I admit. I once loved cheese. I’ll also admit that there are some days that I’ll forget how awful it makes me feel and just take the plunge and give in. I’ve found that urge creep up very often in Greece. How do you turn town some fresh Greek feta or Halloumi (though halloumi doesn’t really make me feel too bad thank goodness). It’s hard to avoid eating all kinds of cheesy concoctions over Easter week as most people are avoiding meat.
I walked into a bakery in Chania one morning, and on the counter lay this beautiful, golden brown tart. Frilly and crispy and just amazing to look at. I didn’t really care what it was to be honest. When that tart was sliced up, revealing this cheesy spinach filling I was in love in an instant. Cheese be damned. The outer crust was delicate and flaky from the phyllo and the inside was creamy and custardy and I’d have eaten every bite it there weren’t other people around and wasn’t afraid of being judged for it.
Now when I’m traveling I try and eat everything, but when I’m home I just cant justify eating that much cheese. Judgement or not. So, I’ve figured out the perfect lighter (and more tummy friendly) alternative. This vegan Spanikopita tart still ticks off all the boxes of the original. I tend to make this tart freeform, but if you want something that bakes up higher and less rustic, you can use a springform pan. Just be sure to grease the sides of the tin.
Vegan Spanikopita Tart
- 1 pound of frozen spinach, thawed and drained VERY well. You can also steam a pound of fresh spinach, but again drain very well before mixing.
- 1 large yellow onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 (16oz) package firm tofu, drained and crumbled
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 (16oz) package phyllo pastry, thawed in fridge
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach, dill, oregano, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
- Pulse the tofu in a food processor. Add the spinach mixture and lemon juice and process until well mixed. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Set aside and let cool
- Preheat oven to 375F. Unwrap the phyllo and remove eight sheets sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Reserve the remaining sheets for another use and seal tightly.
- Working on a parchment lined sheet tray (or springform pan), take one sheet of phyllo and brush a small amount of olive oil on it with a pastry brush. Top with another sheet of phyllo and repeat 4 times for a total of five sheets.
- Spread the filling on the pastry and smooth the top. Fold the excess pastry over the top as much as you can, keeping it as tight as you can. Take another sheet of pastry, brush with olive oil, crumple up and place it on top of the tart. Repeat with remaining pieces off phyllo, arranging over the tart to cover the top completely
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let rest for 15 minutes then slice. Serve warm or at room temperature (I personally like something right in between)
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE BE SURE TO TAG YOUR PHOTO #FIGSANDMAPLE