Autumn, Main

Autumn spanakopita

I've called this recipe Autumn Spanakopita, because I try to eat with the seasons, and pumpkins are currently in full swing – but I'm pretty sure butternut squash is available all year round, and you won't want to limit yourself to only eating this in autumn!

If you're using pumpkin, you should peel the skin off, but when I use butternut squash I simply leave it on.

There's nothing complicated about this dish, as long as you're not precious about shaping the pastry: the trick is to avoid rolling it too tightly before coiling, and to remember that if it does crack, it will simply add texture and taste, so not to worry too much!

Makes 6


700g squash or pumpkin, diced and peeled if necessary

4 cloves garlic

½ tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tbsp light oil, such as groundnut

700g fresh spinach

1 small white onion, diced

2 fat cloves garlic, crushed

300g vegan cream cheese – I like Nush Foods

1 tbsp lemon juice

¼ nutmeg, finely grated

⅓ cup nutritional yeast

⅓ cup toasted pine nuts

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

About 10 sage leaves, thinly sliced

12 sheets filo pastry

¼ cup light oil

2 tbsp black, white or mixed sesame seeds

To serve

Green salad

Vegan tzatziki


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas 4.
  2. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and add the squash pieces, the garlic cloves (skins still on), the chilli flakes, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Drizzle over 1 tbsp of light oil, mix to combine, and roast for about 30 mins, or until the squash is cooked through and lightly caramelised.
  3. Meanwhile, add a splash of oil to a large frying pan or wok over a medium heat, and gradually add your spinach, adding more as each handful wilts.
  4. When it's all wilted, drain the spinach in a sieve over a bowl. Using the back of a spoon, push as much liquid as possible out of the spinach, and set aside.
  5. Add a little more oil to the pan and add the diced onion. Sauté until translucent and lightly golden, then add the crushed garlic and cook for a further minute or two. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, lemon juice, nutmeg, nutritional yeast, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper, and stir to combine.
  7. Roughly chop the spinach, and stir it into the cream cheese mixture.
  8. When the squash is ready, remove the tray from the oven and squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins. Add the cooked onion and sliced sage leaves to the tray and stir to combine, then fold the squash mixture into the creamy spinach.
  9. Lay out one sheet of filo pastry and lightly brush it with some of the oil. Top it with another sheet, and lightly oil again.
  10. Add a sixth of the squash and spinach mix in a long sausage lengthways down one side of the pastry. Roll the pastry up, but not too tightly, to form a long, thin log. Coil the log into a spiral, and place on a lined baking tray.
  11. Brush the spiral with a little more oil, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, making six spanakopita in total.
  12. Bake the spanakopita for about 30 mins, until the pastry is crisp and golden. Serve with a green or mixed salad, and vegan tzatziki on the side.

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