One of my all time favourite ingredient combinations are spinach and feta. This is traditionally a greek dish and boy is it tasty. Growing up in north London as a child, there was a big Turkish and Greek Cypriot community so this combination was found in abundance.
It was going to take a lot for me to digress from feta and try a vegan alternative, being such a massive fan of feta. You should know by now, here at Too Many Foodies, we like a challenge and love to make plant-based alternative for our Vegan friends.
I use aquafaba (chickpea water) to bind the mixture together and nutritional yeast and bouillon to marinade the tofu to give it that lovely umami flavour similar to cheese. Make sure you buy the flat leaf spinach. If you use the chopped it will disintegrate into nothing and don't be great.
1 packet of pre-rolled filo pastry sheets
1kg of frozen flat-leaf spinach, defrosted and drained
2 tbsp of olive oil, and more for basting
1 large onion, finely sliced
1.5 tsp ground nutmeg
1 handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
1 handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
8 tbsp of Aquafaba
Salt and pepper
Half a lemon, juiced
350g of firm tofu, drained
2 tbsp bouillon
3 tbsp of nutritional yeast
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Start by emptying the spinach into a sauce pan with a cup of water and steam on a medium heat, giving a good stir occasionally, until it has defrosted. Drain the majority of the liquid out using a sieve so that the spinach is still juicy but not watery.
Gently fry the onions in the oil with a pinch of salt for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent.
Empty the tofu into a clean tea towel and drain as much of the liquid out as you can. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the rest of the ingredients for the tofu mix together and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.
Put the spinach into a separate mixing bow and add all the remaining ingredients for the spinach mix. Mix well and season with plenty of salt. Taste and adjust seasoning as you see fit.
When you are satisfied that both the spinach mix and tofu mix are to your taste, carefully fold the tofu into the spinach, combining roughly so that there are still chunks of tofu and the green spinach is still a separate part of the mix.
Get a baking tray and brush or spray some olive oil sparingly on a piece of filo pastry. Carefully pick it up and line it in the baking tray - oil side down. Don't worry if some of the pastry sheet overhang - we want them to and these will get tucked in at the end. Repeat this until you have 2-4 sheets left - this will depend on the size and shape of your filo pastry (read on and all will become clear).
Once all the layers of filo are on carefully spoon in the spinach and tofu mixture and use a spoon or knife to even it out. Now fold in the overhanging pieces of filo into the middle, right from the edge so all the layers are hugging the mixture.
Now use the remaining pieces of filo by scrunching them up like tissues and placing them in the centre of the baking dish so that the filling is completely covered. If your pieces of filo are very large you may just need 2 to scrunch up or if they are smaller, 4 may be enough.
Brush or spray over some more olive oil over the central scrunches of filo and season lightly with black pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes and serve immediately on its own or with a side salad. Enjoy.
Go Vegetarian - Use 200g of Feta cheese instead of the Tofu mixture and follow the method as usual. Add 2 large beaten eggs instead of the aquafaba. You can also use puff pastry if you like.
This really is traditionally a vegetarian dish but if you must go meaty add 300g of chicken and frying them up with the onions and halving the amount of spinach. Use feta, eggs and a dairy-filled pastry