Spanakopita Pockets

You know those times when you’re in the grocery store and you’re absolutely starving, and against your better judgment you end up filling your cart with all sorts of absurd things that you wouldn’t normally buy? I tend to toss in boxes of trashy appetizers like mini-quiche, egg rolls, and those itty bitty spanakopita bites. So delicious! Cocktail party food puts a smile on my face in the same way that finding a really great pair of jeans does. Grocery store impulse shopping could quite possibly be a shop-a-holic category all on it’s own don’t you think?

For the most part though it’s generally looked down upon when you consume only appetizers for a meal. Unless of course you happen to be Rachel Flax: remember the movie Mermaids and all of those star-shaped bologna sandwiches? Well in the spirit of Cher and coupled with my love of all food containing copious amounts of cheese I whipped up these substantial meal-sized portions of a much loved appetizer. Triangles are just as cool as stars, right?

Spanakopita Pockets
Loosely inspired by Ina Garten’s Dinner Spanakopita published in Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients and Amy Sedaris’s Spanakopita published in I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence
Yields 6

1 onion, chopped
8 scallions (white and green parts), chopped
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 roasted red pepper, diced
2 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach, defrosted and well drained
3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
3/4 cup cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons of Pine Nuts
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 1-lb box of phyllo pastry
1 stick of butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375º

In a medium-sized skillet saute the chopped onion in olive oil until translucent. Add the scallions and cook until soft. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool the onion mixture.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the beaten eggs, diced red pepper, spinach, all of the cheeses, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Then stir in the cooled onion mixture.

Carefully unwrap the phyllo from the box. Lay one sheet of pastry in front of you lengthwise. Brush the dough lightly with butter. Then top the buttered layer with another fresh piece of dough and repeat until you have 4 buttered layers of phyllo. Using a large chef’s knife, cut the pastry in half lengthwise.

Place a cup of the cheese and spinach mixture on one end of each piece of pastry. Then fold the dough edge-over-edge, as though you are folding a flag. The end result should be a tidy triangle. Repeat until you have made 6 pockets.

Place the pockets on a lightly buttered cookie sheet. Then gently brush the leftover melted butter over the tops of the pockets.  Bake until the spanakopita are lightly browned; approximately 30-35 minutes.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 PaintingChef March 2, 2009 at 9:03 am

I love all those mini-appetizers too. They are just so cute and wee but they are ALWAYS a disappointment, aren’t they? Still… I cannot resist…


2 JenniferR March 2, 2009 at 9:10 am

Crazy! I just “invented” a similar recipe. I had planned to make something similar to Ina’s spinach pie as well and realized I bought puff pastry instead of the phyllo dough. I ended up making “turnovers”, a meal-sized version of the spinach puff appetizer triangles. They were delicious and really easy! They were much more appealing to the family since the ratio of spinach to pastry was much more balanced than the “pie” version. I wished I had your recipe for ingredients to browse when I was looking online! Love your site!


3 Amanda March 2, 2009 at 9:19 am

Do you think these would freeze well after being baked?


4 anna March 2, 2009 at 9:47 am

I love appetizer dinners, or as I like to call them “snack dinner”. i would also love to be eating one of those.


5 snooky doodle March 2, 2009 at 10:03 am

these ;ppl de;icious. I woul like these for dinner 🙂


6 Kelly March 2, 2009 at 10:08 am

I hear you on those tempting appetizers. Trader Joe’s is the worst for that stuff because not only do they have a lot of tempting options but they’re all really, really good. That looks delicious. I love that you adapted it partially from I like You, Cooking Under the Influence as I just finished that audio book and found it quite amusing.


7 dawn March 2, 2009 at 10:55 am

Oh I could eat these for breakfast!


8 Diana March 2, 2009 at 11:08 am

I love eating appetizers for dinner…it’s like tapas! 🙂 Your spanakopita pockets look delish. I always get lots of spanakopita at our town’s Greek festival!


9 kellypea March 2, 2009 at 11:35 am

I’m smiling over the memory of Cher and Mermaids. Loved that movie! Jalapeno poppers are what usually end up in my basket and I don’t share….Your spanakopita looks so good! I wanted to make it for my Greek dinner, but was too impatient. This sounds like a great recipe to try.


10 Pam March 2, 2009 at 11:44 am

I am the only person in my family who prefers a meal of appetizers, so I always lose when we’re planning holiday meals 🙂


11 Sarah March 2, 2009 at 11:46 am

I’ve never had spanakopita but have eaten my weight in hummus, pita, and falafel. I definitely need to try spanakopita your photos look amazing as usual.


12 Ryan Rose March 2, 2009 at 11:47 am

I completely share your love of cocktail party food as comfort food, and your love of impulse grocery shopping. (I love TJ’s mini-quiches!) I can spend hours in the mall without finding anything I like — I do not have that problem at Trader Joe’s.


13 Alisa March 2, 2009 at 12:17 pm

That looks wonderful … I definitely want to try out spanakopita now!


14 Pat March 2, 2009 at 1:32 pm

These look delicious! I love having an “appetizer” meal. Thanks so much for sharing ~


15 Elyse March 2, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Oh my gosh. These look sooo delicious. There is nothing wrong with a meal of appetizers. Especially if those appetizers look as delicious as these spanakopita pockets. Man, I’m hungry for some of these.


16 ttfn300 March 2, 2009 at 8:21 pm

oh, some of my favorite flavors 🙂 very yummy, indeed!


17 Anna March 2, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Erin, I love your blog. This is my first time posting here so I wanted to say that first!
Spanakpita is a true labour of love and worth every second. Those pictures are beautiful and remind me that I really need to make some again–SOON!


18 patsyk March 2, 2009 at 9:23 pm

I see nothing wrong with having appetizers for dinner! My favorite part of the meal! These look amazing, and totally worthy of the main course.


19 Donna March 3, 2009 at 6:44 am

These look unbelievably delicious!! You pictured them sooo perfectly. I have got to try these. Appetizers for dinner is FUN!


20 Patricia Scarpin March 3, 2009 at 7:15 am

I always try to avoid going to the grocery store while hungry, since I tend to go to the chocolate aisle… 😀

These look so good, Erin, and I love anything spinach!


21 Pigpigscorner March 3, 2009 at 7:25 am

Love appetisers for dinner! They look so mouth-watering!


22 EatingRD March 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm

Oh my goodness! I love those! I can’t wait to try to make these and they look wonderful. Greek food is the best.



23 Lynda March 3, 2009 at 10:24 pm

I want them now! They look so good; I’ll have to try these for sure!


24 Marysol March 4, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Yum! I often make Spanakopita, even if it took me years to pronounce it correctly. No matter. It’s delicious, no matter how you say it.
And your pocket version is genius!


25 nithya at hungrydesi March 4, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Wow, I’ve always wanted to try Spanakpita – thanks!


26 Anali March 4, 2009 at 6:03 pm

These look really good! And I want to thank you for making those outrageously delicious cookies for the WBUR Meet-up. I couldn’t stop thinking about them and I baked them last night. : )


27 Kevin March 4, 2009 at 10:27 pm

Spanakopita is one of my favorites and these pockets look great!


28 carrie March 5, 2009 at 3:18 pm

yummy! and no meat!!! wait.. did I say YUMMY yet??? looks great! that Ina! she’s gonna make me like her yet, huh? 😉


29 DeelishDish March 6, 2009 at 11:58 pm

My bf is anti-spinach but who doesn’t love spanakopita? It’s like a pretend healthy pastry for a meal. I would love to try this.


30 EB March 8, 2009 at 3:44 pm

NO JOKE I was thinking about that movie yesterday and the marshmallow kabobs she made for dinner!!!


31 pjamma March 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm

FINALLY back on line; moving sucks!

These look GREAT. Can’t wait to try them, too bad it wasn’t before the move. I threw out 2 packages of phyllo.


32 Miesha April 25, 2009 at 3:08 pm

Uhm… if anyone didn’t know, these aren’t appetizers. xD
In Greece, they’re considered a snack, a meal, or a side. Other than that though, they’re delicious. <3


33 Cigars May 5, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I love these! We eat them for Sunday dinner.. and they are amazing. I can’t wait to try this recipe.


34 Matt November 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

yum yum, I love cocktail party food too. Would happily eat just that for dinner.

Nice recipe, thanks for sharing it!


35 chip December 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm

So you cut phylo in to two pieces fold like a flag and get six of them? Is this Greek math? Would explain the state of their economy.


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