Spanakopita for Gluten Free Vegan Me (and you!)


The Greek flavors in traditional Spanakopita are a knock-your-socks-off combination.  Going Gluten Free means no crispy filo… such a bummer, really (let’s keep this real!).  So instead of trying to make a miracle and recreate that flaky, crispy, buttery shell we are going to make the filling our superstar.  It really stands on it’s own.  Now, if you’re okay with sheep’s milk Feta or if you have access to a vegan artisanal Feta then go ahead and crumble some into your cooked spinach.  But if you’re dairy free, like me, embrace the amazingly briny bite of some green olives instead.  Capers are another great choice if you don’t have access to olives.  Because feta is such a briny, salty cheese choosing something with similar attributes makes this free version satisfying while honoring the flavors of the original.

041The spinach bowl comes together quickly and makes a lot which is perfect for leftovers.  Try the puffs and pancakes or top a polenta pizza crust with caramelized onions and leftover spinach.  Want another one?  Mix equal amounts of leftover spinach with cooked quinoa and about ½ as much finely chopped walnuts and parsley; Roll this mixture into balls and bake for some tasty spinach balls.  If the mixture is too dry, add a few tablespoons of prepared hummus to bind it.  TOTALLY yum!  You can’t go wrong with a batch of Greek inspired spinach!  Because we love this I use the BIG bag of organic spinach from our warehouse club store.  Scale it back if you’re using less… the quantities I use make the math easy (and it’s a fun exercise for my kids to do so maybe yours will like it too!)

~ Go get in the kitchen and love it up!

Vegan Spanakopita Bowl

3.5 lbs frozen leaf spinach (in a bag, not box if you have a choice)
3 large white onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz green olives, roughly chopped into a small dice
3/4 cup raw cashews, chopped
3/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
3/4 cup fresh dill, minced
zest of 1 organic lemon
juice of 1 organic lemon
1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

In a very large skillet heat a tsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until translucent.  Add garlic and cashews and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep this from burning.

Add spinach, herbs and nutmeg and cook for about 5 minutes until the leaves are soft and any water has cooked off.

Turn off the heat and stir in the olives and lemon.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.

Serving options – serve with cooked rice or pasta of your choice.  I like to serve it with a salad of tomato and fennel.

Spanakopita Puffs and Pancakes 004

3.5 cups all-purpose GF flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 tsp granulated garlic (omit if you cook the spinach with 2 cloves of minced garlic)

1/2 cup plain coconut milk
2 tbsp flax meal or chia meal + 1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 cup cooked spinach (leftovers work great!)
1 cup olives, chopped
1/2 cup sun dried or dehydrated tomatoes

To make puffs, set the oven to 400 degrees F and spray or rub a muffin tin with oil (recipe will make 18 muffin size bites).  To make pancakes just pull out a cast iron skillet or griddle pan and lightly coat with oil.

Mix the dry ingredients in a 2 quart bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut milk, water, oil, lemon juice and flax meal.  Set this aside and allow the flax or chia to swell.

Add cooked spinach, olives and tomato to the dry ingredients and stir well to break up the veg and coat them with the flour mix.

Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine.

For puffs, scoop the batter into each muffin cup.  Fill each section, but don’t overfill.  Pop the trays into the oven and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

For pancakes, heat the cast iron skillet/griddle and pour 1/3 cup of batter at a time, just as you would pancakes.  Tops will get a little dry and edges will set.  Flip and cook for another few minutes before plating.  Serve with Creamy Onion Dressing for drizzling or dipping.

 

Creamy Onion Dressing
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup hot water
2 Tbsp onion powder
½ tsp salt
minced chive or green onion for garnish (optional)

Put everything into Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy.  If you are using a different blender, soak the cashews for 20-30 minutes prior to blending.  This extra step will soften the cashews and ensure a smooth dressing.

(Want to know a secret? This dressing is fabulous drizzled on baked potato or mixed into mashed potato.  You’re welcome!)

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