Greek-style Spinach Hand Pies #SundaySupper

by Amy Kim on August 18, 2013 · 39 comments

Greek-style Spinach Hand Pies | www.kimchimom.com

We are spending the last few weeks of summer vacation visiting family and it’s unbelievable to think that school is starting in less than a month. My older one is starting kindergarten this fall (that reality hasn’t quite hit me yet) while my younger one will have another year of preschool. Back-to-school shopping has been slipping from my mind, but my sister snaps me back to reality when she mentions new backpacks or shoes for my nephew, and then I have to conjure up motivation again to look at winter jackets and lunchboxes because by September everything is backordered.

I also start to rethink the kids’ lunches and try to add more options beyond the 4 to 5 dishes that I rotate through. I get super motivated the first couple of weeks – trying different meals, prepping the night before – then the mojo is gone and I slip back to the same old menus. I mean, the meals are good and my kids aren’t complaining, but variety is not a bad thing.

Spanakopita or spinach pies are a mainstay in my kids’ lunchboxes. They are awesome. The kids love them, no need for utensils, and they are (generally) healthy. We buy the Whole Foods brand of frozen spanakopita. Heat them up in the morning and they’re done. They are still great at room-temperature. The only downside is that they are made with phyllo dough so by the time they dig into lunch the nice flaky crust has deflated into a not-so-flaky crust. Not that the kids really mind or anything.

Knowing that spinach is one vegetable they love and just adoring the idea of an easy-to-make hand-held meal, I set out to make my own homemade version. I’ve made spanakopita before using the Cook’s Illustrated recipe and the kids loved it, but working with the phyllo dough was a tedious process. I turned to Serious Eats (one of my go-to recipe websites) to see what they had for spinach pie options. I also took a peek at the list of ingredients on the back of the Whole Foods box to see if I could replicate the filling.

I also followed the tip of using store-bought pastry dough instead of the phyllo dough and the results were pretty good and so much easier to work with than phyllo. You are welcome to make your own dough, but I like to save time where I can!

I LOVED how these pies turned out! Granted the single serving size is more for an adult than for my kids, but that can easily be adjusted by cutting a smaller square. I really love the tang from the cream cheese and the zip from the lemon zest. AND they can be made ahead of time and frozen for later consumption. Truth be told, however, my 4 and almost-6 year old reacted with a resounding “Ewwwwww! I only want to eat the cruuuuust!” But I figure I can condition them to love it like I do with all things green and edible! And if that doesn’t work, more for mom and dad!

Greek-style Spinach Hand Pies #SundaySupper
 
Great for a brown bag lunch!
Author:
Recipe type: Main dish
Cuisine: Greek
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 6-8 ounces of feta cheese, room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • Zest of one lemon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (OR dried dill)
  • Flour, for dusting
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt, and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute.
  2. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add spinach and another pinch of salt. Cook spinach until very tender but not too mushy. Remove the skillet from heat and set aside. We want the spinach to cool down until it is easy to handle.
  3. In a large-sized bowl, mix together the feta cheese, cream cheese, egg, lemon zest, nutmeg, and dried herbs. Mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  4. Once the spinach has cooled, transfer the spinach into the bowl with cheese. It is best to use tongs. Give it a gentle squeeze to get rid of some of the excess liquid before transferring into the cheese bowl. It's not critical that you squeeze the spinach dry.
  5. Once the all the spinach is transferred. Mix the spinach and cheese together until thoroughly combined. Set aside in the refrigerator. The mixture will be easier to handle if it's chilled.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400°F and adjust the rack to middle position.
  7. Now we're ready to work with the puff pastry dough. Dust your work surface and rolling pin with white flour. Roll out the puff pastry dough into a 10- by 8-inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into equal quarters or 4 equal rectangles.
  8. With a fork, pierce the dough a few times. Take the bowl of spinach and cheese from the refrigerator. Scoop about a heaping ¼ cup of the spinach & cheese mixture onto each rectangle of dough and fold over the dough in half. To seal the edges, either crimp the edges with the back of a fork OR fold the edges over and press. The latter method is a better seal, but the former is prettier. You choose! Make a few small slashes through the pastry across the top of the pie.
  9. Line a large baking sheet with a sheet of parchment. Bake the pies on the baking sheet until pastry is well-browned, about 30 minutes.
  10. If you are not baking the pies right away, lay the pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for several hours. Once frozen, transfer the pies into a large zip-top food storage bag. Thaw the pies overnight in the refrigerator when you're ready to bake them. Follow step 9.
  11. Serve hand pies warm or at room temperature.

 

Greek-style Spinach Hand Pies | www.kimchimom.com

Liz of That Skinny Chick Can Bake is our host for this week’s Lunchbox #SundaySupper. Here’s what everyone else is packing in their brown bag lunch:

Sandwiches, Wraps and Entrees:

Munchies, Salads and Sides:

Sweet Treats:

And remember that we have a #SundaySupper chat at 7 PM each on Sunday evening. We tweet throughout the day using the hashtag #SundaySupper, then we all gather to share ideas, recipes and answer questions from 7-8 PM ET. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest Board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? You can sign up here: Sunday Supper Movement

 

 

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