This recipe comes once again from inspiration while visiting and eating at Mythos Restaurant at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Florida. My frozen butterbeer, fried potato and onion strings, and steak with gorgonzola butter recipes have all come from trips to Florida to go ride rollercoasters. Add spanakopita dip with fried pita to the list.
Pretty soon I’ll be recreating all of the food from our visits there, I guess. A way to enjoy it without spending as much money on travel. Though I don’t yet have a rollercoaster available in my backyard…
The Greek-inspired appetizer dip is loaded with flavor.
The simple spinach and feta spanakopita dip is a perfect appetizer for parties or simply served as an appetizer at home. This Greek spinach dip recipe is easy to make. Spinach, feta cheese, and cream cheese are the main ingredients that come together in this tasty Greek spinach dip that is super delicious and perfect for snacks!
I love the tanginess that goes with the spinach and feta combination. Make sure you have some extra pita bread lying around. So, let’s get started.
What Is Traditional Spanakopita?
Spanakopita is a traditional Greek dish. The name comes from the Greek words meaning spinach pie. Very aptly named because it typically consists of thin layers of filo or phyllo dough, chopped spinach, feta cheese, onions, and eggs.
Filo is a thin dough used for making pastries like baklava and börek. An egg wash makes it crispy and golden brown on top.
Baked until the outside is golden brown and crispy, the inside of the spanakopita should be delicate and cheesy.
The result is a flaky crust and a soft filling. It is normally cut and served in a triangular shape, but it can be served as a square or in any other shape.
It’s almost like spinach, feta, and filo lasagna.
What Goes Into Spanakopita Dip
To make traditional spanakopita into a dip, we’ll use the same general building blocks and adjust it as needed.
So, of course, we’ll keep the spinach and feta. Trade in some shallots for the onion and add garlic, lemon, and dill for even more flavor. The tangy, salty flavor of the feta will be the main focus.
To turn it into more of a dip, we’ll include some cream cheese. Greek yogurt and sour cream help to smooth things out even more. This makes it actually dippable.
And then we need something to replace the filo. Something we can use to scoop up and eat the spanakopita dip itself. That’s where the pita comes in. But this recipe takes things over the top and uses some fried pitas for dipping. Mmmmmm.
Cheeses to Use in Spanakopita Dip
I’m trying to recreate a recipe from a restaurant and don’t know their exact ingredients or proportions. So it takes some experimentation and educated guessing.
The traditional cheese for spanakopita is feta. So, to keep the original soul of spanakopita in the dip, we’ll use feta as the main cheese in this recipe. Feta doesn’t melt especially well, so it’ll need some other assistance to get to a perfect super-smooth dip consistency.
For that, I turned to my other dip-making experience with cream cheese dill dip. The cream cheese in that recipe is what really helps make the dip smooth and
Cream cheese is perfect because it doesn’t have an overpowering flavor of its own. It has great consistency and could easily take on the flavors we want. So feta and cream cheese are the cheeses of choice.
How to Make Spanakopita Dip
Start with a lot of fresh spinach. Lots of it.
Chop up the spinach along with the garlic and shallots. Sautee the garlic and shallots in olive oil over medium heat. Once the shallot is nearly translucent, it’s time to add in the spinach.
It’ll seem like too much at first, but it will cook down into a much smaller amount. Believe me, I had to up the amount of spinach two times while trying to get the right ratios for the recipe.
Stir it around until the spinach is cooked and wilted.
Once the spinach has cooked through, add in the feta, cream cheese, sour cream, Greek yogurt, salt, and pepper. Mix it all together as it warms up and the cheese fully melts together. It should be a fairly smooth mixture. Make sure that the cream cheese melts down.
For a final punch of flavor, toss in the dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
Give everything a good stir and it is ready to go.
How to Fry the Pita
Pitas are fairly easy to make and delicious in their own right. But, taking them one step further and frying them really takes them to the next level. Frying the pitas makes them crispy on the outside and still soft and tender on the inside. But – most importantly – frying makes them strong enough to use for dipping into the spanakopita.
I highly recommend that you make your own homemade pitas using my pillowy-soft puffy pita recipe. But you can use whatever recipe you like, or store-bought pitas if pressed for time.
To get to frying, start by slicing the pitas into wedges. I use a pizza cutter because I’m essentially cutting them exactly like a pizza.
Add a 50-50 mix of olive oil and vegetable oil to a slightly deep pan up to about half an inch up the side of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and let it warm up.
Then gently put enough sliced pita wedges to fill most of the pan, with a bit of space between. Cook them for 2 to 3 minutes and then use some tongs to flip them and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove them from the oil and onto a paper towel-lined plate.
Sprinkle salt and za’atar seasoning over the fried pita wedges.
Repeat until all of the pita wedges are fried.
Garnish and Serve the Spanakopita Dip
With pitas fried and spanakopita dip made, it’s time to serve and eat.
This recipe works best as an appetizer, set out so everyone can enjoy it at their leisure. You may want to use some method to keep the spanakopita dip warm, depending on how long it’ll be out. A small food warmer (I have a mini Crock Pot warmer) or a chafing dish would work.
You can serve the dip as is, or try topping it with fresh minced dill, toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil, or some freshly shredded parmesan.
Now, obviously, I really enjoy using these homemade fried pitas to dip into the spanakopita dip. It comes from the initial recipe at Mythos and just tastes divine. But don’t feel like that boxes you in. Try pairing this dip with pita chips, other chips, carrots, celery, or anything else that you think will suit the spinach and feta flavors.
How did yours turn out?
I’d love to hear when you try out this spanakopita dip! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.
Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.
Spinach and Feta Spanakopita Dip with Fried PitaCourse: AppetizersDifficulty: Intermediate
A creamy spanakopita dip with crispy pita chips makes an appetizer everyone will love!
- Spanakopita Dip
1/2 cup chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup cream cheese
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced dill
- Fried Pitas
4 cooked pitas
Olive oil and vegetable oil for frying
1/2 tablespoon za’atar seasoning
2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Spanakopita Dip
- Chop the shallots and spinach, and mince the garlic
- Add the olive oil to a pot over medium heat, stir in the shallots and garlic, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until fragrant and the shallots are nearly translucent
- Stir the chopped spinach into the pot and continue stirring while the spinach cooks and wilts
- Add the cream cheese, feta cheese, Greek yogurt, sour cream, salt, and pepper to the pot
- Stir the mixture and heat through for 5 to 7 minutes until the cheeses have melted together
- While the cheeses are melting, zest and juice the lemon and mince the dill
- Remove the pot from the heat and mix in the dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest until fully combined
- Keep the dip warm while frying the pitas
- Fried Pitas
- Heat a 50/50 mix of olive oil and vegetable that comes to 1/2 inch up the sides of a deep pan over medium-high heat
- Slice pitas into triangular wedges with a knife or pizza wheel
- Working in batches, gently add the pita slices to the hot oil and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden, be careful not to overcrowd the pan
- Remove the fried pita wedges from the oil to a paper towel-covered plate to drain and generously sprinkle with salt and za’atar seasoning
- Repeat steps 3-4 until all pita slices have been fried
- Serve the spanakopita dip with the fried pita
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