Many years ago, a Greek friend convinced me to make vegan spanakopita, a Greek spinach pie layered with creamy cheese and crispy phyllo pastry. Spanakopita is the quintessential vegetarian Greek food. In fact, it’s probably one of the first dishes you picture when you think of Greek cooking.
I wasn’t sure how well it could be veganised but I made my own vegan feta and…
It was heaven.
And my (non-vegan) Greek friend said it was delicious and authentic-tasting, too.
So here’s a dairy free spanakopita recipe that doesn’t sacrifice on flavour.
Want to make some more vegan Greek recipes with me?
Ready to make spanakopita? Grab yourfood processor!
A Note on Vegan Cheese for Vegan Spanakopita
Now, this isn’t any old vegan spanakopita.
I don’t do simple.
This recipe cuts no corners.
A lot of spanakopita recipes call for both feta and ricotta cheese.
So, we’re going to be making BOTH vegan feta and ricotta from scratch (using a good food processor!), then mix them up with spinach, layer with phyllo and bake them up!
If You Don’t Have Time for (Vegan) Cheesemaking…
If you don’t have the time or energy to make your own vegan cheese, you can make a “nistisimo” version of spanakopita. It’s still eggless spanakopita and dairy-free too; in this version in Greece they just leave out the cheese completely.
In Greece, traditional Orthodox believers following a “fasting” diet during Lent, which is in essence vegan (except for the addition of honey, sometimes).
(Top tip — if you’re ever in Greece, request the nistisimo/fasting food!)
To make the “nistisimo” or fasting version of spanakopita there’s no cheese. Just leave out the vegan cheese entirely for an easier version but bear in mind it won’t be as rich or creamy.
Up for vegan cheesemaking?
If you want super rich and creamy vegan spanakopita, then I highly recommend you include vegan cheese.
I’ve tried storebought vegan ricottas but I prefer this homemade version. Plus it’s healthy and is simple and quick to make. It might seem complicated but it actually only takes about 10 minutes to pop all the ingredients in the food processor and make your own cheese!
Equipment you’ll need
To make this recipe, you’ll need…
- Coffee/spice grinder (to save time–here’s how I save 20 hours by using a coffee grinder instead of soaking cashews)
- Food processor (click here to read my food processor buying guide)
- Mixing bowl (I like Pyrex because it doesn’t stain and is heat-safe)
- Cake pan/baking tin
- Frying pan
Looking for a creamy and rich vegan spanakopita recipe? Look no further!
- 8-10 sheets of phyllo pastry (many storebought versions are vegan, but check the ingredients to make sure)
- 750 g (around 1.5 lbs) of fresh spinach
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
- 2-3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 8 green onions, green parts only, chopped
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- 1 recipe vegan feta (see below)
- 1 recipe vegan ricotta (see below)
- Melted vegan margarine or olive oil
- 200 g extra firm tofu, crumbled roughly to feta-size chunks
- 1 tbsp white miso
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1-2 tsp dried Italian herb blend
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp tahini
- 200 g drained and pressed extra firm tofu
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
- Preheat oven to 180 C/350 F. Lightly grease a 9X12 inch baking pan with olive oil. Begin by layering one phyllo sheet, then brushing with melted vegan margarine and olive oil (using a pastry brush if you have one; if you don't just use your cleaned fingers). Layer another phyllo sheet on top of that one, and coat it with melted margarine/olive oil. Continue until you have used up half your pastry sheets. Place these in the oven for 10-15 minutes to ‘pre-bake’ the bottom layer of crust and prevent it from going soggy.
- In the meantime, heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and saute the onions until translucent, then add the garlic, dill, mint and green onions and saute until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch of nutmeg and some freshly ground salt and pepper and saute for another minute, then remove from the heat.
- Steam or saute the spinach until cooked, then allow to cool and squeeze out any excess water.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix the spinach, the onion/garlic/herb mixture, the ricotta and the feta until well combined. Scoop this onto the pre-baked layers of phyllo dough and spread out evenly. Put a layer of phyllo dough on top of this, brush with oil, add another layer and continue (brushing all layers with oil) until you’ve used all the phyllo dough. Brush the final layer with olive oil and cut into squares, cutting through the top layers of phyllo and spinach mixture but not cutting through the bottom layers of phyllo dough (leave those intact!).
- Bake for 15 minutes or so, until the edges or the crust have turned golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature or slightly above. Cut through the bottom layers of dough in the squares and serve with crusty bread and a Greek salad.
- Crumble tofu roughly into a bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix the miso, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, Italian herb blend, nutritional yeast and tahini until thoroughly combined. Pour this mixture of the tofu and mix thoroughly.
- Refrigerate. Leave to marinate overnight. Best served after it has marinated overnight, as the flavours will have melded better.
- In a spice grinder , grind cashews until fine.
- In a food processor , blend ground cashews, tofu, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and nutritional yeast until it forms a thick paste.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see how it turns out! Tag @theveganword or use the hashtag #theveganword on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. :)
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16 thoughts on “Vegan Spanakopita (Greek Spinach & Feta Pie)”
What a cracking spanakopita recipe. I always have a nightmare wrestling the filo pastry though – it always dries out before I can get it to do what I want! Any tips?
Thanks! So what I do is take the whole pastry out of the package, then take one piece at a time and put it in the tray to be covered in oil/melted marg, while covering the others with a towel. I find the towel keeps it from drying out too much!
Place a sheet of wax paper over filo dough and cover wax paper with a damp towel. As you use the filo cover it back up with both wax paper and towel.. repeat as you go.
I always cover the filo with wax paper and then a moist towl over top of that … It definitely keeps it from drying out.
Great tip, thanks Chris! I’ll try it next time. :)
How is this vegan with cheese. Vegan means no animal products.
Hi Deborrah, If you look at the recipe there aren’t any animal products in it, it’s a recipe for vegan pie with VEGAN cheese. The recipe explains how to make two different kinds of vegan cheese – vegan ricotta and vegan feta – using tofu, cashews and other vegan ingredients. :) As it says in the recipe, it calls for “1 recipe vegan feta (see below) / 1 recipe vegan ricotta (see below)”. Both recipes for the vegan cheese follow!
Read the recipe before you comment please. This recipe is animal friendly pfft….
I absolutely love this recipe, I will add more lemon next time, and it would have been helpful to know that the “cheese” takes 24 hours. My bad, I should have read through the recipe before I started at 7pm! All in all, I will be making this again.
Re. the cashews, should they be raw or roasted? Raw and soak in water? It doesn’t mention that in the recipe that I saw, but I know this is how most vegan cheese recipes with cashews get it really creamy. Thanks.
Does this vegan version freeze OK and if so any advice whether to defrost first or straight into oven?
I haven’t tried freezing it but if you do please report back, I’d love to know how it works! I’d put it straight in the oven, but of course you’ll need to leave it in longer to cook through, so you’ll need to keep an eye on it to see how it’s cooking. Let me know how it goes!
So when you prebake the phyllo, you have them stacked on top of one another as they bake and they don’t stick?
Hi Ashley! They shouldn’t stick, but make sure to brush each layer with oil (or melted margarine) as you stack them up, and then pre-bake them. The oil will keep them from not sticking! :)
Fantastic consistency, but not particularly flavourful (a typical tofu problem). Incorporating veg broth into either the vegan feta or ricotta mix might be a good idea… or are there any other ways to up to the flavour content?
But a great recipe to build off of! The two different “cheese” mixes was brilliant – having three consistencies in the filling really gave this recipe some depth.
Thanks, Ley. The broth idea is interesting although I wonder if it would add too much liquid/make the cheese watery. I’d probably add some concentrated stock paste instead (no water). The other way to up flavour in the cheese would be to increase the amount of the spices, miso or nutritional yeast (though obviously each would change the flavour profile in a different way)–but good way to experiment!