Photos by Lindsey Johnson
If you’re a vegetarian, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding suitable Greek food. Sure, plenty of meat-centric entrees come to mind when you think of Greek cuisine, but the Greeks are also all about their veggies: stuffed grape leaves, the ever-popular Greek salad and–my personal favorite–spanakopita are all (typically) vegetarian.
If you follow a vegan diet, though, that’s another story. The Greeks are also all about eggs and cheese. This can be a bit of a bummer; I know it was for me when I started cutting these ingredients out of my diet. Spanakopita was my go-to meal at some favorite diners. (Seriously, it’s layers of flaky pastry stuffed with spinach and feta–a pie that you eat as a meal.)
You’d be hard-pressed to find a vegan spanakopita while dining out. This spanakopita recipe is totally vegan, but not lacking at all in the richness of conventional versions of the dish. Even though feta is a crumbly cheese, it melts during baking, so a creamy blended cashew cheese works perfectly as a stand-in. A little lemon juice adds some tang, and a coating of olive oil between each pastry sheet gives it that delicate flaky texture spanakopita eaters adore.
Another twist on this version of the recipe: it uses kale in place of spinach. “Spanakopita” translates to “spinach pie.” I couldn’t find a Greek translation for “kale pie.” (Does anyone reading this speak Greek?) Maybe that means they don’t eat a whole lot of kale in Greece. That’s okay though; this kale spanakopita is as delicious as it is nontraditional, with just a touch of tartness and a hearty texture.
For the Cashew Feta
For the Kale Filling
For the Pastry
Prepare the Cashew Feta
Prepare the Kale Filling
Prepare the Spanakopita
While preparing the spanakopita, keep your phyllo covered with a damp dish towel, as the sheets will dry out quickly otherwise. A 9 x 13-inch baking dish is the easiest way to go with this, because that's pretty close to the dimensions of most phyllo sheets. I prefer a 9 x 9-inch pan though, because it results in a thicker spanakopita that holds up better during cutting.
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