I hope the old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder is really true. I’ve been away much much too long and I am sorry. You can blame it on needing to finish my last semester of graduate school. It was nonstop writing, producing, classes, and applications. I did make a few attempts along the way. I have managed to add daily tidbits to Facebook and Twitter. I recorded lots of episodes even if they went unedited. I also began many many posts that never managed to make it to the site because I was so exhausted. I hope to be able to get back into the full swing of things in the fall once I am settled in my new home. But, alas you didn’t come here for all that. Nope you want a new mouth watering recipe to sink your taste buds into and I have just the thing: Spicy Spanakopita.
During the summer I have three cooking must haves. First, I need lots of fruits and vegetables since it tis the season. Second, I like finger foods that are easy to make, carry, and great for parties. Third, it’s too hot to spend lots of time in the kitchen each day soo I need recipes that are versatile, freeze well, and can be cooked in multiple ways. This Spicy Skinny Spanakopita recipe fits all three. Plus, it’s also simple, nutritious and delicious.
This savory spinach pie is a classic Greek snack or main dish packed with nutrient rich spinach, onions, and fresh herbs. The original recipe is also packed with a LOT of fat. It traditionally calls for phyllo dough, which requires the addition of butter to roll it out and also lots and lots of cheese.
In my recipe I cut down on all that fat and supersize the nutrition. First, I avoid all the work of rolling out the dough and shrink the fat content by using wonton/gyoza wrappers instead. They are easy to find at the local supermarket and allow me to make different shapes with no butter necessary. I also add less cheese to mine. I skip the ricotta cheese altogether and only add a high quality feta. Then I add loads of Spinach, Kale, and occasionally Swiss chard or even mustard greens. To boost the flavor without the fat I also add tons of aromatic herbs and fresh garlic.
My favorite thing about this recipe is that by using wonton wrappers the possibilities are endless. I’ve made dumplings, ravioli, traditional triangles, mini pies and even long eggroll style Spanakopita. I can boil them and add sauce on top. I can fry them or add a little egg white wash to throw them in the oven. I can use mini cupcake pans to make individual pies. I’ve even thrown them on the grill.
No matter the shape or season these little spinach pies are easy to make and super delicious. They are great for curling up on the couch with a new book or enjoying the next picnic with friends.
SPICY SKINNY SPANAKOPITA
As always the recipe is catered toward my spice level and love of garlic. Feel free to cut down on both the jalapeno (sub red chili flakes) and the fresh garlic (use more of the granulated).
1 lb Fresh Spinach
1 lb Fresh Kale
½ lb Mustard Green or Swiss Chard
1 1/2 Large White Onion
1 bunch Green Onions
¼ Cup Fresh mined Garlic
½ Cup Chopped fresh parsley
¼ Cup Chopped fresh dill
2-4 Jalapeno (optional)
1 Tbsp Crushed red chili flakes
1 tsp Dried mint
Pinch Nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp Lemon juice (optional)
1 Egg white
1 cup high quality Feta Cheese
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Granulated garlic, onion powder, and Cayenne pepper
1. Add white onion, garlic, parsley, dill, jalapeno into the food processor. Puree until smooth
2. Add all of kale and half the spinach into food processor. I like a coarsely cut texture so I pulse until it’s crumbly but, not paste like.
3. Add oil and 2 tablespoons of water into a pan. Cook garlic, onion, parsley puree for 3 mins then add the kale/spinach puree. I left half my spinach whole to add in here to wilt in the pan. It gives the recipe more texture. Cook for 5-7 minutes. Put into a large bowl and set aside.
4. I use a large cutting board or parchment paper to lay out my wonton wrappers while the filling is cooling down.
5. Once the filling is cool use a strainer/cheese clothe to squeeze out excess liquid.
6. Once the filling has a loose but, crumbly texture add the cheese, and dry seasonings. Mix well.
7. Add 1 tablespoon of filling to the wrappers and use a dab of water around the edges to seal them closed.
8. You can boil or bake for the healthiest option. Or shallow pan fry as well. It’s up to you.
Garlic has many great properties, but is known for its Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial and Antiviral Activity, Cardiovascular health, and potential reduction in certain forms of cancer. Vitamin C is mostly known for how it helps boost our immune system during cold and flu season, fight against scurvy, and gum health. The protective role of vitamin C goes far beyond our skin and gums. Cardiovascular diseases, cancers, joint diseases and cataracts are all associated with vitamin C deficiency and can be partly prevented by optimal intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C achieves much of its protective effect by functioning as an antioxidant and preventing oxygen-based damage to our cells. Structures that contain fat (like the lipoprotein molecules that carry fat around our body) are particularly dependent on vitamin C for protection. Much of the body’s chemistry depends upon enzymes. Enzymes are proteins that help chemical reactions take place. Because vitamin B6 is involved with more than 100 enzymatic reactions, its function in the body is diverse and far-reaching. It is difficult to find a chemical category of molecules in the body that do not depend in some way on vitamin B6 for their production. Many of the building blocks of protein, called amino acids, require adequate supplies of B6 for synthesis. Nucleic acids used in the creation of DNA in our genes also require this vitamin. The processing of carbohydrate (sugar and starch) in our body depends on availability of vitamin B6. This vitamin is particularly important in facilitating the breakdown of glycogen (a special form of starch) stored in our muscle cells and to a lesser extent in our liver. Because carbohydrate processing plays such a key role in certain types of athletic events, researchers have looked closely at the role vitamin B6 plays in carbohydrate processing during physical performance.
Spinach: Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Manganese, Folate, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B2, B3, B6, B1, Calcium, Potassium, Tryptophan, Vitamin E, dietary fiber, Copper, Protein, Phosphorus, zinc, Omega 3 fatty acids, Selenium.Calorie for calorie, leafy green vegetables like spinach with its delicate texture and jade green color provide more nutrients than any other food. Although spinach is available throughout the year, its season runs from March through May and from September through October when it is the freshest, has the best flavor and is most readily available. We all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, but you may be surprised to learn that he may also have been protecting himself against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and other diseases at the same time.
Parsley: Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate, Iron.Parsley’s volatile oils-particularly myristicin-have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Myristicin has also been shown to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach the molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in the body. The activity of parsley’s volatile oils qualifies it as a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke).
Onions: Chromium, Vitamin C, Dietary Fiber, Manganese, Molybdenum, Vitamin B6, folate, Potassium, Phosphorus, quercitin and Copper. This multifaceted food is found in so many recipes for it’s distinct flavor but is often overlooked for its many healthy properties. Onions are very rich in chromium, a trace mineral that helps cells respond to insulin and lowering blood sugar. Chromium levels are depleted by the consumption refined sugars and white flour products as well as the lack of exercise. One cup of raw onion contains over 20% of the Daily Value for this important trace mineral. B6, Chromium and sulfur in onions also helps to lower high blood pressure and high Cholesterol. Onions like garlic has been shown to support gastrointestinal health, and contain anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. The flavonoids in parsley-especially luteolin-have been shown to function as antioxidants that combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (called oxygen radicals) and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. In addition, extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood.