From my childhood in Greece to our home in Wales, the 'pita' pie has remained a firm favourite in our house. Most widely known as 'spanakopita' (spinach pie) it actually comes in many guises depending on the greens used, which can be anything really, from spinach to cabbage and from beetroot tops to leeks, with herbs and foraged greens often used as well.
Whatever you choose to put in, it's a great way to use up a (very) big pile of greens, it's easy to make and it's even better for lunch the next day.
Here is my own 'mix & match' recipe template:
An onion, or a bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
Some garlic (I use one clove per person)
Greens: a big pile of anything you like, or even better a mix - the more variety the tastier it will be! Could be spinach, chard, kale, shredded cabbage, beetroot tops, grated beets or carrots, leeks, fennel, celery, wild greens...
Fresh herbs - anything you like - parsley, dill & mint work particularly well. Dried herbs are ok too.
Eggs (at least 2 - I use 4, or 6 for when I have an extra big load of greens)
Feta cheese (some use a mix of feta and grated hard cheese)
Olive oil, salt, pepper (these go without saying really)
Pastry sheets - filo pastry is considered classic but you can use puff pastry sheets too (in Greece this would make a 'peasant' pie (choriatiki pita)
A deep-ish baking tray
Rinse the greens & herbs and squeeze/pat dry as much as possible.
Finely chop the onions, garlic and any fleshy veg (e.g. celery or fennel), then sauté with a good amount of olive oil until softened.
Add the greens and any herbs (and more olive oil if necessary) and continue sautéing until they wilt a bit.
Season well with salt & pepper.
If a lot of liquid is released pour it off and use elsewhere (it's delicious, don't throw it away!). This is just a precaution to avoid an overly soggy pie (I admit I often don't bother).
Crumble the feta cheese into a bowl and mix in the eggs.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Brush a baking tray with olive oil, line the bottom with pastry sheets so that there is some overhang on the sides.
Mix the greens & the feta/egg mix together and immediately pour into the tray.
Lay another pastry sheet on top, fold in the edges and crimp them up to seal. Brush the top with olive oil. Note: if using filo pastry brush some olive oil between the layers - use half of the sheets for the bottom the other half on top.
Place the pita in the oven and bake for 30-40 mins until the top is deep golden brown.
Allow to cool and set for 30 mins before cutting into squares to serve, perhaps with a tomato salad.
PS. Although the pastry may become less crunchy, I find pita tastes even better eaten cold the next day - perfect for lunch!
For a vegan version:
Substitute feta cheese with a vegan cheese (or something sharp and salty like capers or olives).
Substitute eggs with gram (chickpea) flour: mix up half a cup of flour with a cup of water, and fold into the veggie mix before pouring into the tray. It will set beautifully during baking (Note: gram flour is also gluten free).
A low carb/gluten-free version:
I have recently started experimenting with making my own grain-free pastry using almond & coconut flour and psyllium husk.
If you look it up there are lots of recipes for keto pastry out there (I have been loosely following this one). I'm not great at making pastry so mine is always wonky, but it tastes rather good!
And even a version without pastry:
For a crust-less pita (spanakopita redux, if you like!) see this post!