Recipe: Spinach and Feta Hand Pies

Recipe: Spinach and Feta Hand Pies

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Kelli Foster
Oct 19, 2015
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

You can ditch the plate and fork for this version of spanakopita. The spinach and feta filling you know and love from this Greek dish is tucked inside whole-wheat pizza dough, then wrapped and baked into portable hand pies.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

This recipe is a riff on the traditional Greek pie, spanakopita, that sandwiches a spinach and feta filling between layers of buttery and flaky phyllo dough. Here I traded the phyllo for whole-wheat pizza dough. It's the perfect outer layer to bundle up the savory filling, transforming this recipe into convenient and portable hand pies. They're perfect eaten as is, hot and straight from the oven, or cooled and frozen for later.

If you're feeling up to it, go ahead and make your own dough. Otherwise, follow my lead by using store-bought dough to save some time.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

The heart and soul of spanakopita is unquestionably the savory filling. And what you'll find at the center of these hand pies is everything you'd expect. Bright green spinach, salty feta cheese, fresh herbs — like parsley and mint — for a little pop, and some egg to bring everything together.

Because it's convenient (and I always have it in the freezer), I opted for a couple packages of frozen spinach over fresh. The key to making this work is completely thawing and squeezing out all the excess water before making the filling.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Spinach and Feta Hand Pies

Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds whole-wheat pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing the tops
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
All-purpose flour, for working the dough

Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Squeeze the spinach to remove as much excess water as possible. In a large bowl combine the spinach, onion mixture, parsley, mint, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and stir to combine. Mix in the eggs, then gently stir in the feta and Parmesan cheeses. Place the bowl in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble the hand pies.

Divide the pizza dough into 6 equal pieces for larger hand pies, or 8 equal pieces for smaller ones. Dust a clean work surface with flour, and one at a time, press or roll the dough out into a flat disk about 8 to 9 inches across for large hand pies, or 6 to 7 inches across for smaller hand pies.

Divide the filling evenly across the bottom third of each dough round (about 1/3 cup of filling per round), leaving a border around the edge. Fold the top of the dough over the filling, and use a fork to press down and seal the edges well. Repeat with the remainder of the hand pies.

Transfer the hands pies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet and bake for another 15 minutes until the hand pies are lightly browned on top and around the edges.

Cool for a few minutes and serve, or cool completely and freeze the hand pies for later.

Recipe Notes

  • Freezing the hand pies: Once they have cooled completely, wrap each individual hand pie tightly in plastic wrap. Transfer to a plastic freezer bag and freeze.
  • Reheating the hand pies: Thaw hand pies for a few hours in the fridge, or extend the cooking time to reheat them straight from the freezer. If you put one in your lunch bag in the morning, it will be thawed enough by lunchtime. Unwrap from the plastic before reheating. Reheat in the microwave in 1-minute bursts on HIGH until heated through (2 to 3 minutes total), or in the oven or a toaster oven at 300°F until heated through.
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