Vegan Greek Spinach Pastry

Fresh marjoram is like a sweeter, woodsier oregano.  The Greeks (and Romans) thought of it as a symbol of happiness.  When it’s baking in my oven, I think of it the same way.  The smell of fresh herbs and buttery pastry are intoxicating!  

My husband wanted spanakopita.  While the traditional Greek spinach pastry has feta, eggs, and butter, this recipe uses silken tofu, quinoa, and a bit of vegan shredded cheese.  This recipe takes inspiration from spanakopita, but then, reimagines it.  Kalamata olives and fresh herbs add complexity.  While you can use dried herbs for this recipe, I love what the fresh herbs bring to this recipe.  You won’t regret it!

I also really love vegan puff pastry!  You can either use a frozen brand, like Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry, or make your own from scratch.  I used two 17.3 ounce packages of Pepperidge Farm Frozen Puff Pastry, because I needed 3 sheets.  I cut one of the sheets in half.  I used 1 sheet + ½ sheet to cover the bottom of the pan, and 1 sheet + ½ sheet to cover the the filling and the top of the pan.  If you choose to make your own, just make sure to make enough for 2 crusts that will cover an 8 X 11 pan.

Vegan Greek Spinach Pastry

3 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed according to directions OR 2 puff pastry crusts large enough to cover an 8 X 11 pan (see note above)

⅓ cup quinoa

1 12.3 ounce package of silken firm tofu, drained

¼ cup nutritional yeast

1 cup vegan shredded cheese (I used Daiya Shreds Mozzarella Style)

1 tsp fresh lemon rind (just cut a piece off a fresh lemon and throw it in the blender!)

1-2 Tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp garlic powder

1 ½-2 tsp fresh marjoram or 1 tsp dried marjoram

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 10 ounce packages of frozen spinach, thawed and water squeezed out

½ cup whole kalamata olives

Black pepper, to taste

1. In a small saucepan, add quinoa and ⅔ cup of water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, and then, turn down to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, drain any excess water, fluff with a fork, and set aside.

2. In a food processor or blender, add silken tofu, nutritional yeast, vegan shredded cheese, fresh lemon rind, lemon juice, and garlic powder.  Blend until completely smooth.  Add marjoram, and blend until well integrated but still distinguishable.  Set aside.

3. Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Grease an 8″ X 11″ pan.  Line the pan with 1 ½ sheets of puff pastry. Set aside.

4. In a large skillet, add onions, garlic, thyme, and olive oil.  Sauté over medium-low heat until onions are golden. Add frozen spinach, quinoa, and tofu mixture from the food processor.  Stir until well incorporated.  Stir in kalamata olives.  

5. Layer the filling over the puff pastry.  Spread until evenly distributed.

6. Layer the top crust (or 1 ½ sheets of thawed frozen puff pastry) over the top of the filling.  Fold the edges under, and lightly press the pastry down around the edges.  Prick the top with a fork.  And bake at 400 F for 30-35 minutes.  Serve.

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