Monday, May 6, 2013

Spanakopita Rolls Step-by-Step Tutorial

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Buttery and delicious

Don't you just want to reach right in?  I know right?  With this very simple recipe you will be making your own little delicacies in no time, trust me!!  I will walk you through the very simple process of making these amazing beauties, they are so very easy to make.  I mean easy enough that my daughter took pictures for the tutorial and then proceeded to finish them off.  My goal is to dispell all pre-conceived notions of how very difficult phyllo dough is to work with.  Trust me, it is really very easy, I don't do hard!!
*Didi looking around the room*

These rolls are a "spin off" of the traditional "Spanakopita" one of the most famous Greek dishes ever.  Everytime I take my spanakopita to a party, or spanakopitakia (small triangles), they are one of the first dishes to disappear.  I don't know if it's the combination of the spinach and cheese along with herbs, or the buttery phyllo dough, or the combination of both, but I gotta be honest with you, it disappears faster than "popcorn" in a movie theatre!!

You will be the star of the show, make sure to sneak one for yourself okay?

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

Prep time: 35-40 minutes
Cook time: 35-38 minutes
Yield: 20 large rolls (45 small rolls - see explanation below)

1lb (16 ounces) phyllo dough thawed
1lb (16 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
6-7 green onions chopped
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) feta cheese crumbled
1 cup (8 ounces) cottage cheese
4 eggs slightly beaten
1 bunch fresh parsley, rinsed, dried and  chopped
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup (2 sticks - 8 ounces) unsalted butter melted

-This is where people become scared from my understanding... "Never fear, Didi's here"!!
Okay, so the day before you are going to work with the phyllo dough, take it out of the freezer and place in the refrigerator.  1 hour before starting the project, I take the phyllo dough, still in the box, out of the fridge and place on counter.  It will not go bad or anything, there is no dairy, just flour and water.  

This will ensure that the phyllo dough is completely thawed, and therefore you will not get a small patch that is still slightly frozen and will stick to the other sheets.  That's where you can run into trouble.  Trust me, you will get so frustrated you will tear the dough into millions of pieces, you will crumble the dough into a ball and throw it with fury into the garbage, vowing never to bake ever again!!  *ummmmm, gulp, what *

So let's open the box, and slide the tube of phyllo out.  Using shears, cut the outside paper that the dough is sealed in at the seam.  Now, take a look at how the dough is rolled, you then gently unroll it flat.  That's it, no seriously... I'm not joking!!  I told you it wasn't hard.  There will be an inside sheer paper that they used to keep the dough separated, follow that and unroll as you lay the dough flat.  Meaning once you are done unrolling, you will have the paper under your dough. 

-Wet and squeeze dry a couple of paper towels.  You want them damp.

-Position the phyllo dough with the widest part facing you. Guess the center per say (or measure if you want precision, I personally cannot be bothered), and cut in half.  

See the wide paper under the dough, that's the paper the dough was sealed in

-Take the one half and lay directly on top of the other half.  Leave them stacked on top of each other.
Cover the bottom paper that the phyllo dough was laying on and place the wet paper towels on top of the plastic film it was sealed in, set aside.  That's the hard part that everyone is afraid of.  

Notions Dispelled:

  • That the dough will be very soggy and  you won't be able to work with it.  
-If you don't allow the wet paper towel to touch the dough, it will never become soggy
  • That the dough will dry out and you won't be able to work with it.
If you keep the dough covered with the plastic wrap and then the wet towels over it, it will never dry out.

  With this method of a damp paper towel on top of the plastic covering the phyllo dough, I promise you, you will not have any of those issues happen.  See?  I told you I've adopted you!! *grin*

-In a small saute pan over medium-high heat, add your olive oil and your green onions.  Saute for a minute or so till the onions have become soft and are aromatic.  Add in your fresh parsley, and your dried dill.  Saute for a minute longer and pull off heat.  

-In a medium bowl place your thawed and squeezed dry spinach.  Add in your green onion mixture and stir.  Mix in your cheeses and finally your slightly beaten eggs.  Sprinkle with your salt and pepper.  Set aside. 

-Preheat oven to 375F.  Melt your butter

-On a flat surface, take 2 sheets of phyllo dough, cover the rest back up.  Baste entire area with butter.

-Using about 2 tbsp of spinach mixture, add to the edge closest to you, allowing about 3/4" space so you can start rolling easily, like so.

-Start by covering the mixture (don't worry if it's not fully covered), and then take both the left and right sides and bring over to the middle, like so.

-Continue rolling like an egg roll, or cigar.  Till you reach the end. 
Place on aluminum pre-sprayed baking sheet seam side down, baste with butter and continue with the rest of the dough and filling.

-Bake for 35-38 minutes till nicely golden and the aroma wafting from your kitchen will have you salivating... "Oh wait, that's me"!

*You can make these into smaller rolls for appetizers at a party if you would like.  Just cut the two sheets in half, for a total of 4 strips. Lay once again, all the sheets into one and proceed as above* 

The best part of these rolls is that you can make them just like instructed, and instead of baking, place on a baking sheet and place in freezer till frozen (about 1 hour), take out, place in a freezer bag or container, separated by wax paper if you're making more than one row.  When ready, take out the bag/container as many as you want.  Place in the oven still frozen, just add about 10 more minutes to baking time.  Voila! Fresh spanakopita at your ready!!  Perfect for a fast and delicious dinner!!

I hope I have dispelled common phobias and that my tutorial was helpful.  I encourage you to utilize phyllo dough in your kitchen.  It is so versatile that you will be dreaming up ideas on how many other recipes you can make with it!

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi


  1. Oh my Didi, these look heavenly. And I love the rolling method vs the folding method. Seems much easier. I've worked a lot with filo cause I succeeded the first time and just kept doin it. Suggestion: The next tutorial you do (for me) might be puff pastry (if you even use that), as I have more often than not had failures. Your recipe explanations are the best! Love ya doll

    1. Linda dolly, my other favorite dough. I will do one for you!! ♥

  2. Didi, these look so good. I have never worked with phyllo dough, it looks so thin, but after reading you tutorial I think maybe this fall I will try out few appetizers with it :-)

    1. Jennifer honey, seriously so easy. You can fill them with "anything"... it's the phyllo dough ppl are afraid of using. So I thought I would "help"!! *grin*

  3. Didi! Who better than you to teach us how to make Spanikopita? I MUST make these!!! Pinning!

    1. Sissy I know you can make these in your sleep, but I thought the tutorial will help other's that have the fear of "phyllo dough"!!
      Thank you so much for pinning!! ♥

  4. Once again, you are my hero! Who would have thought to make them in a roll? For personal serving sizes I always did triangles -- too laborious! You have changed the way I view single serving appies of this dish. THANK YOU!!!

    1. I want to do a cheese & mushroom with these, but smaller ones Alex. Yum, I can just taste the asiago & parmesan with bellas!!

      I'll be on the look out for your appies my friend!! ♥

  5. You make it look so easy.. Im gonna give them a shot.. soon. ♥

    1. Kimmie I promise you honey, so very easy. I would NOT LIE to you!! I have total confidence, seriously, especially since you are a fantastic cook.

      Any questions, call me!! ♥

  6. An all time classic Greek dish with your special touch my friend! Excellent tutorial koukla mou!

    1. Filakia "kamari mou"... ahhhhh eimai apelizmenei me aftous to xenos...
      Asta, alli fora tha ta pouma koritsi mou!!

  7. Yummo, See everytime I come over here I get lost for hours. I started on FB then to your page then to here then to Pinterest then back to here and repeat. lol

    1. LOL Cynthia sweetheart, you are a true doll!!

  8. Loved it! Great tips on how to use the fillo!!! Thank you!

  9. Loved it! Great tips on how to use the fillo!!! Thank you!

  10. Didi, I had Spanakopita once at a Greek friend of mine. They are amazing. She made them back then in a platter and cut them into squares. I do prefer the way you presented them as rolls. Such a wonderful post, Didi. Pinning and just shared on Facebook! Cheeers!

  11. Love these! Great post Sis! :D

  12. I'm new to both Spanikopita and phyllo.. Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question lol. You say take out two sheets... I'm assuming you just leave them stacked on top of each other, fill, and then roll, right? I've been wanting to try to make this for ever. Sounds so delicious. Thank you for your awesome recipe.

    1. Hello Anonymous and thank you for stopping by! NO QUESTION is ever stupid. Because I know from personal experience, if I have that question then quite a few others have the same one and are just too shy to ask.

      I will clarify the moment after I answer you, and yes you are absolutely correct, you leave the phyllo dough leaves stacked one on top of the other!!

      Thank you so much again for stopping by, asking an awesome questions and best success on your spanakopita. I know you will ROCK IT! ♥