Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pastry that reminds me of Indian puffs. These puffs merit a separate recipe but essentially they comprise of spicy fillings made with vegetables, minced meat, eggs etc that are baked in puff pastry sheets. Spanakopita is a savory dish made with a mixture of spinach, onions and feta cheese, spread between layers of phyllo (filo) dough sheets and baked. I tried out Spanakopita triangles here at Costco and liked them a lot. I used to serve them as appetizers whenever we would have friends and family over. They are pretty filling though. A few years ago, I saw Rachael Ray make these burgers on one of her shows which she called ‘Spanakopita burgers’. I subsequently tried them out using her recipe as the base but tweaking her recipe here and there. I’ve replaced frozen spinach with fresh spinach, thrown in some Italian seasonings and in a nod to our palates added some minced green chillies to impart a kick.
- Minced meat (turkey or chicken) - 1 lb
- Spinach leaves - 1/2 lb
- Red onion - 1, small, finely chopped
- Garlic - minced, 2 tsp
- Oregano - dried, 1 tsp
- Italian seasoning - 1 tsp
- Red pepper flakes - 1 tsp
- Black pepper powder - 1/2 tsp
- Green chillies - 5, finely minced (optional)
- Crumbled Feta cheese - 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup
- Olive oil - 2 tbsp, divided
- Salt to taste
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan. Add the finely chopped onions and minced garlic to this. Cook till the onions are translucent (about 4-5 minutes) and set the pan aside to cool.
Wash the spinach leaves and leave them in a colander for a few minutes for all the water to drain. Then chop the leaves roughly if you are pressed for time, I prefer to chop them fine.
In a large bowl, put in the chopped spinach, cooled onion and garlic mixture, oregano, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, freshly ground black pepper, Feta cheese crumbles, minced green chillies (optional) and salt to taste. Mix all the ingredients together and then add the minced meat (we use turkey or chicken). Mix with a gentle hand as over mixing can lead to tough or slightly hard burgers. Refrigerate for atleast an hour (I marinated it overnight).
Form patties of whatever size you are comfortable with and cook them on a grill or on a grill pan like I did. When using the grill pan, make sure to cook on medium flame.
Lightly toast burger buns on both sides. Place the burger on the bottom bun and top it with a slice of red onion, a slice of tomato and a slice of cucumber. Slather the top bun with Tzatziki sauce (a Greek cucumber and yoghurt dip).
- Most important tip: go easy on the salt as Feta cheese is quite salty by itself.
- It is important to cook on medium flame as it cooks evenly. The first patty I cooked, I did it on a low flame and it was all watery and soggy as spinach oozes water as it gets cooked. On high flame, the outer layer gets cooked very quickly whereas it stays uncooked inside.