!
I'm so happy you liked it Wendy!
Hi! We have never had this dish before so know nothing about it…… I am wondering if it’s nice enough to eat cold? Because I would love to pack it for kids lunches! Thankyou!
Hi Lexa!! Yes!! I love it cold! It's a total preference but we eat it at room temp and even cold out of the fridge all the time. Same ideas as pizza, some like it cold some don't. Let me know if you try it!
Lovely recipe! I am so glad I found this- thank you 😊❤ for sharing with all of us. It's spot on and really very easy to do and tastes even better than the one with feta in it 🙂
I'm so happy you liked it!!
I cant wait to make thos recipe sounds so easy and nutritious. Thankyou
Hope you like it!!
Mine is now in the oven. I have made vegan spanakopita from different recipes. Now that cashews seem to be to go-to vegan cheese, I decided to try this one. It will probably be fine, but I ran into a problem trying to follow your directions for cutting the filo long ways to fit the length of your pan. I read this over several times and we left the filo in the soft rapper. Following the line that was half way length wise, we cut. We ended up with one half of the filo in strips that were half the width of the 9x13 in pan. That made sense because the 18 sheets sheets were 18x13. This meant that I had two rows of filo with a space between. There was no overhang and the other half of the filo was in very thin strips. Obviously, I did something wrong. So I came here as the recipe directions suggested to see the overhang and the fold over. There aren't any pictures of this. I suspect that I needed to partially unwrap before cutting but I'm not sure. Can you enlighten me and if pictures exist here or elsewhere, direct me? I know there are things I can do with the shreds, so if you have suggestions, they would also be welcome.
Hi Ruchama! I explained it better in the directions. When it said keep it in the package, I meant don't unroll it. Cut off the length (the edge) so that the length fits nicely in your pan. Then when you unroll it, the sheets won't hang of both edges. Hope that makes more sense! When I update the recipe I can add in another photo for that.
First vegan recipe that has really worked for me. In fact loving your website Sophia. Thank you!
I am so happy you liked it Meredith!! I am so happy to have you here! Also, your comment went through ok (may have been a temporary glitch with the wifi or technology in general). Always something. Haha!
don't bother cutting the phyllo, just fold it over to fit the pan. Much easier to just use it all up instead of cutting it off.
Glad that worked better for you! However for many first timers, it makes it easier to cut it so that it fits perfectly in the pan, this helps avoid you having to work super fast to ensure the file doesn't stick to itself. I have done both ways many times and like to give people not used to using filo some ideas to make it easier.
yummy. I want to eat this with coffee on a sunny morning on my porch...eating it infront of my lap top instead at night but tasty tasty tasty none the less.
Yay! So happy you liked it!
This was absolutely amazing. The flavors were great. First comment from my husband “can you make this again?’ Unfortunately the answer is no. phyllo dough is not easy to find here and my friend had given me some from her freezer that had been there for over a year. I did the oil free version and the only thing different I would do is put parchment paper to keep the phyllo dough from sticking to my baking dish.
I am so thrilled you liked it Sherri!! Thank you so much for the great review!
I made your recipe and it turned out great! Tastes just like my mom used to make. Thank you
Yay! So happy you liked it!
Excellent!!! I wasn’t convinced it would taste like the Spanokopita that I used to eat at Greek restaurants, but I must say I couldn’t tell the difference!! Thanks so much for this recipe!!
Oh my gosh thank you! I am so thrilled you liked it!
Sooo... I’m on hold. Never having heard of this gastronomic wonder... I stepped out of my wheelhouse at Whole Foods the other night and gave it a try. I immediately had to find a recipe and here you were. I noticed the one the other night had corn and peas as well... so I tossed them in... and my power went out. Here I sit with arguably the best filling ever made... for anything... EVER... and no place to go! >:( . Pray for power so I can finish this culinary miracle... thank you so much for sharing!!
Oh no! I hope your power went back on! Good thing the filling lasts a few days in the fridge! Let me know how it went.
Do you know if this freezes well?
Hi Megan! Yes! My mom used to freeze hers all the time. I'd say you definitely will need to bake a little again and the texture of the filling may change a touch but you can freeze it with good success. My mom would wrap hers in plastic wrap, then foil and then in a freezer safe container.