Recipe: Spring Foraging Spanakopitas

This is one of my favourite ever recipes, first taught to me by a dear friend many years ago. I believe it originates in Greece. There are so many delicious combinations, and here I’ve adapted it to include easily foraged ingredients. Amazing as a meal in itself with dips and salad, or as a side dish or snack. If you manage to not to eat them all, they’re amazing cold the next day too. They’re really fun to make, incredibly tasty and offer a little foray into foraging. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Filo pastry or baklava pastry ~ 500g fresh nettle tips (harvesting notes below) 2 red onions 1 spring onion (optional) 2 handfuls of wild garlic ~ 200g feta or ricotta 2 eggs beaten

OR Vegan: 200g mushrooms or tofu or vegan feta Mixed nuts and seeds 2-3 tbs nutritional yeast ~ Salt Pepper Pinch of nutmeg Fresh dill or any other garden herb


Foraging notes:

Nettle harvesting: take the top 2 or 3 sets of leaves only. These are tenderest and allow the plant to continue growing. Harvest from sites free from pollution/weed killer and away from paths (dog pee!). Gloves are a good idea. Enjoy!

Wild garlic: they have now begun to flower, which signals the end of the season really. But you can still harvest the youngest, freshest leaves if you look carefully. Again dogs like them, so stay away from paths. They love water - streams are a good place to look.


Method:

1. Pour boiling water over the nettles to de-sting them, let cool and then finely chop. Finely chop onions and wild garlic. 2. Sauté the onions (option to caramelise them here by adding sugar). 3. Add chopped nettle and wild garlic and cook until wilted.

4. Cool mixture and drain excess water.

5. Add feta or ricotta cheese crumbled and beaten eggs OR finely chopped and fried mushrooms, finely chopped and fried nuts/seeds and nutritional yeast. If using tofu or vegan feta instead of/as well as mushrooms, just crumble it in.

6. Add seasonings to taste. Adjust quantities to get a thick, chunky pesto-like consistency.

7. Cut pastry into roughly 2 inch strips, paint with butter (optional decadent tastiness), spoon a tbsp of mixture onto one end and wrap up into triangles. Seal with a little water and paint with butter/vegan butter.

8. Bake on trays at 180c for 20-30 mins or until slightly golden. Keep an eye on them as they can burn quick! Or you can fry them in a little oil.


Variations:

Put mixture into puff pastry for delicious rolls.

Use wild homemade garlic or nettle pesto instead of cooked greens. Add other wild greens.

Leave out or substitute pretty much any of the ingredients... mix, match and vary any or all the ingredients. Mine are different every time - that’s the joy!


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© Women's Trad Festival | All photos by Charlie Low & Jessie Leong

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