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Vegan Spanakopita

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Vegan spanakopita | Crispy and flaky phyllo pastry stuffed with a delicious spinach and vegan feta filling, made with tofu. Then brushed with vegan butter and baked until perfectly golden and crunchy. This vegan spanakopita tastes exactly like the real thing, only better.

Vegan Spanakopita on a plate.

Let’s delve into the world of vegan spanakopita, a mouthwatering twist on the classic Greek delicacy. Spanakopita traditionally combines layers of flaky phyllo pastry with a rich filling of spinach and feta cheese.

While spanakopita is undeniably delicious, it’s obviously not plant-based. Traditional recipes rely heavily on animal-based products such as feta cheese and butter.

That is why it is necessary to find alternatives to create a vegan version without compromising on taste and texture.

We are done with missing out on our favourite foods, such as Greek spanakopita. With the assistance of plant-based alternatives, there are no hurdles we can’t jump in the world of food.

Two plates of vegan spanakopita with a cup of coffee.

How to veganize spanakopita

Successfully veganizing spanakopita requires thoughtful ingredient substitutions and creative techniques to replicate the creamy and savory experience of the original dish.

That’s why, in this vegan spanakopita recipe, I use tofu to create a rich and creamy vegan feta that is full of flavour. I use lemon juice and apple cider vinegar for tanginess, nutritional yeast for a cheesy and umami flavour, and salt to enhance all of the flavours.

The spanakopita filling consists of vegan tofu feta, and spinach cooked with yellow and green onion and garlic. I also added dill for some freshness, and a squeeze of lemon for tanginess. You can add some oregano, thyme or any other herbs/seasonings you like. Don’t be afraid to tailor the seasonings to suit your preference.

To make vegan spanakopita you’ll need to use phyllo pastry, which is almost always naturally vegan as it’s normally made with oil, not butter. This is arguably one of the greatest blessings bestowed upon the vegan community.

You can likely buy phyllo pastry in the frozen section of your local grocery store. You can also make your own homemade version using oil or vegan butter.

This vegan spanakopita takes very little time to prepare and can be enjoyed as an appetizer or as the main dish. I use full sheets of phyllo for 4 large spanakopita swirls, but you can also cut smaller squares of phyllo and make snack-sized vegan spanakopita triangles.

Vegan spanakopita on a plate.

Nutritional benefits of vegan spanakopita ingredients

Tofu is an incredible nutrient-dense source of plant-based protein according to Healthline. Tofu can offer a variety of different vitamins and minerals such as calcium.

Spinach, the star ingredient in spanakopita, is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium, and its high soluble fiber content aids digestion and may help prevent cancer, according to Healthline.

The spinach in spanakopita not only adds vibrant color and earthy flavor but also provides nutrients and health benefits.

This vegan spanakopita recipe offers a guilt-free indulgence that nourishes your body and supports a balanced diet.

What kind of tofu is best for making vegan feta?

Tofu is kind of the chameleon for vegan cheeses. Tofu varies greatly in texture, from silken tofu to extra firm. And it’s basically a sponge for flavour, waiting to absorb any seasonings or marinade thrown it’s way.

The tofu feta in these vegan spanakopita swirls uses firm tofu. It effortlessly morphs itself into a creamy yet crumbly texture, just like that of feta. Flavoured with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, and salt, it mimics the flavours of traditional feta.

Don’t forget to press the tofu. Drain the tofu and press out all of the excess liquid. Then wrap the tofu block in paper towel and place it under a heavy object, like a cast iron pan for 10-15 minutes.

This simple step ensures that the tofu can adequately absorb flavour.

Ingredients

(Exact measurements are below)

  • Firm tofu- Using firm tofu is the key to getting the right texture to replicate feta cheese. It’s crumbly yet soft and smooth.
  • Lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, salt- For flavouring the vegan ‘feta’. The lemon juice delivers tanginess, the vinegar delivers depth, and the nutritional yeast delivers a cheesy umami flavour. The salt enhances all of the flavours and brings a salty savoury flavour that feta has.
  • Fresh spinach, yellow onion, green onion, garlic- The main ingredients in the spinach and vegan feta filling. Fresh spinach gives the dish a vibrant green colour, and a nice earthy taste. The onions and garlic deliver their own fresh and savoury flavours.
  • Dill, parsley, salt, and pepper- I can’t resist adding dill and parsley to spanakopita as they add a nice freshness, but it is optional. You can experiment with other herbs such as oregano or thyme. Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Phyllo pastry- Phyllo pastry is almost always vegan, as it is made with oil, not butter. You can likely find phyllo pastry in the frozen section of your local grocery store. If not, there are recipes online for vegan phyllo.
  • Vegan butter- Spankapoita is made by layering phyllo sheets brushed with butter to achieve flaky and crispy layers.

Instructions

  • Thaw the phyllo pastry for 1 hour at room temperature, before making this recipe.
  • You can premake the vegan feta and keep it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Press out the excess moisture in the tofu by draining it, then wrapping it in paper towel and placing it under a heavy object, like a cast iron pan, for 10-15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cooking onion and green onion.

Heat a large nonstick pan on medium heat with a tablespoon of neutral oil. Add the chopped yellow onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the green onion and cook for another 2 minutes.

Cooking the spinach.

Add the chopped spinach, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2 minutes. Spinach cooks very quickly, you’ll know when it’s ready when it shrinks significantly in size and becomes a darker colour. You just want a gentle wilt on the spinach.

Adding the herbs and spices to the spinach mixture.

Clear a spot in the middle of your pan and add the dill, parsley, and garlic. Garlic cooks very quickly so cook until just fragrant, about 10-15 seconds.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a large heat-safe mixing bowl to cool.

Vegan feta in a food processor.

To a food processor, add the tofu feta ingredients. Blend for 30 seconds. The mixture should be a little crumbly, not completely smooth. You can taste it and add more of any of the ingredients, just add a little bit at a time and mix by hand.

Add the vegan feta mixture to the spinach mixture and combine with a spatula.

Open your package of phyllo sheets and drape a damp towel over the open package, so they don’t dry out.

Buttering the phyllo with a pastry brush.

Lay out a phyllo sheet, placing the long side closest to you. Brush it lightly with melted vegan butter. Place a second sheet on top of the first one, and brush it with more butter.

Rolling the spanakopita swirls.

Spoon the spinach and vegan feta mixture along the edge that is closest to you. Leave about an inch gap from the edge.

Roll the empty gap over the spinach mixture and continue tightly rolling it into a log.

Turning the spanakopita log into a swirl shape.
Brushing the spanakopita swirls with butter.

Begin turning one side of the phyllo log into itself. Continue turning until you have a circular spiral.

Parts of the phyllo sheets may tear. Use any leftover phyllo pieces you have to patch the tear. Just brush a piece of phyllo with butter and plaster it to the tear.

Repeat the steps and transfer the spanakopita swirls to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops of each swirl with butter and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm by itself, or with a side of vegan tzatziki or Greek salad for a balanced meal.

Vegan spanakopita on a plate.

Tips for making vegan spanakopita

  • Fresh spinach: I highly recommend using fresh spinach for its vibrant green colour and its fresh taste, but frozen spinach will work all the same. Just thaw it and squeeze out all the liquid you can.
  • Cooking spinach: Ensure your spinach is clean and free from any grit or dirt. Give it a good wash and pat it dry before using. When sautéing the spinach, aim for a gentle wilt—this ensures it retains its vibrant green color and doesn’t become overly soggy.
  • Using phyllo: It can be intimidating to work with pastry, but here is a secret. It doesn’t matter if it tears or cracks. The oven will be hard at work creating all the lovely layers anyway. So don’t worry. Just patch any large gaps in the spanakopita swirls with extra pastry, so the filling doesn’t pour out. And while you’re assembling the spanakopita, lay a damp cloth over the extra phyllo so it doesn’t dry out.

What to serve with vegan spanakopita

One classic pairing that will never disappoint is tzatziki. The cool, creamy texture and tangy flavors of tzatziki complement the savoury Greek spinach and feta appetizer in every way. Try my vegan tzatziki recipe.

To create a balanced meal, toss together a quick greek salad with lettuce, cucumber, tomato and olives. Dress with a simple vinaigrette.

For a heartier option, serve the vegan spanakopita with a side of lemon potatoes or a quinoa salad.

Eating feta cheese instead of tofu feta? Try my vegetarian spanakopita spring rolls.

Two plates of vegan spanakopita with a fork.

Substitutions

  • This recipe is vegan
  • In place of spinach, you can try using other leafy greens like Swiss chard, kale, or collard greens. These greens offer a slightly different flavor profile while still providing the desired texture and nutritional benefits.
  • Feel free to get creative with the seasoning profile of your spanakopita. Experiment with other herbs like fresh basil, oregano, or thyme for a unique twist.
  • To replace the tofu feta: I don’t recommend using store-bought vegan feta for this recipe as it melted in the oven when I tried it. If you can’t eat soy, try Big Mountain Soy-Free Tofu OR try a can of white beans and follow the same instructions. They worked just as well and tasted delicious.

Storage and reheating

Vegan spanakopita will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days when stored in an airtight container or wrapped tightly.

Vegan spanakopita can be individually wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To reheat vegan spanakopita, warm it in a medium-heated oven until thoroughly warmed. About 10 minutes. Closely watch the pastry so it doesn’t burn. If reheating frozen spanakopita, simply unwrap it and place it directly in the oven without thawing. Warm for about 15 minutes.

Vegan spanakopita on a plate.

FAQ’s

Can vegan spanakopita be frozen?

Absolutely! Vegan spanakopita can be frozen to enjoy at a later time. Allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly or place it in an airtight container. Store it in the freezer and when you’re ready to indulge, thaw it and reheat it in the oven until warmed through.

Can I use frozen spinach for vegan spanakopita?

Yes, frozen spinach can be used for vegan spanakopita. Thaw the spinach completely and squeeze out any excess moisture before incorporating it into the filling. This ensures the right consistency and prevents the spanakopita from becoming too watery.

What are some vegan substitutes for feta cheese in spanakopita?

You can use homemade tofu feta or storebought dairy-free feta alternatives. You can also experiment with vegan cheese using ingredients like cashews, potatoes, or beans.

Are store-bought phyllo pastry sheets vegan?

Store-bought phyllo pastry is almost always naturally vegan as it is made with oil, not butter.

Is puff pastry the same as phyllo pastry?

Puff pastry and phyllo are similar in that they’re both used to make a variety of delicious flaky treats. Puff pastry is made with layers of dough and fat, which makes it airy and flaky. Phyllo pastry is stretched thin and brushed with fat, which makes it flaky and crispy.

Vegan spanakopita on a plate.

Vegan Spanakopita

5 from 2 votes
Crispy and flaky phyllo pastry stuffed with a delicious spinach and vegan feta filling, made with tofu. Then brushed with vegan butter and baked until perfectly golden and crunchy. This vegan spanakopita recipe tastes exactly like the real thing, only better.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4

Equipment

  • nonstick pan
  • baking sheet
  • Food processor

Ingredients
 
 

  • 10 cups fresh spinach
  • ½ a yellow onion chopped
  • 4 sprigs green onion sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons dill fresh
  • 1 teaspoon parsley fresh
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 phyllo sheets
  • ½ cup butter melted

for the vegan feta

  • 300 grams firm tofu
  • 4-5 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoons salt

Instructions
 

For the vegan feta

  • Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend for 20 seconds. Taste and tailor any of the ingredients amounts to suit your preference. The texture should be crumbly, not smooth.
  • Set aside.

To make the vegan spanakopita

  • Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Heat a large nonstick pan on medium heat with a bit of neutral oil.
  • Add the yellow onion. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Add the green onion. Cook for 2 minutes. Add the spinach, salt and pepper Cook for a couple minutes, until the spinach becomes lightly wilted.
  • Clear a spot in the middle of the pan and add the garlic and herbs. Cook for 15 seconds, just until the garlic becomes aromatic. Remove from the heat and transfer to a heat safe mixing bowl.
  • Once cooled slightly, add the tofu feta mixture to the spinach mixture. Stir to combine.
  • Place a phyllo sheet in front of you, with the longest side closest to you. Lightly butter the entire surface. Add another sheet on top of the first sheet, and lightly butter the entire surface.
  • Spoon the spinach and vegan feta mixture along the pastry edge that is closest to you. Leave about an inch gap from the edge.
  • Roll the empty gap over the filling, and continue tightly rolling it into a log.
  • Begin turning one side of the phyllo log into itself. Continue turning until you have a circular spiral. If parts of the phyllo tear, just take a leftover piece of pastry and plaster over the tear with some melted butter.
  • Repeat steps with the rest of the filling. You should be able to make 4 large spirals.
  • Transfer all to the parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush the tops of each spanakopita with butter and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy as an appetizer with vegan tzatziki or a side of Greek salad.

Video

Notes

For the best results, use firm or extra firm tofu and press all the moisture out before using.
Thaw the phyllo for 1 hour at room temperature before making this recipe.
Premake the vegan feta and store it covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Try a storebought vegan feta if you don’t want tofu based veta.
If using frozen spinach, thaw it and squeeze out all the liquid.
Try other herbs like oregano, thyme, rosemary or mint.
If using dried herbs, use double the amount given in the recipe card.
Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
To reheat from the fridge, heat for 10 minutes in a medium-temperature oven. If heating from frozen, heat for 15 minutes. Keep an eye on how brown the phyllo is getting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 swirlCalories: 400kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 12gFat: 27gFiber: 13gSugar: 2g
Keyword vegan spanakopita
Tried this recipe?Mention @theveggieyaya or tag #theveggieyaya!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Vegan spanakopita pin with burgundy text.

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