Spinach pie, take one (spanakopita)

mmm pieOh, spinach pie: the ultimate veggie-friendly Midwestern comfort food. Spinach pie has always been there for me, at Kerby’s lunches with family to late night after-bar visits to Plaka’s in Greektown. Simple, filling and delicious, I could always count on the pie to be there on an otherwise meat-heavy menu.

Until I realized that gluten was off-limits, and I’ve been in mourning. No more spinach and feta goodness, no more flaky filo dough.

Before I tackled making gluten-free filo dough, I decided to go with an easier route. The blogger Exquisite Dish suggested a more standard pastry crust. And while mastering filo dough is on my list, I’d prefer it to be after midterms are over.

This recipe is going to be the first of several, as I search for ways to make spinach pie delicious without using wheat.



1/2 cup tapioca flour

3/4 cup millet flour

1/4 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/4 cup rice flour

1/8 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 tbsp xanthum gum

2 large eggs

2 sticks butter (less 4 tbsp) soft, at room temperature


1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 bags frozen spinach

1 egg

8 oz feta

2 tbsp fresh oregano

2 tbsp fresh parsley

1 tsp coriander


For the dough:

  1. Whisk all the flours together in a bowl, then sift the flours together in a sifter.
  2. Cream in the softened butter. Do not attempt to melt the butter in a saucepan, as you will have a crazy, buttery mess on your hands.
  3. Beat in the egg.
  4. Carefully, divide the dough into two pieces, into 1 inch tall flattened balls. Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for two hours.dough

For the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. While the dough is chilling, the spinach should be thawing. When it’s thawed, make sure to squeeze all the excess water out.
  3. Saute the onion until translucent.
  4. Add the spinach, oregano and parsley, and saute for a few minutes.2013-03-09 19.23.59
  5. Take the spinach off of the heat, let it cool, then set in a strainer to remove extra water. (Now would be a good time to take the dough out of the fridge.)
  6. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg with the feta and coriander. Mix in the spinach, then set in the fridge to cool.2013-03-09 20.05.39
  7. To roll out the dough, let it sit at room temperature for 10 or 15 minutes. It should feel cool to the touch— any warmer, and it’ll turn into a hot buttery mess.
  8. Using rice flour liberally on your rolling pin, carefully roll out the dough. I used two sheets of parchment paper (it makes it easier pick up the dough to transfer it to the pan.) The dough is like pastry dough, and can crack easily.2013-03-09 20.16.03
  9. When the dough is slightly larger than your 9 by 12 pan, carefully transfer the dough to the pan, and leave the edges over the sides.
  10. Add the filling, making sure the spinach mixture is nice and even.
  11. Again, using rice flour and parchment paper, roll out the other dough ball.
  12. Poke holes in the top of the dough, about five or six.
  13. Bake for 30 minutes.

Oh wow, was this stuff tasty. Lovely flakey crust, and the spinach and feta were cooked perfectly. Also, go easy on the salt in this recipe! Feta is a salty cheese, and you shouldn’t need to add extra salt to the spinach.

But with all that butter, not quite as healthy as I’d like— so my quest for the perfect gluten-free dough for spinach pie continues.

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