Spanakopita Grilled Cheese

January 16, 2014
18 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 2 sandwiches
Author Notes

Spanakopita is a delicious spinach and feta pastry that is wrapped in crispy, butter-laden phyllo dough. Several cultures have their own version of this treat, but we I am Greek so my family's is very Mediterranean.

But it isn’t always easy to find the time to make the whole pie, or work with the phyllo, or even pre-heat the oven for that matter. I found a way to have all the flavor of the original with the ease of a sandwich. I was inspired to make this when I was in Rome and went into a panini shop where they had panini filled with just cooked spinach and buffalo mozzarella. They were a cheap and delicious lunch on the go for me, a broke, American backpacker. With that in mind, I decided that spanakopita grilled cheese would be a no-brainer for a recipe. —Alexandra V. Jones

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Alexandra V. Jones is a self-proclaimed "kitchen ninja" of Greek descent.
WHAT: A so-easy-you-can-make-it-every-day spanakopita.
HOW: Cook spinach with garlic and shallot, then mix in dill and feta. Layer buttered slices of bread with provolone cheese and the spinach mixture, and cook as you would a grilled cheese.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This recipe has all of the cheesy, garlic-y greens of spanakopita without the hassle of phyllo dough. It's just the thing to take your grilled cheese to the next level. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 4 slices good-quality bread (I used a Sicilian loaf studded with sesame seeds)
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • one 10-ounce bag baby spinach, or 2 big handfuls
  • pinch salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped dill
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 4 thin slices provolone cheese
  1. Either plug in your panini press (I’m old school so I use my default early 2000s wedding gift “George Foreman grill”) or heat a skillet over medium heat. Divide butter evenly between the four slices of bread, spread thinly on one side of each slice.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add the garlic and shallot, and cook 4 minutes, or until the garlic is golden-brown. Add spinach and salt and pepper, and cook for few minutes, until the spinach is wilted and most of the moisture is cooked out. Add dill and feta, turn off heat, and mix.
  3. Assemble the sandwiches by placing two slices of bread butter side-down on your press or pan, add one slice of provolone to each, then divide the spinach mixture in half and place half on each slice. Top with the remaining 2 slices of cheese and slices of bread, butter side-up.
  4. If using a panini press, put the lid down and cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. If using a pan, flip after about 5 minutes, then cook on the other side for 3 minutes. Eat with tomato soup, if you so please.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • olivebeagles
  • Marnie Hyland
    Marnie Hyland
  • Janet Martin
    Janet Martin
  • Erika Schmidt
    Erika Schmidt
  • linzarella
Chef de cuisine @Shelburne hotel Seaview, WA

23 Reviews

Diane January 11, 2024
What a great upgrade to grilled cheese and it’s not too fussy. Don’t skip the tomato soup, it’s the perfect winter pairing.
greenleaf904 December 4, 2023
This recipe was perfection! I followed it to the letter, and I served it with some tomato basil soup, and it was a triumph. I will be making this regularly. My only recommendation is to splurge on some authentic Greek sheep’s milk feta, because the taste difference is totally worth it.
olivebeagles December 13, 2022
delicious, great for a weeknight meal. partnered w/tomato soup as suggested. added some arugula w/spinach and sliced kalamata olives w/the feta.
will certainly make again!
Marnie H. July 18, 2022
Wow, is this good!!! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!
bonnie R. January 24, 2022
i halved the recipe and it was perfect. so good. so much more than a sandwich.
Janet M. August 22, 2021
Absolutely brilliant!! Less work than the original plus cheese. I loved it, and it's sure to show up in my skillet frequently. Maybe I could throw in some sliced mushrooms, or chopped Kalamata olives ...
Debra V. January 9, 2021
Super simple, made with a Le Creuset grill pan and a bacon press. Made this sandwich twice in three days. Easy & delicious!
Erika S. March 24, 2020
Absolutely scrumptious and easy to make! Well-balanced, the roasted garlic comes through without overpowering the tanginess of the feta and melty silkiness of the provolone. My only recommendation is to use whatever amount of spinach makes your heart happy - I wanted more!

The garlic and saltiness from the cheese
linzarella March 9, 2020
I LOVED THIS. Everything about the recipe was perfect. I don't know why I never thought to put dill with spinach before but it really made a difference. Next I want to try it as pasta!
ER February 13, 2019
Made it without the dill and is was just great. Next time I will cook the spinach down more as it was a bit watery but it was really delicious!! Well worth a try.
judy December 6, 2018
Recently came across a recipe for Thai peanut putter sandwich Thai basil. All the amazing Thai spices and heat, and don't forget the Thai basil. I bumped it up a notch with cheddar cheese on sourdough, grilled. It was excellent. AMAZiNG. Can't wait to try this version of spanakopita grilled cheese. WE love grilled cheese any ay we can get it. Thanks. Reviews ad comments are great. Lots of good ideas. Happy holidays everybody.
girlwithaknife November 28, 2017
The flavors are delicious but the filling was a bit soggy. Did I not cook the spinach down enough? Should I wring it out before putting it on the bread? Other ideas?
Cheryl April 1, 2017
Delicious! I made it vegan by using pre-bought "ricotta" made from almonds as sub for feta and vegan "provolone". I cooked the sandwich in a pan and used olive oil. Next time, I would just use 1 slide of provolone. My friend ate hers open face with one slide of bread and she is still talking about it today! We can't wait to do another one with the leftover spinach I have.
annie November 8, 2016
Ok, so making do with what I had, I came up with this stellar riff. Rye bread, a very mild brie, and fresh basil. Oh and queso fresco instead of feta. Oh my. It's the best thing I've eaten in weeks.
msmely September 3, 2015
Thinking this might take well to frozen spinach with the winter months coming upon us.
Alexandra V. September 3, 2015
I always have a bag in the freezer! Great idea.
Cheri M. September 2, 2015
Thank you Alexandra, I think I will try theprovolone for authenticity! No cheddar at present & my mozzarella is awaiting a salad! Looks like a shopping trip.
Alexandra V. September 2, 2015
Great! Enjoy!
Cheri M. September 2, 2015
Ditto never had provolone cheese though what's not to like. Love spinach!
Alexandra V. September 2, 2015
It's a good melting cheese! Give it a go, you can sub white cheddar or mozz if you have them on hand already.
inpatskitchen September 2, 2015
Congratulations on the Wild Card win!! I'm making this as soon as I pick up some provolone!!
Alexandra V. September 2, 2015
Why thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it!
Alexandra V. June 5, 2015
This should totally have one shallot sliced thin as an ingredient. Just noticed that editing mistake and can't figure out how to add it.