PRAISE, ZEUS – I MADE PALEO GREEK SPINACH PIE. I am freaking out a little over here. I have tried numerous times to get this just the way I wanted it, and boy was it worth the extra effort (and possible knife cuts as you’ll see in the video with my beautiful bandaid, whoops, #WillBleedForSpinachPie). If you’ve never tried traditional spinach pie, it’s filled with fresh spinach, fresh herbs, and feta… wrapped in crispy and flaky phyllo dough, it’s basically a magic packet of tastiness straight out of Mt. Olympus. LOL.
These pies used to be one of my favorites after my husband introduced me to their existence… I was hooked. Then I had to go all gluten-free and everything… and replicating phyllo dough is not really a thing ever I’ve found, least of all GRAIN-FREE on top of it. So I decided to get crafty with one of my favorite things ever… COCONUT WRAPS. And they more than just did the job. When baked, they get lightly crispy and hold in all the spinach and herbs perfectly! They don’t taste much like coconut, there’s just a subtle sweetness to them which is really nice. They last in the fridge easily and you can just reheat in the oven for 5 mins or so for a side or snack.
I of course had to make this since it was a previous fave, and since I one day decided I would have to make a Paleo version. I had a few theories on how to do it, but my oh my did practice make perfect.
How a craving turned into a recipe testing Quest…
Let’s start chatting about this FILLING though! The dough/wrap wasn’t the only challenge in my very dramatic re-enactment of SPANAKOPITA here… the filling took a lot of trial and error. Traditionally, both egg and feta are used for BULK and binding… because guys, SPINACH SHRINK IS SO REAL!! It doesn’t matter how fluffy the filling is raw, because it will all shrink and get watery thanks to our favorite green, spinach. So I couldn’t just skip the feta and egg without replacing it with something. I actually tried egg alone… and it didn’t help AT ALL. It actually dripped out of the wrapper and made little omelets on my baking sheet – LOL – it was hilarious.
So here’s the final recipe I came to… I needed something bulky, fluffy, that wouldn’t get watery or leak…but almost tasteless so it didn’t take away from the delicious herbs. Oh, the CONUNDRUM!! I tried various flours, which did nothing… and then, it hit me while grocery shopping and seeing a beautiful head of cauliflower… CAULI RICE!! It fits all the criteria, and it WORKS LIKE A FREAKIN’ CHARM. Plus, it’s white, and if you squint hard enough… just might make you think it’s FETA. Or maybe that’s just the game that I play, hahaha.
Then, I just had one little element missing, some kind of creaminess that I’d be missing from the feta, I couldn’t risk too much moisture so using just a bit of firm coconut cream fit really well and also bound this so it was much easier to wrap. I knew from the beginning coconut cream could come in handy, because it’s my go-to for a lot of creamy/cheesy type of textures.
PHEW!! This finally came together and I was over the moon with it. The final technique I had to play with, was how to get even just a little bit of crunch like phyllo. I wasn’t asking for much here, I wasn’t expecting an exact replacement. So I tried a few cooking times, temperatures, and tried brushing the inside and outside with oil to see what it did. I landed with just brushing the exterior with oil and baking for 10-12 minutes on 350f degrees… but here’s the kicker, ON A RACK. This way, the air in the oven circulates and gets all over for a more crisp outcome. For me, the edges were crispy and the wrap stayed perfectly closed the whole time through cooking.
And there it is… my EPIC about how I came to this recipe and why I’m so excited to share this labor of love with you. It’s really allergen-friendly, so I hope everyone can enjoy it 🙂
Paleo Spanakopita Triangles Recipe
Paleo Greek Spinach Pie (Spanakopita)
- 1/4 cauliflower head riced
- 2.5 oz. fresh baby spinach roughly chopped (1/2 a plastic box usually)
- 2 scallions chopped finely (use green and white)
- 1 bunch fresh parsley chopped
- 1 bunch fresh dill chopped
- Sea salt dried oregano, pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp coconut cream (top of full-fat coconut milk can, refrigerated) I use Thai brand, anything as long as it gets firmer in the fridge will be fine
- 12 coconut wraps will need 2 packages of 7
- extra virgin olive oil for brushing
- water for sticking
- Preheat oven to 350f degrees and prep a baking sheet with a rack on top.
- Rice the cauliflower in a food processor, it's best to use FRESH cauliflower instead of frozen or frozen rice to minimize the amount of water. You'll use the raw, fresh cauliflower rice in the filling. Set aside.
- Combine chopped fresh spinach (again, not frozen - too much liquid), with all the herbs and seasonings in a large mixing bowl.
- Add cauliflower rice to the greens and toss together with a large spoon.
- Lastly, add in the coconut cream and mix the entire thing together with your hands (the coconut cream will stick to a spoon, so get those hands dirty!)
- Place the mixture in the fridge, covered (or it'll stink everything up!) until you need it again.
- Prep the Coconut Wraps by removing from their package. They should be flexible *if they're dry (perhaps old or not sealed well), they'll crack if you fold them - you can dip them in water a few times and dry them off to help with this.*
- Stack all your coconut wraps on top of one another, evenly. With a sharp knife, slice them in half as evenly as you can.
- (Watch video to see how I stick them together and wrap them) Wet your hands with water and just stick the two strips together to form one long strip. I made the length of the strip approx. 12 inches so there will be a couple of inches overlap when you stick them together and this way it will wrap the same amount of times for all of them.
- Do this to all of your wraps and allow them some time to stick together. Next, remove your filling from the fridge and place 2 Tbsp. of filling at the top left corner of a strip.
- Proceed to wrap in a triangle moving down the strip (watch video for demo) and stick the filling back in as it inevitably will trickle out a bit. Have patience, and practice - it will go faster the more you do it!
- Stick the final fold with a little water and hold down with a little bit of pressure (not too much or you'll squeeze the filling too much).
- Lastly, brush olive oil on the front and back of your spinach pies with a single coat to get browned and a little crunchy.
- Place pies directly onto the baking rack, seam side down, and bake for 10 minutes in the middle rack of your oven. Check them at the 10-minute mark and if you'd like them a little browner, you can broil for just 30 seconds or so (watch them - or they'll burn too fast).
- Serve right away! Optionally dip them in more coconut cream, use as an appetizer, side or snack! They store well in the fridge for a few days and are easy to re-heat the same way you cooked them - on 350f, for just a few minutes until warm again.
Need some Greek pairing inspo? I got you!
Oh, and of course… for more awesome grain-free alternatives, check this article out.
Use #foodbymars to tag your FBM inspired creations! I’d love to see!