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
slices good-quality bread (I used a Sicilian loaf studded with sesame seeds)
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.
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.
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.
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.