I rarely rave about a recipe, or at least I don’t think I do. But I have to rave about this one because it was quite simply the best thing I’ve eaten in a long time. (And that is including decadent deserts, too!)
This was something that was both long in the planning and thrown together at the last minute. I’d been planning to make a spinach pie for days; I’d gotten the phyllo dough out of the freezer on Wednesday, but then I got all bogged down looking at other people’s recipes. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make something similar to the spinach pie we get at our local Middle Eastern restaurant (just spinach, no tofu or feta cheese) or more like a spanakopita, with tofu instead of feta. I looked at several recipes on-line and consulted Vegan with a Vengeance. I even toyed with the idea of using chickpeas instead of tofu (and I may yet try that). After days of indecisiveness, I decided on Saturday to throw away all recipes and just do it–trust my instincts and go it alone.
My instincts told me to add artichoke hearts and Kalamata olives, and I’m glad I did. They, along with the lemon juice, give a salty tang to the filling. My instincts also told me to add pinenuts, but unfortunately I was out of them; the sliced almonds I substituted may have actually been better, with their more substantial crunch.
I used to be worried about working with phyllo dough, but I’ve found the secret is to have everything in position on my workspace before I even get the dough out of the fridge. I spread it out on a moist towel and cover it with another damp towel. I put the 9X13-inch baking dish right in front of the dough, between me and the phyllo, so it’s a short distance to lift the delicate pastry into the baking dish. I have a spray bottle of olive oil ready, and as soon as the the phyllo is in the dish, I spritz it very lightly. I move so quickly on to the next sheet that there’s hardly time, or need, to re-cover the dough.
This turned out to be so good that even E., our resident hater-of-anything-new, loved it. She named it “a different kind of lasagna.” And if E. equates something to lasagna, you know it’s good!
Spinach and Artichoke Pie
- 1 medium onion, chopped fine
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12-16 ounces baby spinach (I used the pre-washed, bagged kind)
- 1 pound extra-firm tofu
- 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. salt, or to taste
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. minced Kalamata olives
- pinch cayenne
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 14-ounce can quartered artichokes, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, slightly crushed (or toasted pinenuts)
- 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
- olive oil in spray bottle
- Sauté the onion and garlic in a large, deep non-stick skillet for 3 minutes. Add the spinach and 2 tablespoons water, stir, and cover the skillet. (If you couldn’t fit all of the spinach in, wait a minute for the spinach to shrink and add more.) Cook until the spinach is completely wilted and shrunken. Set aside.
- While the spinach is cooking, mash the tofu and stir in the nutritional yeast and all the seasonings, including the olives. Add the artichokes, almonds, and the spinach mixture, and mix well.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and lightly spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with olive oil. Unwrap the phyllo dough and arrange it beside the baking dish as described above. Lay a sheet of phyllo over the bottom of the pan, spray it lightly with olive oil, and repeat the process until you have 6 sheets in the bottom of the pan. Make sure the remaining phyllo is covered with a damp cloth, and pour the spinach-tofu filling into the pan, spreading it to completely cover the phyllo. Repeat the phyllo process, covering the filling with six more sheets, spraying each one lightly. Make sure to spray the top sheet thoroughly, so that there are no un-oiled spots.
- With a sharp knife, cut through the top layer of phyllo to form 9-12 equal pieces. (This helps to keep the phyllo from breaking when you cut it after baking).
- Put it in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Enjoy!
Preparation time: 20 minute(s) | Cooking time: 35 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 9
Per serving: 187 Calories (kcal); 5g Total Fat; (24% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 27g Carbohydrate; 0mg Cholesterol; 531mg Sodium; 6g Fiber.