Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spanakopita Triangles

God, I love entertaining!  My second holiday party of the season had a Greek theme.  I like giving parties a theme to help me narrow down what to serve.  I think successful cocktail party nibbles have the right mix of hot and cold foods, something cheesy, something proteiny, and lots of veggies.  And, don't forget the booze!

For my Greek holiday cocktail party, I served a layered dip with hummus, artichokes, cucumber, red pepper, kalamata olives, and feta cheese with toasted pita triangles for dipping.  I thought of this as the Greek version of a taco dip, and taco dip is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.  This was, too!

I also made a tzatziki dip.  If that's Greek to you (ha ha, pun intended, I kill me!), tzatziki is a Greek yogurt and cucumber dip flavored with lemon, garlic, and dill.  For extra visual excitement, try serving your vegetable dip in a hollowed out head of cabbage.  It's so beautiful!  

As a sidenote, leftover red cabbage is an absolutely awesome side dish if you cut it into wedges, douse it with oil, salt, and pepper and roast in a hot oven until the edges are charred.  Then squeeze some lemon juice and grate fresh parmesan on top before gobbling it up.

My favorite appetizer at this party was the Spanakopita Triangles.  This is basically just spinach and feta cheese wrapped in butter-drenched phyllo dough.  

If you've never used phyllo dough, let me be straight with you and admit it's not fun.  I'd be lying if I said there weren't some profanities flying 'round my kitchen while figuring out this stuff.  However, once I figured it out (secret trick:  follow instructions to make sure phyllo is thawed as directed, then keep it covered with a damp towel), it was a cinch.

The best part about these triangles is that you can prepare them in advance, then freeze.  All I had to do before my guests arrived was preheat the oven.  They turned out beautifully golden brown, flaky, buttery, lemony, cheesy, salty, and GREEN (in my world that means they're good for you!).

Spanakopita Triangles, adapted from Fine Cooking
Makes about 15 triangles

1 package frozen phyllo (or filo) sheets, thawed according to package instructions
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, oil drained and chopped
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
2 eggs
2 cloves garlic, minces or grated on microplane
juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
pinch of salt, and few grinds black pepper
about 1 stick melted butter - you may need more

In a large bowl, mix together all your ingredients, except the phyllo and melted butter.

Open the phyllo package and keep sheets covered with a damp towel.  Peel off a sheet of phyllo and lay on a clean dry surface.  Brush liberally with melted butter and top with another sheet of phyllo.  Brush again with melted butter.  If phyllo rips, just put another sheet or piece on top of the ripped part - you're going to be wrapping this up so chances are it won't matter.

Cut the sheet of phyllo down the center the long way, so you end up with two long strips.  Place a heaping tablespoon of spinach filling in the bottom right corner of each strip.  Fold it up like a flag in triangles.  

Place on a parchment or tinfoil-lined baking sheet and cover with another damp towel.  Continue until you've used up all your filling.  Freeze sheet pan for an hour or two, then transfer triangles to longer-term freezer storage (ziploc bags or tupperware).

When ready to serve, brush tops of triangles with melted butter and bake at 375 degrees until golden brown and hot (took me about 12 minutes from frozen, 8 minutes from fresh).


  1. Love the post and of course the food sounds amazing!

  2. Love the hummus "bean dip" idea! Love it so much that it's what we're taking to the NYE party we're attending. Thinking I'll probably add some banana pepper rings or pepperoncini for a little kick.