Give the Greek classic a twist with these savoury cheese and spinach scrolls. They’re great for lunch on the go.
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What is spanakopita? It’s a famous Greek savoury pie, filled with spinach, herbs and cheese, and encased in layers of golden filo pastry. It’s loved for its perfect combination of flavours and is the perfect entertaining dish, picnic partner or lunchbox addition. Its roots are believed to be in ancient Greece, but some argue it’s influenced by a similar Ottoman dish. We’re giving traditional spanakopita, usually baked in a large scroll using filo pastry like this spinach filo, a twist, making it even easier to share or portion for lunch on the go. This recipe for spanakopita scrolls has all the savoury goodness of the original flaky pie but in light fluffy scrolls. Served warm or at room temperature they’re perfect little rolls of the popular Greek pie.
This recipe for spanakopita scrolls calls for two lots of ingredients - one for the scrolls and one for the spinach filling. For the scrolls, you’ll need 7g (2tsp/1 sachet) of dried yeast, the key to making the scrolls rise. You’ll also need ½ tsp caster sugar and 1 ½ cups (225g) plain flour, plus ½ tsp salt and 1 tbs olive oil. There’s also 1 lightly whisked free range egg to brush over the top of the scrolls and black and white sesame seeds to sprinkle over them before they’re baked in the oven.
For the spinach filling, use 2 x 250g packets of frozen spinach which have been thawed and the excess liquid removed. Of course, spanakopita recipes aren’t complete without cheese - for this you’ll need 250g ricotta and 150g crumbled fetta for savoury flavour and creaminess. Give the filling a herbal hit with ¼ cup of finely chopped mint and 2 tbs coarsely chopped dill. One teaspoon of finely grated lemon rind gives the filling a tangy touch and ½ tsp ground nutmeg adds warmth.
Before you whip up the easy filling, you’ll need to prepare the dough for the scrolls. Combine ¾ cup (185ml) warm water with the yeast and sugar in a small jug. This will activate the dry yeast to help the bread rise. Set the mixture aside for 5 minutes or until frothy.
Then combine the flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add the yeast mixture and the oil and use a round-bladed knife to stir until a soft, sticky dough forms. Using a round-bladed knife to stir instead of a wooden spoon ensures a smooth dough and incorporates the wet and dry ingredients more easily. Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface so it doesn’t stick when you knead it for 10 minutes or until it’s smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and loosely cover with a damp tea towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.
For the filling, Use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid from the thawed frozen spinach as possible. Place in a medium bowl with the ricotta, fetta, mint, dill, lemon rind and nutmeg and mix all the ingredients together to combine. Season.
Now it’s time to put the scrolls together. While you’re doing this, preheat your oven to 200°C and grease a 22cm round cake pan and line the base and side with baking paper. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it until it’s smooth. Then roll it out to a 30cm x 40cm rectangle. Spread the spinach mixture evenly over the dough, leaving a 2cm border at 1 long end. Then, starting from the other long end, roll the dough over the filling to enclose. Use a serrated knife to cut evenly into 9 scrolls, then arrange them, cut-side up, in the cake pan. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to rise slightly.
Brush the scrolls lightly with a little egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180°C. Bake for another 20-25 minutes. You’ll know when they’re done when they sound hollow when tapped on the top. Serve the scrolls warm or at room temperature with mint sprigs and lemon zest.
Try some more twists to the traditional spanakopita with these lunchbox-ready spanakopita muffins or this speedy spanakopita-style chicken burger that’s a clever take on the classic flavours. Whip up this silverbeet and lentil pie for a healthier take. If you’re keen for more scrolls to take to your next picnic or serve at a casual get-together, look to these pepperoni and mushroom pizza scrolls or these too-easy cheesy pumpkin and caramelised onion scrolls.
Energy: 926kJ/222 Cals (11%)
Protein: 12g (24%)
Fat: 10g (14%)
Sat fat: 5g (21%)
Carb: 20g (6%)
Sugar: 1g (1%)
Fibre: 4g (13%)
Sodium: 428mg (21%)