A couple of months ago, I had the most incredible plate of spanakopita at a restaurant. It was so wonderful, so creamy and so ridiculously high in calories and fat (or Points Plus if you are doing Weight Watchers) that I was wishing I was wearing sweat pants instead of skinny jeans after eating it.
But seriously I couldn’t stop thinking about it for what seemed like weeks. I was contemplating making a batch and trying to use the minimum amount of butter for the Phyllo dough but that just doesn’t sound good to me. Even though I am all about cooking healthy food, I don’t like to cut corners where it matters most with my recipes. And when it comes to real Spanakopita, Phyllo and butter are best friends. Best Friends Forever.
So I sat with it for a couple of days and it hit me – a Quinoa Spanakopita. A dish infused with all the traditional flavors found in Spanakopita with an added bonus of protein from the quinoa and without all the added fat from the butter.
An everyday dish that is quick and easy to prepare and loaded with Feta cheese and toasted pine nuts, and finished with freshly ground nutmeg. A dish that is still wonderful and creamy but only 7 Points Plus per serving!
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup quinoa, rinse
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 cups broth or water
- ⅓ cup organic pine nuts, toasted
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 6 ounces organic baby spinach
- ½ small organic lemon
- ½ + ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper + more for serving
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 8 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled
- Heat medium saucepan over medium-high heat; once hot, add the oil. Add the Quinoa and toast for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the garlic and spices, and cook 30 to 45 seconds, stirring constantly.
- Slowly add the broth or water and bring to a boil; cover, lower to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let covered pot sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat; once hot, add the oil. Add the onion and garlic, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper and cook 5 minutes more.
- Add the spinach and 1 tablespoon water; cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes until the spinach is completely wilted. Remove the spinach and onion mixture from pan and let cool. (This is so that it doesn’t melt the Feta.)
- Toast the pine nuts by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the pine nuts in one even layer and cook 4 to 5 minutes, turning and tossing frequently.
- Finally, toss the quinoa with the chopped dill, parsley, lemon juice, pine nuts, Feta cheese, remaining ½ teaspoon kosher salt, ground nutmeg and spinach-onion mixture.
- Serve and Enjoy!