Healthy Spanakopita Spinach Pastry Recipe (with video)

Healthy Spanakopita Spinach Pastry Recipe, made with olive oil, instead of butter, makes this fresh spinach, lemon and feta phyllo pastry, healthier. 

large dinner size spanakopita
Large Dinner-size Spanakopita


Spinach is one of my absolute favorite, healthy and most versatile leafy vegetables. Growing spinach in pots was surprisingly easy; who knew!

One autumn day, while my grandsons were visiting with me, we put some spinach seeds in a few hanging baskets. 

planting grandma's spinach in September
Planting Grandma’s Spinach In September

I planned to bring them inside for the winter, if I saw any sign of growth from the seeds, but was doubtful. 

By winter, the baskets were sitting in my little potting shed, bursting with spinach leaves. 

I decided to make an authentic spanakopita recipe from the fresh leaves, rather than the Mediterranean version I grew up making, known as Fatayer.  

My winter greenhouse
My Winter Greenhouse

Healthy Spanakopita Recipe

Are you a first time spanakopita maker? Here is a fun fact; Spanaki, is the Greek word for spinach and pita is the word used for bread dough. 

However, the classic Greek dish, we know as spanakopita, is made from sheets of filo pastry, we know as phyllo, rather than the pita dough.

Traditionally, a meat or spinach pie recipe I grew up making, is called Fatayer.  

For an easy spanakopita recipe, I will be using sheets of filo pastry, without the melted butter the Greeks use, and keep it healthier using olive oil, the Mediterranean way

olive oil brushed spanakopita
Olive Oil Brushed Spanakopita


Working with pastry dough, particularly phyllo dough, is not as difficult as it may seem, and I will give you step-by-step photos, instruction and a video to help you. 

The trick, is finding a brand of phyllo dough that isn’t torn, dried or broken when you thaw and open to work with it. 

The best way to get started is to work on a flat surface, while working with one sheet of phyllo dough at a time, on a lightly floured surface.

The remaining stack of phyllo sheets should remain covered with a damp towel to keep from drying out. 

Crisp and Baked Spanakopita Pastry
Crisp and Baked Spanakopita Pastry

Healthier Greek Spinach Pie

Working with olive oil instead of melted butter, is easier to baste with a pastry brush than having to keep the butter melted and try not apply too much.  

Another aspect to a healthy spanakopita pastry, is to use fresh baby spinach leaves instead of frozen spinach.

There is often too much liquid in frozen spinach making for excess moisture in the egg mixture. 

Fresh homegrown spinach leaves are what I use in the spring, when they grow abundantly in pots, before it gets too hot. 

crisp phyllo spinach pastries with olive oil
Crisp Phyllo Spinach Pastries With Olive Oil

A Vegan Spanakopita Option

With fresh spinach leaves, filo pastry sheets, a little olive oil and a little cashew cheese, you can make a delicious vegan spanakopita!

There will not be the addition of eggs to this version but the vegan cheese, especially a homemade cashew cheese, will help to hold the ingredients together. 

In my homemade cashew cheese, I use a little nutritional yeast, which brings the fermented tangy aspect to the flavor, similar to a flavor found in cheese. 

wilting spinach
Wilting Spinach

How To Make Spanakopita Filling

The first step is to make the spinach, egg and feta filling. 

However, we need to wilt the spinach and let it cool before adding it to the mixture. 

This is easily done by place the mound of spinach into a large frying pan, with just a tablespoon of water on the bottom. 

Place a lid on to create steam over medium-high heat, only until the leaves begin to wilt. 

Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a mixing bowl. 

Once the leaves cool, the remaining ingredients can be added, along with some chopped fresh herbs.

working with phyllo dough with butter
Working With Phyllo Dough With Butter

How To Prepare The Spanakopita Pastry

While many of us are skeptical in working with phyllo pastry, it really is quite forgiving. 

Should it tear or break while working with it, simply ‘glue’ it together with olive oil, while preparing. 

Like any cuisine in the world, there is a family style and a traditional style of preparing many dishes. 

For a family style, in preparing this traditional Greek dish, the phyllo dough is prepared in layers, in a sheet pan, with the delicious spanakopita filling sandwiched between multiple layers. 

A more attractive way to prepare and serve the same traditional Greek spanakopita recipe, is to fold the filling into small triangles of phyllo dough. 

This method is easier to serve individually, looks prettier on a platter for a family gathering, or made small enough to be served as a Meze dish.

Spanakopita tarts
Spanakopita Tarts

A Shortcut Method Of Spanakopita

Often times, traditional Greek food, much like Mediterranean cooking, takes time and has many steps to take simple ingredients and turn them into something suitable for ‘fine dining’. 

However, we don’t often have the luxury of the time it takes to make traditional foods, the traditional way, and so I have a delicious ‘shortcut’ for you!

Simply pick up a package of mini phyllo tart shells, make this very same recipe, place a dollop in each tart shell with a crumble of feta on top, and you have the same flavors but in a different presentation! 

Also, if you want a real twist on the same ingredients we love in a spanakopita, try these Spanakopita Muffins!

spanakopita muffins and spanakopita tarts
Spanakopita Muffins and Spanakopita Tarts

What To Serve With Spanakopita

  • Spanakopita Burgers – Best Greek Spanakopita Burger Recipe with lean ground beef or lamb, spinach and feta makes for the best burgers, especially on a homemade bun!
  • Lamb Kofta – Kofta Kabobs for Guy’s Grocery Games were just one of the ‘winning’ dishes I prepared, sharing a favorite ground lamb and spice on a stick kabob recipe!
  • Eggplant Tomato Stacks – Mediterranean Eggplant and Tomato Stacks, with eggplant sautéed to a crispy outer, pump tomatoes, cheese, pesto and wine drizzle stacks!
  • Fish In A Fig Leaf – Freshly harvested Fig and Garlic Chive Pizza with zucchini rolls, over ground meat, feta and a drizzle of honey over an Almond crust pizza dough. 
Mediterranean Medley Of Fabulous Food
Mediterranean Medley Of Fabulous Food

Ingredients Needed

  • Fresh spinach
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Lemon juice
  • Feta
  • Coarse salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Phyllo dough
Dirt To Dish Cookbook

Equipment Needed

  • Parchment paper
  • Baking sheet pans
  • Basting brush
  • Slotted Spoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Mixing fork
  • Stovetop or burner for melting butter
  • Oven
spanakopita ingredients
Spanakopita Ingredients
Healthy Spanakopita Spinach Pastry Recipe

Healthy Spanakopita Spinach Pastry Recipe

Healthy Spanakopita Spinach Pastry Recipe, made with olive oil, instead of butter, makes this fresh spinach, lemon and feta phyllo pastry, healthier. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Tapas
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Keyword: Spanakopita
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 1 dozen


  • Baking sheet pan
  • Pastry brush


  • 1 lb Fresh leaf spinach
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Garlic clove crushed
  • 1 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 4 oz Feta crumbled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil or as needed
  • 12 sheets Phyllo dough or as needed


  • Preheat oven to 350. Place parchment paper on one or two baking sheets.
  • On top of the stove, in a large pan with a lid, place a few tablespoons of water and a mound of spinach to wilt the leaves, about one minute.
     Remove with a slotted spoon, to a mixing bowl, making sure to drain off any excess liquid, and let cool before continuing with the spinach filling.
  • Whisk in the eggs, crushed garlic cloves, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the crumbled feta cheese into the mixture and stir. Set aside. 
  • Have the phyllo dough opened and unfolded with a towel over it so it doesn't dry out, a basting brush and a small cup of olive oil ready. 
  • Take one large sheet of phyllo, lay it open, and brush lightly with olive oil. Fold it in half lengthwise, so it is narrow and long. Place a small dollop of the spinach mixture in the bottom corner. Begin to fold quickly ‘flag-style’ triangles, while brushing a little oil as you fold. Set the triangle on the parchment paper lined baking sheet and repeat until all the filling is used. Brush the top layers with a little more olive oil.
  • Bake about 15 to 20 minutes, until the pastry is golden, but do keep an eye on it not to brown too quickly. 


health spinach pastries - Spanakopita
Healthy Spanakopita Spinach Pastry Recipe
5 from 2 votes
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