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There's this new brand of vegan cheese in Australia that is flooding mainstream grocery stores called Oliana. It's particularly exciting because they've been releasing cheeses that aren't the standard mozzarella and cheddar options - there's been smoky slices, parmesan and now feta - all vegan and widely available! I just had to make a spanakopita recipe knowing that there was now nothing standing between me and constant feta and parmesan consumption - so voila!

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SPANAKOPITA

Traditional greek spinach and cheese pastry, with green beans added for extra greenery!

INGREDIENTS

FILLING

  • 1 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots
  • 200g green beans (optional - replace with more spinach or kale if leaving out)
  • 500g fresh spinach
  • 1 bunch fresh dill
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 4 level tablespoons VeganEgg (this could be substituted with besan/chickpea flour)
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 150g Oliana vegan feta cheese (reserve brine)
  • Sprinkling of Oliana vegan parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive Oil

PASTRY

  • 10 sheets frozen phyllo dough (defrosted as per package instructions)
  • 4+ tablespoons of vegan butter

 

METHOD

  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Coat large baking pan in butter and set aside.
  • Finely chop onion, garlic, shallots and green beans. In a large pot, fry the onion for 2 minutes in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add green beans and fry for about 3 more minutes. Give the contents a good stir, before adding the garlic, and then on top all of the spinach and another tablespoon of olive oil. Stir occasionally until all spinach has wilted and squeeze over the lemon juice before removing from heat.
  • In a bowl, whisk the VeganEgg powder with the cold water. Pour this onto the spinach mixture and add a good dash of the brine that the Oliana feta comes in.
  • Chop the Oliana feta into small cubes and chop the dill, reserving a pinch of chopped dill to use as a garnish. Add both ingredients to the spinach mixture and mix well.
  • To prepare the pastry, melt the remaining butter. Lay your first phyllo sheet in the pan and splatter with butter, before repeating so that you have 6 sheets as the base for the spanakopita. Over this base, pour the spinach mixture and evenly spread. Sprinkle Oliana parmesan cheese over this filling before moving on to the last step.
  • In a similar fashion to the phyllo buttering and layering process for the base, add four more sheets of phyllo to the top of the filling, sprinkling and spreading the butter between each sheet. Place in oven for 40 minutes, sprinkling extra parmesan on the top for the last 5 minutes of baking. To serve, allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before sprinkling the remaining chopped dill on top and slicing.

TIPS

  • Instead of fully brushing the pastry, splatter each phyllo sheet with butter and then spread that to avoid over-saturating your sheets.
  • Make sure the butter is melted, but not too hot when splattering between each phyllo sheet.
  • When using Oliana feta, it can be tricky to cut, but the cheese bakes/melts during the cooking process - so don't stress about consistency, it's just about making the cheese cubes small enough to properly mix with the other ingredients before putting them into the pastry.