Pão de Spanakopita (Vegan, Gluten-free, Allergy-friendly)

Some things are born out of necessity. This is definitely one of those things. I was craving spanakopita big time, but with this elimination diet, I had to get creative with how I would deliver the delicious spinach and feta concoction to my mouth. If you’re not familiar with this dish, it’s usually made with puff pastry filled with a mixture of spinach, herbs, garlic, onions, and feta cheese. I used dill and bok choy, as well, since I happened to have them on hand. I made my own feta since I have a lot of restrictions right now, but a store bought one or even cream cheese or ricotta will be great! You can add a little lemon juice if you want it extra tangy.

And I just went off a whole tangent. So I made the filling and still wasn’t sure what to use as a delivery method. I was torn between pasta and pão de quiejo. If you have ever had Brasilian food, you know what pão de quiejo is! It’s that stretchy, cheesy bread they bring in baskets. So good!

I obviously decided to make the bread instead of pasta, and I’m so glad I did. I usually don’t like fusion food, but this was meant to be. And I’m making more tonight bc it was so delicious! I ate 8 of them the first day. I did have some of the filling left over, but I’m not complaining. These are best right out of the oven, but I reheated some in the air fryer at 360°F for 6 minutes and they were awesome! I’ve heated these in the microwave before, and it works but isn’t my favorite.

These would be wonderful for a get-together just so you don’t end up eating them all yourself! Olives or sundried tomatoes would be great in these too.

RECIPE

1/3 of an onion, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

5 big handfuls of spinach, washed and chopped

1 tablespoon of dill

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 c vegan feta (I added more because it’s delicious!)

Squeeze of lemon (optional)

1 1/2 cups of potato or tapioca starch (or a combination of these)

1 tablespoon of flax meal

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 cup of plant milk (I used soy)

Olive oil or broth for sauteing

METHOD

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Heat your skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the oil or broth and your chopped onions, but not the green onions. Cook until they become soft and start to brown. Add the garlic and green onions at this point. Stir quickly and add the spinach. Cook until the spinach wilts. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

While the spinach is cooling, mix together the potato/tapioca starch, salt, flax meal, and baking powder. Add the milk and stir until thoroughly combined. Let this rest for 10 minutes.

Once the spinach is cool enough to handle, press out as much liquid as possible from the mixture and discard the liquid. This step is very important. Do not skip it!

Once the spinach is as dry as you can get it, add the dill and pepper. Gently mix in the feta. Check for seasoning and add salt and more pepper if necessary. You can give it a squeeze of lemon if you would like. Mix the spinach with the batter. Check for seasoning again and adjust as needed.

Prepare your muffin tin with cooking spray or oil. This will make 12. Fill each cup about 1/3-1/2 the way up. This will depend on the size of your muffin pan so start with 1/3 and if there is batter left, top them off.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the top starts to get slightly golden and is hard.

Let the cooked bread rest for a minute or two before moving to a wire rack. Eat these immediately. Enjoy!

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