Something I very enthusiastically buy up at farmer’s markets is kale. Bunches and bunches of the stuff. Curly kale, purple kale, I adore it all. While simply frying it in garlic-laced olive oil has been my preferred method of cooking this beautiful brassica, I’ve wanted to develop a kale-based twist on the classic spanakopita (Greek spinach and feta pie).
Wrapped in golden layers of shard-crisp phyllo, this pie epitomises comfort food, but at the same time feels wholesomely healthy. I switch out the saltiness of feta with creamy ricotta and flavour the mixture with fresh dill and mint for Mediterranean cool. By combining the cooked kale with equal parts wilted spinach one removes the bitterness often associated with the former while retaining the nutritional allure that kale brings.
Especially delicious when served with a dollop of garlicky tzatziki, the recipe for my Kale and Ricotta Spanakopita works best when served as a light lunch or as part of a mezze-style spread.
Kale and Ricotta Spanakopita
Prep time: 25 mins /Cook time: 35-40 mins /Serves: 4-6
You will need:
- 500g readymade phyllo pastry, thawed
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 400g spinach, stalks removed
- 400g kale, stalks removed
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 250g ricotta, crumbled
- 5ml ground nutmeg
- 50ml Greek yoghurt
- Olive oil
- 4 sprigs each fresh mint and dill, stalks removed and finely chopped
- Coarse ground sea salt and black pepper
- Toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Using a large pot over medium heat, fry the onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add the nutmeg, spinach and kale and leave to wilt. Increase the heat to cook off any excess liquid from the kale and spinach. Add the yoghurt and garlic and crumble in the ricotta. Season to taste and stir through the fresh herbs. Leave the filling to cool slightly.
Working on a clean smooth surface, arrange 3 sheets of phyllo lengthways, with each sheet overlapping 3cm at each join. The combined length of the phyllo should roughly measure a metre in length. Brush these sheets with olive oil and lay another 3 sheets on top of the first, repeating the overlapping pattern and brush of olive oil. Continue for a third layer of phyllo.
Generously spoon the filling along the bottom edge of the pastry, leaving a border of 4cm. Fold over the edge, rolling it up securely to the opposite edge of the phyllo. Starting on the left, roll the phyllo into a pinwheel, tucking the loose ends underneath. Transfer the pinwheel to an oiled baking dish or lined sheet. Brush the top and sides of the pinwheel with olive oil and sprinkle over a few sesame seeds. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until golden and crisp.
Serve the kale and ricotta spanakopita with some herbed tzatziki (my cookbook has a great recipe for it!) and a glass or two of a deliciously wooded Chenin Blanc.