This Greek-inspired spinach pie is the easiest and tastiest vegan spanakopita! The savory spinach and homemade dairy-free feta filling is tucked into a skillet lined with crisp, buttery phyllo pastry, and baked to perfection.
Make sure your phyllo dough has been defrosted (if frozen) according the package instructions.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/177°C/gas 4.
For the Quick Vegan Feta
Add all of the feta ingredients to a food processor and pulse until the mixture comes together but before it becomes completely smooth. The goal here is to still have a bit of texture from the cashews.
For the Spinach and Feta Filling
Add the oil to a large 10” (25 cm) cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the green onions and garlic cooking for another minute.
Place the onion mixture in a large bowl with the spinach, parsley and dill. Mix well. Add the silken tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, zest, nutmeg and pepper. Stir gently to combine, leaving some chunks of tofu intact.
Spoon the feta into the spinach mixture - stir but leave small clusters of feta here and there.
To Assemble the Vegan Spanakopita Skillet
Have your oil or melted butter ready, and a pastry brush out. Wipe the skillet* clean and generously oil the bottom and sides. (*See Notes for other bakeware options.)
Lightly dampen two lint-free kitchen towels. Place one evenly over a baking sheet. Take the phyllo out of the package and unroll onto the towel lined baking tray. Cover the pastry with a second damp kitchen towel. The towels will help keep the pastry from drying out, breaking, and becoming very difficult to work with. If the dough is becoming soggy, the towels are wet (instead of damp) - place a dry towel or paper towel between the wet towels and the pastry.
Working quickly, lift one sheet at a time into the skillet, brushing the top of each lightly with olive oil – there will be over-hang, try to keep it even on each side of the skillet. Gently even out the pastry to prevent pockets of air. Repeat with 8-10 more sheets of phyllo pastry, rotating as you go so the overhanging pieces fall all around the skillet.
Spoon the filling into the skillet and spread it out evenly. Take the top layer of overhanging phyllo and fold it over the filling toward the center of the skillet, brushing the phyllo with lightly oil. Don't lay it flat, but rather crinkle it a bit so that it's ruffled – this helps the pastry crisp up while it bakes. Repeat with the rest of the sheets of phyllo and oil. Don't worry if the pastry breaks a bit.
Place the skillet spanakopita on the middle oven rack. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the phyllo is golden brown and the filling is hot. Check at around 30 minutes - if the phyllo is golden enough, place a piece of foil loosely on the top to prevent burning.
Let stand for 10-15 minutes to firm up a bit. Slice into pie shaped pieces, and serve with vegan tzatziki if desired. Great served warm or at room temperature!
Soak cashews 4 hours or overnight. If you're short on time, quick-soak the cashews by covering them with water in a small pot, and simmer them for about 15 minutes, then drain well.
Skillet and Baking Pan Options
If using a larger skillet, the phyllo pie will naturally be thinner and the baking time may be shortened by about 15 minutes.If you don't have an oven-safe skillet, you can prepare the filling in a stove-top pan and then assemble and bake the spanakopita in an oiled springform pan, or in another 10" (25 cm) baking dish.
Don't Have Frozen Spinach?
If you only have fresh spinach on hand, you will need 2 lbs (1 kg) of fresh spinach for this spanakopita recipe. Chop the spinach (baby spinach does not need to be chopped), and then in a large pot, sauté it in a tablespoon (15 mL) of oil or water until it is completely wilted (about 4 minutes.) From there, let the spinach cool until you can squeeze the excess water from it, and then continue with the recipe as written.
Substituting Silken Tofu
Silken tofu (any firmness although I prefer extra-firm) works best in this recipe because its texture is so close to that of eggs which are traditionally in this Greek dish. However, other types of tofu will work as well so long as it's just coarsely crumbled before adding it in with the spinach mixture (to maintain some texture.)