This spinach pie recipe is a little different from the norm. The filling is Greek inspired but the crust is made from almonds and pumpkin seeds, giving the dish a tasty and nutritious boost of protein.
This recipe came about as I was pondering what to cook for dinner and examining my available ingredients. A big bag of fresh baby spinach leaves and a block of creamy feta seemed to call out to be cooked together. A Greek spinach pie or spanakopita perhaps? But I wanted something different, something not so... well... pastry-ish. I'm always trying to find ways to incorporate more nuts and seeds in the family diet and I guess that's what ultimately inspired this spinach pie recipe. A nut crust is not only easy, it adds more flavour, protein and generally makes a pie more substantial. A simple green salad was all that was needed on the side.
I used fresh spinach for this pie but you can use the same weight of frozen if you prefer.
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
½ cup/60g pumpkin seeds
1 cup/130g whole almonds
1½ cups/60g whole wheat bread crumbs
3 tablespoons of olive oil
fine grain sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 8 cups/250g/9oz of fresh baby spinach or frozen spinach
200g/7oz feta cheese
200g/7oz ricotta or regular cream cheese
2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese or similar vegetarian cheese
First make the crust. Set the oven to 400F/200C. Use a food processor to roughly chop the almonds and pumpkin seeds, then transfer them to a large bowl. Next, finely chop the onion and garlic in the food processor too (or you can do this by hand but I figure if you have to wash the processor anyway....) Now add these to the almonds and pumpkin seeds together with the bread crumbs, olive oil and a little seasoning. Combine well. The mixture should just hold together when you squeeze it between your hands. Now press the mixture into a pie or quiche pan using the back of a spoon to press down firmly. I like to use a pan with a removable base. Here's what the prepared nutty, seedy crust looks like before baking.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes until golden and remove from the oven.
While the crust is cooking, wash and shred the spinach, then cook it for 3 to 4 minutes in a large pot over a medium heat (read more about cooking spinach if this is something you are not so familiar with.)
Drain the spinach in a colander and when it has cooled, give it a squeeze with your hands to make sure that any excess water has been removed. Now place the spinach in a large bowl with the feta, cream cheese and a good grinding of black pepper. I prefer not to add salt here as the feta is salty enough. Mash the cheeses and spinach together with a fork until smooth.
Now spread the mix over the crust. Sprinkle over the parmesan and bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden.
A simple salad or lightly cooked vegetable is good with this.