Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Spinach Filo Pastries with Goat’s Cheese and Chocolate

Spinach filo pastries with goat's cheese and chocolate.

A Middle Eastern inspired vegetarian snack which is very hard to resist. These spinach filo pastries layer up spinach, goat’s cheese, fresh mint and a little chocolate. They are delicious all by themselves, but are also just what you need as part of a mezze style feast.

Some of you may remember my six course chocolate themed dinner party from a couple of months ago. These spinach filo pastries with, goat’s cheese and chocolate formed one of those six courses. They were polished of with alacrity and I’m sure I saw a few fingers being licked. Everyone agreed that the chocolate worked really well with the other ingredients – a gentle but enriching presence.

Spinach Filo Pastries

This is a an adaptable recipe, which I made up as I was devising the evening’s menu. Just adjust quantities to suit different tastes and the number of people partaking. One of our guests can’t eat products made with cow’s milk, so goat or sheep’s cheese it had to be. A good feta cheese is made with either goat or sheep’s milk, but I thought I’d play it safe and use some local soft goat’s cheese instead.

Spinach Filo Pastries with Goat's Cheese and Chocolate.

When I say spinach, I don’t actually use spinach. Our plot is full of orach. This is a really tasty spinach substitute with reddish coloured leaves. It’s not only very easy to grow but it seeds everywhere, which means once you’ve got it, you don’t really need to sow it again. So I used homegrown orach for my spinach filo pastries.

To avoid the spinach burning when cooking, wash it just before using. Give it a quick shake but keep some of the water on the leaves.

Tips and Tricks

Filo Pastry

Filo pastry is a very thin dough which is a bit tricky to make at home. It cooks very quickly and is particularly crisp. It makes fantastic pastries and is widely used in the Balkans and Middle East. Just in case you’re wondering, Phyllo pastry is just another spelling for filo. It means leaf in Greek.

  1. I learnt how to make filo triangles on a Middle Eastern mezze course at the Vegetarian Cookery School in Bath a couple of years ago. And I’m very glad I did as it’s proved to be invaluable on several occasions. However, it’s a bit beyond me to explain how to do it here. Suffice it to say, once you’ve got the knack, it’s really easy. Triangles are a particular good shape to use as they hold the filling in well; all three sides are at least double wrapped. But if folding filo pastry into triangles seems a bit beyond you, by all means make them into rolls or rectangles instead.
  2. The secret to working with filo pastry is to keep it covered so that it doesn’t dry out. If it gets too dry it’s likely to snap rather than bend.
  3. Another trick is to coat each piece with butter. This helps to make the baked pastry crisp, flaky and most importantly, delicious.

Substitutions

  1. If you want to make these vegan, simply swap the goat’s cheese for some vegan cheese or tofu and use olive oil rather than butter. But do make sure any chocolate you use is suitable for vegans.
  2. Swap the goat’s cheese for feta cheese if you prefer.
  3. Don’t let the inclusion of chocolate put you off, it’s worth a try.

Can I Make The Pastries Ahead of Time?

  1. You can make these spinach filo parcels a couple of days ahead. Keep in the refrigerator before baking then pop in the oven just before they’re needed.
  2. To freeze the pastries prior to baking, place on a flat baking surface and freeze for an hour. Once frozen, remove and pop into a container or bag. Will keep for 3 months. Bake from frozen for for 15 to 20 minutes.

Middle Eastern Filo Pastries

These sort of spinach filo pastries are popular in many parts of the Middle East. Spanakopita is a favourite in Greece where the filo pastry is filled with a mixture of spinach, mint and feta cheese. In Turkey you’ll find something very similar called börek. Fatayer is a savoury Lebanese pastry. Sometimes it’s made with filo and sometimes with a bread dough. One of the most popular fillings for it is spinach.

When it comes to sweet filo pastries, well, there are just too many to mention. But I have a most delicious recipe for chocolate baklava.

Keep in Touch

Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make these Middle Eastern inspired spinach filo pastries, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.

If you’d like to see more recipes from my Flavours of the Middle East series, just click on the link. And for more pastry ideas take a look at my tarts, pies and pastries category.

For more delicious and nutritious recipes, follow me on TwitterFacebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

Spinach Filo Pastries – The Recipe

Spinach filo pastries with goat's cheese and chocolate.
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5 from 1 vote

Spinach Filo Pastries with Goat's Cheese and Chocolate

A Middle Eastern inspired vegetarian snack which is very hard to resist. These filo pastries layer up spinach, goat's cheese, fresh mint and a little chocolate. They make a great snack, starter or addition to a mezze style feast.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Snack, Starter
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: chocolate, filo, goat's cheese, pastry, spinach, vegetarian
Servings: 12 pastries

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 shallots - finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic - finely chopped
  • large handful of spinach or spinach type leaf (I used homegrown orach)
  • a grating of nutmeg
  • a good grinding of black pepper
  • 50 g soft ripe goat's cheese
  • a few leaves of fresh mint - finely chopped
  • 25 g unsalted butter
  • 20 g 85% dark chocolate - cut into rough chunks.
  • 3 filo pastry sheets

Instructions

  • In a large pan, sweat the shallots and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes.
  • Added a the freshly washed & still wet spinach to the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer until wilted (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat. If the mixture is too wet, drain off any surplus liquid. (I didn't need to)
  • Grate in a little nutmeg and some black pepper.
  • Stir in the goat's cheese and mint.
  • Melt the butter.
  • Cut the filo sheets lengthways into 4 long strips & brush each with melted butter.
  • Place a large teaspoonful of the spinach mixture onto the bottom of each strip.
  • Add a couple of chocolate chunks & wrap in the pastry to form 12 triangles.
  • Brush the triangles with melted butter.
  • Bake at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4) for 10 minutes until crisp and golden.

Notes

Best eaten whilst warm from the oven.
If you like your food well seasoned, you may want to add some salt to the spinach mixture. I thought the goat's cheese was salty enough.

Sharing

As the main ingredient here was goats cheese, I am entering this into Alpha Bakes where the letter is G for goat’s cheese this month. This is hosted alternately by The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline Makes.

11 Comments

  1. Janine

    19th August 2013 at 8:41 pm

    These sound delicious! I’m definitely favouriting these for when I’m in an experimental mood.

    Reply
    • Choclette

      20th August 2013 at 4:37 pm

      Thanks Janine – well worth the effor and the chocolate really adds something a little special.

      Reply
  2. Stuart Vettese

    19th August 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I love quirky combos Choclette – these are right up my street!

    Reply
  3. Katie

    20th August 2013 at 5:52 am

    These look like a delicious twist on spanikoptia.

    Reply
  4. Kit @ i-lostinausten

    20th August 2013 at 7:39 am

    Wow!very innovative , sounds & looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe! YUM! 😉

    Reply
  5. Jean

    20th August 2013 at 7:31 am

    Goats cheese and chocolate – something I never thought I would see in the same recipe! Sounds irresistibly intriguing – must give it a try!

    Reply
  6. belleau kitchen

    21st August 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I saw these on facebook at the weekend and then forgot to comment, they look AMAZING and im so intrigued by how they tasted… I love the goats cheese / choco combo, in fact I think there should be some more savoury themed WSC challenges!… beautiful x

    Reply
  7. Tracy K Nixon

    23rd August 2013 at 3:40 am

    Very different! Feeling adventurous so may give this a try over the Bank Holiday!

    Reply
  8. Johanna GGG

    25th August 2013 at 7:15 am

    great dinner party food – am sure it would get everyone talking – if they could stop eating 🙂

    Reply
  9. Baking Addict

    25th August 2013 at 11:51 pm

    I thought I left a comment already but clearly went straight to your six course chocolate themed [arty and never came back! These sound really good and I wish I could try one for myself. Thanks for entering AlphaBakes.

    Reply
  10. Healthy Spinach Patties - Goodie Godmother

    5th June 2015 at 12:41 pm

    […] Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Chocolate Phyllo Triangles – Tin and Thyme […]

    Reply

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