Recipe: Puffed Spirals with Leftover Greens

updated Jun 6, 2019
Puffed Spirals with Leftover Greens
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(Image credit: Oriana Koren)

I recently had a rousing discussion with friends about the bags of greens that are inevitably left to wilt a slow, sad death somewhere in the back of the fridge. You know, the ones we meant to use, but never quite got around to. They’re a little bit too tired for a salad, and you can only add so many wilted greens to omelets before you run out of eggs. Besides, it’s getting late and you need a fun snack to go with your end-of-the-day cocktail.

(Image credit: Oriana Koren)

You can make your own dough, of course, but since this is an “let’s-have-a-cocktail” type of dish for me, I’m leaning heavily towards easy and instant. I used to buy a can of Pillsbury crescent rolls and press out the perforations long before it came in a seamless sheet. Don’t you hate it when you do something dumb for years? It’s nice when you finally get it, though.

When I want a bit of an upgrade I buy a box of puff pastry, but either puff pastry, Pillsbury crescent roll dough, or Pillsbury crescent roll sheets will work just fine. Puff pastry is my favorite, but any kind of pastry wrapped around food, with melted cheese, is going to be pretty good.

Learn How to Make Your Own Puff Pastry: How to Make Puff Pastry from Scratch

The filling for these spirals is a touch-and-go affair. The only rule is to use all the greens in the fridge before they’re complete unsalvageable — partially wilted leaves and tough stems included. The tougher the stem or leaf, the longer I cook it, adding the stems first and the most easily wilted leaves to the pan at the end.

While they cook, I make a cocktail.

Puffed Spirals with Leftover Greens

Makes about 20 spirals

Nutritional Info


  • Olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    chopped onion or shallot

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    (or more) red pepper flakes

  • About 1 1/2 cups cooked greens (kale, spinach, arugula, collards, chard, etc.)

  • Splash of vinegar or lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup

    crumbled feta cheese

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1 sheet

    prepared puff pastry, or 8-ounce can seamless crescent dough sheets


  1. In a large skillet, sauté chopped onion in olive oil until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add pepper flakes and greens. Cook and stir until the greens are wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  2. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add vinegar or lemon juice. Let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Stir in crumbled feta.

  3. Unroll the dough onto a flat surface and spread filling to within half an inch of each edge.

  4. Roll the dough into a spiral, tucking the filling under as you go. Press seam to seal. Chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

  5. Slice roll into about 20 pieces, and lay them flat on a baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes (puff pastry) or 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes (crescent dough).

Recipe Notes

  • The quantity of fresh greens needed to make 1 1/2 cups wilted depends on the greens. You’ll need less for coarser greens like kale, and more for spinach or arugula.
  • Got extra vegetables? I've added all kinds of things to the mix: chopped green beans or asparagus, corn, sautéed mushrooms — whatever I find in the fridge. Just make sure to chop it into small enough pieces so it's easy to incorporate into the mix.
  • Most puff pastry recipes recommend rolling the dough out onto a floured surface. When I'm making this kind of quick dish, I don't want to deal with the mess. I roll the dough onto parchment paper, often putting it directly on the sheet pan to save even more time.
  • You can brush the pastries with an egg wash (one egg, beaten with one tablespoon water) for a crispier, shinier finish.