Every year for my son Alex’s birthday, I make one of his favorite appetizers, Spinach Phyllo Triangles. These are beautifully flaky little pockets filled with spinach and feta. They are my version of spanakopita, a Greek dish of layers and layers of phyllo with spinach and feta. So delicious! I guarantee that these will become one of your favorite appetizers too!
It’s all Greek to me!
My best friend, Eleni, is Greek, and she comes from a long line of excellent cooks and bakers. I have been lucky enough to have experienced some of her family specialties, such as her grandmother’s moussaka, and Eleni’s baklava and of course spanakopita! I love them all! In fact the moussaka, which is an eggplant dish, is what brought me around on eggplant. The texture was not appealing to me. But Mrs. Curtis made moussaka for us one night. So determined to be polite, I decided to try it, even though I was sure I was not going to like it. Well, it was fabulous and from that night on I became an eggplant lover.
Spanakopita is of course an extremely popular Greek dish. I think almost everyone has at one time or another eaten it. It combines buttered flaky layers of phyllo dough with spinach and feta and often has dill in it. This is really one of my all-time favorite dishes! These Spinach triangles are my take on a single serve portion of spanakopita. I combine the spinach with onion, garlic, parmesan cheese (because everything is better with parmesan on it!) and feta and wrap it all up in a flaky buttered pocket of phyllo. I don’t call this spanakopita, because it does not contain some of the ingredients that you would find in a traditional dish such as the dill or nutmeg.
Phyllo, also referred to as filo or fillo, means leaf in Greek. Which is a perfect description for these very thin sheets of unleavened dough. It is paper-thin and can be a little tricky to work with if you have never used it in cooking or backing before. The main issue with it is that it dries out quickly. So, you must make sure that you work swiftly and that you keep the sheets of dough that you are not working on covered with a damp towel.
Cool it off
I always make this appetizer the day before I am going to serve it. it is nice to have it done and ready for the oven so that I can serve it hot. I would recommend allowing it to cool down for a few minutes before serving it. The filling gets hot and stays hot for a little bit. One of the running jokes in our family is that Alex is going to burn himself. He just pops these in his mouth as soon as he sees them and burns his mouth every single time! He just can’t help himself!
Making Spinach Phyllo Triangles
This recipe looks harder than it is to make. Below I have included some instructions to help you create the best Spinach Phyllo Triangles for your next gathering. My best piece of advice would be to prepare everything before you open the phyllo so that you can put the phyllo pockets together quickly.
- You can find Phyllo sheets in the freezer section of your grocery store.
- Make sure to thaw the phyllo completely before you attempt to start working with it.
- Prepare the filling and have it ready so that the phyllo is not sitting out any longer than it needs to.
- Have a dampened tea cloth ready to go. Wring it out really well, you don’t want the phyllo to get wet.
- Melt the butter completely. You may have to reheat it if it starts to cool off and get hard again.
- Lay all the Phyllo to the side on your work surface and cover with the dampened cloth.
- Working with one sheet at a time.
- Brush the butter on the sheet so that every bit of the sheet is covered.
- Lay another sheet on top of it and brush it with butter as well.
- Make sure the rest of the Phyllo is covered with the dampened cloth.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the buttered sheets into three long even strips.
- Place 1 teaspoon of filling on the top of each strip
- Starting with the corner of the first strip, fold it to the opposite site of the strip, forming a triangle.
- Now take the top corner of the triangle and fold it straight down.
- Continue folding the phyllo as if you are folding a flag, alternating the side fold and the downward fold until you reach the bottom.
- Butter the top of the triangle pocket and place on a cookie sheet.
- Repeat this with the rest of the strips and then with the remainder of the phyllo sheets until you have used up the filling.
- At this point you can cover the cookie sheet tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to one day, if you don’t want to bake them immediately.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until the phyllo is golden brown.
- Serve warm, although they are delicious at room temperature as well!
Other Appetizer recipes you may like:
Spinach Phyllo Triangles
- 10 oz Spinach, frozen chopped, thawed
- 2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese grated
- 4 tbsp. Feta cheese crumbled
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 tbsp. Onion diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ¼ tsp. Black pepper ground
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup butter melted
- 1 lb. Phyllo sheets at room temperature
- Using a cheese cloth or a tea towel, squeeze the liquid out of the spinach.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the onion and garlic to skillet and cook until the onion begins to get tender. About two minutes.
- In a bowl mix the spinach, onion and garlic, parmesan cheese, feta cheese, egg, salt and pepper.
Make the Phyllo Triangles
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Unroll the phyllo and cover with a damp towel.
- Take one sheet of phyllo and lay on a flat work surface. Brush the phyllo sheet with melted butter, being sure to cover the whole sheet.
- Take second sheet and lay it on top of the first sheet. Brush the second sheet with butter.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into three even strips, along the long length of the sheets.
- Place about a teaspoon of filling at the top of the strip.
- Fold the left corner of the strip over the filling forming a triangle.
- Fold the triangle down toward you and continue to fold the triangle as if you are folding a flag.
- When you reach the bottom, brush melted butter over the top of the phyllo triangle.
- Repeat with the remainder of the phyllo and spinach.
- It is best to work quickly with phyllo and keep the sheets that you are not working on, covered with the a damp towel so that they do not dry out.
- Place the phyllo triangles on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until the they are golden brown.