This vegan spanakopita is easy to make thanks to a couple of store-bought shortcuts that will save you so much time! Filled with an extremely flavorful mixture of spinach, fresh parsley, garlic, onions, and almond ricotta sandwiched between crispy layers of dough, this spanakopita is simply spectacular!
Ever since my first bite of spanakopita at my family's favorite Greek restaurant, I was hooked! I loved the creamy filling and the super flaky layers, it was so delicious and such a treat! When I went vegan, I created this veganized version of spanakopita and it's just as tasty! I usually serve this dish as a main course for Christmas and Easter dinner because it's a beautiful presentation and my non-vegan family loves it!
I call this a semi-homemade vegan spanakopita because I use a couple of store-bought shortcuts which make it super quick and simple to assemble. Using store-bought vegan ricotta, frozen spinach, and premade filo dough will save you a lot of prep time and it makes this delicious vegan meal a snap to put together!
Can Vegans Eat Filo Dough?
Vegans can eat some types of filo dough, you just need to check the ingredients first and make sure it contains no animal products. Most brands of premade filo are made with butter, but a few brands are accidentally vegan because they use oil instead of butter. I really like the Fillo Factory frozen dough (However, always read the label first, because ingredients can be changed at any time).
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Yellow Onion - Any onion or shallots can be used.
- Garlic - If you don't have fresh garlic, you can sub 1 tsp garlic powder.
- Frozen Chopped Spinach - You can use fresh, but I found it easier to use frozen because it's already chopped and all you have to do is thaw it and drain it. If you use fresh, you'll need about 2 ½ lbs. Thinly sliced and massaged kale can also be used.
- Vegan Ricotta - Instead of vegan ricotta, you could use vegan feta (I love Violife feta) or make homemade vegan tofu feta. In a pinch, I've even used Kite Hill plain vegan cream cheese, which was delicious! Not as tangy as the ricotta, but it was still very creamy.
- Filo Dough - If you can't find vegan filo dough, you can use vegan puff pastry instead.
- Olive Oil - Any neutral oil will work. I have also made it with avocado oil and it turned out great.
How to Make Vegan Spanakopita
First, saute the diced onion in a large pan until it's soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic and let it cook until fragrant (Photo 1). While the onions and garlic are cooking, put the thawed spinach in a piece of cheesecloth or a thin lint-free towel, twist it into a ball to seal the top, and squeeze firmly to drain any remaining water. You should end up with a softball-sized ball of dry greens (Photo 2).
Combine the cooked onions and garlic, spinach, fresh parsley, vegan ricotta, lemon zest, nutmeg, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl until all the ingredients are evenly distributed (Photos 3 & 4). Lay the thawed dough in between two lightly damp towels so it doesn't dry out while you're assembling the vegan spanakopita (Photo 5).
In a 9x13 casserole dish, brush the bottom with olive oil and then line it with 12 sheets of filo, brushing every other layer lightly with olive oil (Photo 6). The edges will hang over the dish, that's ok because you will fold them in later. Add the filling to the casserole dish and gently spread it out in one even layer (Photo 7).
Top the filling with 5 sheets (brushing every other layer with oil), fold in the edges, lay the last piece on top, and tuck the edges in. Generously brush the top layer with oil, score the spanakopita into 12 pieces (only cut through the top layers) (Photo 8), and then bake the spanakopita until the top is lightly browned and crispy.
This vegan spanakopita makes a beautiful and impressive main course. Any of the following side dishes would be delicious to serve with it:
- Lemon Tahini Courgette Salad
- Arugula Avocado Tomato Salad
- Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad
- Salad with Vegan Ranch Dressing
How to Reheat It
Store leftovers in the fridge for 1-2 days. After that, it may start to get a little soggy.
From the Fridge: You can warm individual portions in the microwave but it won't make the topping crispy. The best way to reheat the vegan spanakopita so it gets a crispy crust is to put it in an oven-safe dish, cover it with a piece of parchment paper to protect it from burning, and bake it for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees or until it's warmed through (depending on how big the slice is). Take the parchment paper off for the last minute.
From the Freezer: Bake it uncovered at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until it's warmed through. If the top starts to get too dark, cover it with parchment paper to protect it.
Spanakopita can also be enjoyed as an appetizer or finger food! Instead of layering the ingredients in a casserole dish, you can make vegan spanakopita triangles. To do this, cut the sheets of filo into 3-inch x 10-inch strips. Work with one piece at a time and cover the remaining pieces with plastic wrap and a damp cloth so it doesn't dry out.
Brush the strip lightly with oil and then put a generous spoonful of the filling in the bottom of the strip. Fold it up into a triangle shape and keep folding until you use the whole strip. Repeat until you run out of filling. Arrange the triangles on a parchment-lined baking tray and lightly brush each triangle with oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until they're golden and crispy.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can assemble the spanakopita the day before but don't bake it. Cover it so it's airtight and refrigerate it until you're ready to bake it the next day. Then follow the baking instructions.
It's better to freeze the spanakopita uncooked. Store it in an airtight container in the freezer for 1-2 months.
If the sheets have been exposed to the air for too long, they may dry out and tear when picked up. If this happens, try to patch the pieces together in the bottom of the casserole because nobody will see it. Instead of trying to piece the topping together, you can crumple each piece (like you would crumple a piece of paper) and put it on top of the pie filling. Make sure generously brush all the nooks and crannies and tips of the dough with olive oil before baking.
Oil is necessary to use to make the dough crispy. However, if you're oil-free, you can use aquafaba as a substitute, but it won't create the same dark color and crispiness as oil does.
- Take the frozen spinach and dough out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to thaw for 24 hours. Move the dough to the counter 1-2 hours before you're making the spanakopita so the dough will be at room temperature, soft, and pliable when you're ready to use it.
- It's very important to drain the spinach extremely well because you don't want the pie to be soggy from excess liquid. If it still has ice crystals when you take it out of the fridge, warm it in a pan to melt the ice before you strain it.
- When you're assembling the vegan spanakopita, keep the layers of thawed filo in between two slightly damp dish towels so it won't dry out. Don't open the sealed bag that the dough sheets are in until right before you're ready to assemble the pie.
- Don't worry if the filo tears when you pick it up. Just put it in the casserole dish and match it up the best you can with the other pieces. Brush it with a little bit of olive oil and nobody will be able to tell once it has been baked.
Want More Vegan Main Course Recipes?
Semi-Homemade Vegan Spanakopita
- Large Pan
- Large Mixing Bowl
- (2) Hand Towels
- 9-inch x 13-inch Casserole Dish
- 2 lbs frozen chopped spinach
- 1 large yellow onion diced
- 3 medium garlic cloves minced
- 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley roughly chopped (mostly leaves, but small stems are ok if finely chopped)
- 16 oz vegan ricotta (I used (2) 8 oz packages Kite Hill almond ricotta)
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb vegan filo dough thawed (I used an 18-sheet package of Fillo Factory filo dough)
- Take the frozen filo and spinach out of the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost for 24 hours. If you forget to do this the day before, you can warm the frozen spinach in a pan on the stove (right before you make the dish) until it's fully thawed.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large pan, saute the diced onion until soft and translucent. Add the minced garlic cloves and let it cook for 1 minute. It will smell very fragrant.
- While the onions are cooking, drain the spinach. Put the thawed spinach into a piece of cheesecloth or a thin dish towel, twist it into a ball to seal, and squeeze any remaining water out. You want the spinach to be as dry as possible.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the cooked onions and garlic, drained spinach, almond ricotta, lemon zest, chopped parsley, nutmeg, and black pepper. Mix well to combine all the ingredients. Taste the filling and add salt to taste if necessary.
- Take the thawed filo dough out of the package and lay it between two slightly damp dish towels so they don't dry out. Don't open the package and expose the sheets to air until you're ready to assemble the pie.
- Add the spinach filling and use a spatula to smooth it out evenly. Top with the remaining pieces of filo dough (brushing every other layer with oil), but reserve 1 full sheet for the top. Fold in (or trim off) all of the edges that are hanging over and then brush the corners generously with olive oil so they will get crispy. Lay the last piece of filo on top to cover the sloppy edges you just folded in and tuck the edges in.
- Score the pie (only cut through the top layers of filo) into 12 pieces. It's much easier to cut it now before it's crispy. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top layer is lightly brown and crispy. Let it rest for a few minutes before removing slices from the pan.
- Store any leftover spanakopita in an airtight container in the fridge and it will stay fresh for 2-3 days. After that, it may start to get a little soggy.
*This recipe was originally shared on 4/18/18, but I updated it on 9/5/20.