Here is a kale version of spanakopita that I think is the best kale recipe I have.
I love Greek spanakopita. It is traditionally a spinach pie in phyllo dough (or filo), but if you want to change it up a bit I think you will really love this recipe that substitutes super healthy kale for the spinach.
With kale nutrition facts being even more impressive than already healthy spinach, it makes sense that someone would think to use kale in a spanakopita recipe. And thankfully they did, so we can enjoy this wonderful Greek tradition and make it even more healthy.
The directions may look long and daunting but you will get used to making the little triangles much faster than you think. I just took my time the first time and it worked out really well.
- 10 cups kale
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, large, minced
- 6 green onions, including the green parts, trimmed and chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries, or currants, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 cup mint, fresh, chopped
- 2 teaspoons dill, dried, or 1/4 cupfresh dill
- 1 1/2 cups feta cheese, chopped
- pinch black pepper
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup olive oil, or vegetable oil combined with 1/2 cup melted butter
- 12 sheets phyllo dough, or filo (about half of the package)
- parchment paper
- Place the kale in a large pot with a lid, adding only an inch or so of water to create steam. Turn the heat to high until the water boils, then lower it to medium and steam the kale for about two minutes or until it is slightly wilted.
- Drain the kale in a colander, pressing out as much liquid as you can into a bowl. When the kale is cool enough to be handled, squeeze it out in paper towels or a clean tea towel to remove more liquid. It is important that the kale be as dry as possible. Chop it finely.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet, and sauté the onions over low heat until they are slightly soft, about five minutes. Add the green onions and sauté a few more minutes.
- Transfer the onion mixture to a medium bowl. Add the chopped kale, dried fruit if using, mint, dill, feta cheese and pepper. Combined lightly, then allow the mixture to sit and cool slightly. Lightly mix in the beaten eggs.
- Lay down one sheet of filo, short side toward you. Brush the bottom half of the sheet sparingly with the butter/oil mixture.
- Fold in half, toward you, to form a rectangle, positioning the rectangle so that the short side is near you.
- Using a knife or sharp blade, cut the folded filo in half lengthwise. You now have two long strips of double filo. Start with the first and put a spoonful of filling on the bottom left corner. Brush the rest of the strip lightly with the butter mixture.
- Fold the lower right–hand corner of the filo towards the other edge to form a triangle. Don't worry if a bit of filling comes out. By the time you turn the sheet a few times it will be fully encased. Keep forming triangles as if you were folding a flag until you reach the top of the filo.
- Brush the top lightly with the butter mixture. If there is a bit of an uneven edge, fold that over. The butter will keep it in place.
- To bake the kale spanakopita, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the pastry triangles on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are nicely browned.
Makes about 24 – 4 inch delicious kale pastry triangles.
Optional: Before baking, you can brush the tops of the triangles with a bit of the oil, butter mixture or a beaten egg and sprinkle them with sesame seeds.
- Here is a great idea: When you steam the kale, freeze the drained water to use in soup later on.
- You can make the filling a day or even two days ahead if you like.
Tips For Working with Filo/Phyllo Dough:
Because it is super thin, filo (or phyllo) dries out very quickly when exposed to air, so using these tips will help to make your experience a real success, even if it’s your first try.
1. Organize your supplies and have everything you need within reach: the filling, the oil/butter mixture, your pastry brush and a blade or sharp knife.
2. Always cover the filo, once out of its packaging, with a sheet of plastic or a plastic bag. Place damp (not wet) dish towel on top of the plastic bag. You can’t put the damp towel directly on the filo sheets because they will disintegrate.
3. Unroll four sheets, at a time from the packaging, enough for eight triangles, then gently fold each in half and place inside a plastic bag. Remove sheet 1 at a time, placing it on a pliable plastic chopping board or surface.
Making Kale Spanakopita Ahead:
I often freeze half of the triangles (or more) before baking them. When they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag for storage. You can store them, well wrapped and frozen, for a few weeks before baking them. When you are ready to baked your kale spanakopita place them on a cookie sheet that has been lined with a sheet of parchment paper, let them thaw a bit, then bake in a preheated oven as stated above.