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.
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 🙂
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!
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