Spanakopita and the Goodness of the Human Race

Yesterday was a looonnngggg day. I worked for 12 hours, and it was fair to say I was slightly brain dead. So I wandered down to the lift and into the maze that is the Queens Road Towers car park. Now my sense of direction is bad at the best of times. I’m actually waiting for a study to come out that identifies the gene for navigation (has it been done already?), because I am certain that I was born without it. Anyway, I went down to the very bottom to go to my car. Keep in mind, that I parked my car in the same spot that I did last week, when I originally got lost (yes, this exact scenario happened a week ago), so i thought second time round I would be fine.

No, Ali, not the case.

So it’s after hours, everyone has left, no car park attendant, and I’m wandering about aimlessly wondering what I’m going to do, when my knight in shining armour appears! I ended up asking if he knew where 4B was, and he didn’t, but he walked around the whole car park with me till I found my car. How nice is that?! I was so grateful!

And then, once I got home, there was a surprise on the bench, and our lovely next door neighbour had brought us some silver beet from his garden. Double win!





So yesterday, even though it was an average day, I was pleasantly reminded of  how awesome people can be. And it made everything ok! Alas, the inspiration for today’s recipe. Spanakopita (traditionally a spinach and feta pie), turned vegan. I actually hadn’t planned on making it vegan, but there is a recent convert in our household so i thought i’d make it vegan friendly so she can partake in it’s goodness too!

Spanakopita is really simple to make and is great for a light lunch with a salad on the side. It’s made with filo pastry which is slightly healthier than regular puff or shortcrust pastry because it’s really light and thin. It’s usually made with spinach but I used silverbeet which works well too.

Silverbeet (also known as Swiss Chard) is super high in Vitamin K. No one ever talks about Vitamin K, do they? It’s major role in the body is to help with blood clotting, but it’s also important for our bone health and is an excellent source of fibre and iron too 🙂 And I found out recently that all newborns get a Vitamin K shot when they are first born because they don’t have enough in their little bodies! Vitamin K doesn’t cross the placenta to get from mum to baby, and there isn’t enough bacteria in babies’ digestive tracts for Vitamin K to be produced, so we need a bit of a helping hand first off! 

Recipe from The Veggie Table.




Vegan Spanakopita.

8 sheets of filo pastry

1 TBS olive oil

8 stalks spring onions, sliced finely

3 cloves garlic, chopped finely

a big big bunch of silverbeet (it will shrink i promise), shredded

a bunch of mint, chopped

a bunch of dill, chopped

1/2 block firm tofu (about 150-200g), crumbled

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

3/4 cup hazelnut meal (any nut flour will work)

2 tsp dried oregano

dash of nutmeg

1/4 cup lemon juice and the rind of the lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

S & P

Preheat oven to 180C

Heat up the TBS of oil in a pan

Add silverbeet and cook for a few minutes until it starts to wilt

Add spring onions and garlic and cook for another 2 minutes

Take off the heat and put it in a fine colander to drain any excess water

Grab a big bowl, stir through the veg mix with the fresh herbs, nutritional yeast, hazelnut meal, crumbled tofu, oregano, lemon juice and rind, and olive oil

Give it a good stir and add S & P to taste (you won’t need too much salt because of the nutritional yeast)

Use a square or round baking dish and spray it with cooking spray or brush it with melted oil/butter/nuttelex

Lay down sheets of filo giving them a spray between each one until you have 5 sheets

Put in your filling

Top with another 3 sheets of filo with a spray/brush between each

Score the top with a knife, just slice it about 3/4 of the way through without touching the bottom

Bake it in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown on top

Annddd I just tried it and it’s amazing! Didn’t miss the cheese at all. Kind of a pain for non vegetarians because I doubt you would have nutritional yeast on hand, so feel free to go ahead and use cheese if that’s easier!