By Carol Adams
In Never Too Late to Go Vegan, I mentioned that learning to use tofu in place of cheese was a breakthrough for me in going vegan. The vegan “feta” in this recipe came to me from my friend Shirley Wilkes-Johnson. My children loved taking this for their school lunch. I always had to send extra ones because their classmates loved them so!
This makes 18-20 spanakopita pockets
For the vegan feta:
1 pound extra-firm tofu
8 ounces vegan cream cheese such as Tofutti brand
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1-2 teaspoons salt (depending on how salty you want it)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
For the spinach mixture:
1 pound fresh spinach, washed, de-stemmed and chopped or 1 16-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and with water squeezed out
3 tablespoons almond meal (ground almonds)
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Dash of salt and onion powder
For the wrapping
6-7 sheets whole wheat phyllo pastry dough
½ cup bread crumbs (more as needed) (I used toasted cooked quinoa since I had some on hand)
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing phyllo pastry or use an olive oil spray can
Thaw the phyllo dough according to the instructions on the box.
Prepare “vegan feta”
- Rinse the tofu and pat it dry. Then crumble it slightly into a bowl.
- Add the vegan cream cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic powder and combine. Do not overmix since it should appear chunky and crumbly.
Prepare the spinach filling:
- If using fresh spinach, wash it and squeeze out excess moisture. Chop finely. If using frozen, let it defrost and squeeze out excess moisture.
- Stir together the almond meal, nutritional yeast, salt and onion powder to make vegan paramasan.
- Combine the spinach and vegan parmesan. Stir into the vegan feta mixture.
Prepare the spanakopita
- Preheat over to 350 degrees.
- Unroll the thawed phyllo pastry and cut it in thirds. Pile the thirds on top of each other and cover with a moistened towel.
- Remove the towel and carefully peel off the top pastry sheet and move it to your work area. Recover the stack of phyllo with the moistened towel. (I have found it is less necessary to keep phyllo covered if you are using whole wheat phyllo.)
- Brush the single phyllo sheet with oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs.
- Put another pastry sheet on top of it and repeat with the oil and breadcrumbs. Repeat with a third sheet, brushing with oil. Do not add the breadcrumbs to the third sheet.
- Fold the bottom of the pastry, up 1 inch. Place a tablespoon of the spinach mixture in the right hand corner.
- Fold this over into a triangle, and then fold again to make a triangle pocket. Brush the top with the oil and place on a baking tray. When your tray is full, bake for 15 minutes or until the phyllo pastry is golden.