Instead of the traditional feta cheese, this vegan spanakopita recipe uses tofu (marinated with lemon juice, miso, and mustard).
Something that amazes me each year is how much my eating habits change come summertime. Whereas in winter I crave warming, grounding, cooked-down foods, in summer I gravitate toward lighter, energy-filled things. Which is to say, lots of vegetables and fruit, less grains and beans than usual.
Spanakopita (Greek spinach-feta pie) popped into my mind as soon as the weather got hot this year – probably because I was reminded of my trip to Greece a few summers ago. Spanakopita consists almost entirely of spinach and fresh herbs – sandwiched between just a few wispy sheets of crispy phyllo dough – so it’s a perfect summer meal.
I’ve been experimenting with this vegan spanakopita recipe for the past couple of weeks and am so excited about how it turned out. This spinach pie (with tofu instead of feta) is super light and packed with herby freshness. If you’ve never had spanakopita before, think of it as a crispy spinach lasagna (not sure how helpful that is, haha). Let’s dive in!
What’s In This Vegan Spanakopita
The vegan filling for this pie uses tofu instead of feta, since the two are almost identical in texture. To mimic the funky tang of the sheep’s milk cheese, the tofu gets crumbled and marinated with lemon juice, miso, and mustard. The rest of the filling calls for sautéed onion, garlic, frozen spinach, lots of fresh dill and scallions, and the tiniest bit of nutmeg for a hint of warmth (optional). The filling gets sandwiched between layers of phyllo dough.
Vegan Spinach Pie Step-by-Step
Marinate the Tofu: In a large bowl, whisk together lemon juice, miso, and mustard. Using your fingers, crumble pressed tofu into small bits and add to the marinade. Stir to coat and set aside.
Sauté the Onion: Meanwhile, cook the diced onion until translucent and add garlic at the very end.
Thaw the Spinach: Remove the spinach from its packaging and place in a pot with about a cup of water. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until the spinach is completely defrosted. Drain in a mesh strainer and run under cold water to cool completely. Using your hands, squeeze all the moisture out of the spinach. (Don’t rush this step – otherwise, you’ll end up with a watery pie.)
Finish the Filling: Add the cooked onions and spinach to the bowl with the tofu, along with the dill, scallions, and nutmeg. Stir to combine thoroughly, making sure the spinach is evenly distributed. Season with salt and pepper. Be sure to taste the filling before putting it in the pie.
Assemble the Pie: Brush a 9×13” casserole dish lightly with oil (highly recommend this brush!). Place a sheet of phyllo in the dish and brush lightly with oil, repeating the process with 4 more phyllo sheets, brushing with oil between each layer (don’t brush the top of the last sheet though). Try to work gently, but don’t worry if the sheets tear here and there; it won’t make a difference in the end. Be sure to keep the remaining phyllo covered while you work to avoid drying it out.
Add the filling and cover with a sheet of phyllo; press with your hands to pack it down. Brush the phyllo with oil and repeat with 4 more sheets, brushing with oil between each layer as before. Finally, brush the last sheet with oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
Bake the Pie: Place in a preheated 350ºF oven and bake until golden brown, about 40-50 minutes. Serve immediately.
Tips for Making Vegan Spanakopita
- Choose the right tofu: All tofu brands are slightly different, but generally speaking, “firm” or “medium firm” tofu is best. “Extra firm” is too dry, while softer tofus are too watery for spanakopita.
- Thaw your phyllo: Phyllo (or filo) dough is sold frozen. To thaw, move it from the freezer to the fridge up to ~12 hours before cooking – or thaw at room temp for 1 to 3 hours. If you don’t use up the entire package, wrap up the remaining dough and re-freeze.
- If making ahead… If you wanna prep this in advance, make the filling and keep it in the fridge for up to 1 day. Then assemble the pie and bake day-of. Spanakopita is best eaten the same day it’s baked, since it loses its crispness after refrigeration. I recommend reheating leftovers in a skillet instead of the microwave.
More Mediterranean faves…
- Roasted Eggplant Sandwich with Romesco
- Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragú
- Spicy Tomato-Stewed Eggplant
- Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
This vegan spanakopita recipe uses marinated tofu instead of the traditional feta cheese.
- One 14-ounce block “firm” or “medium-firm” tofu
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white miso
- 1 tablespoon brown or Dijon mustard
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- Two 10-ounce boxes frozen chopped spinach
- 2 large scallions, chopped
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh dill
- Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
- 10 sheets of thawed phyllo dough
- Sesame seeds, for garnishing (optional)
- Press the tofu: Drain tofu and place it on a plate, then top with another plate or cutting board, and weigh it down with something heavy (like a couple of cans), to squeeze out as much water as possible. Let stand for 10 minutes, periodically draining off the excess water. (Or use a tofu press.)
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Marinate the tofu: In a large bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 tablespoons miso, 1 tablespoon mustard, a pinch of salt, and lots of pepper. Using your fingers, crumble the tofu into small bits. Add to the marinade and toss to coat. Set aside while you prep the other ingredients.
- Cook the onion: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onion with a pinch of salt, and cook until translucent and lightly golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Add 3 minced garlic cloves and cook for 30 seconds longer.
- Thaw the spinach: Meanwhile, place the frozen spinach in a high-sided saucepan with a cup of water. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer until completely defrosted, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Wring the spinach: Drain the spinach in a mesh strainer and run under cold water until completely cool. Using your hands, squeeze all the water out of the spinach (don’t rush this step – otherwise, you’ll end up with a soupy pie) and add to the bowl with the tofu.
- To the bowl, add the onion, 2 chopped scallions, 1 cup chopped dill, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and lots of black pepper. Stir thoroughly to combine.
- Assemble the pie: Brush the bottom and sides of a 9×13” casserole dish with oil. Place a sheet of phyllo in the dish and brush lightly with oil, repeating the process with 4 more sheets, brushing with oil between each layer (don’t brush the top of the last sheet though). Work gently, but don’t worry if the sheets tear here and there. Keep the remaining phyllo covered to avoid drying it out.
- Add the filling and cover with a sheet of phyllo; press with your hands to pack it down. Brush the phyllo with oil and repeat with 4 more sheets, brushing with oil between each layer as before. Finally, brush the last sheet with oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
- Bake until golden, 40 to 50 minutes. Serve immediately.
- Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe
- Calories: 160
- Fat: 8 g
- Carbohydrates: 15 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 7.7 g
Keywords: greek, spinach, tofu, spanakopita, vegan