spinach

Skinny Spanakopita (recipe)

If you want to really confuse people working at the grocery store, all you have to do is ask one question:

“Where are the wonton wrappers?”

I had the hilarious experience last night of being passed from employee to employee, all claiming to have an “idea” where they were but ending up confused and embarrassed enough to hand me off like a football to another coworker.  It was like “Hey, here’s wonton wrapper girl, she’s your problem now.” (For the record they are often kept in the produce section near the tofu).

For something so tricky to find, wonton wrappers are a hidden gem of cooking.

It’s easy to assume wontons are only suitable for Asian tastes, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Wonton wrappers are simply the Chinese answer to ravioli–they are made of eggs, water, and flour, and have great nutritional stats.  On average, 8 wraps have 155 calories, 0.5 grams of fat, 1 gram of fiber and sugar, and 4 grams of protein.  All alone they have no taste, so it’s totally up to the chef to decide what to do with them.  I remember my first time eating wonton wrappers casually–a friend in college had stuffed them with chicken, tomatoes, and spinach.  It was a simple recipe that tasted amazing, kept well in the fridge, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

With my constant desire for comfort food during the winter months, I’m always looking for things to make me feel like I’m indulging but are actually on the healthy side.  After a little searching and modifying, I made some skinny spanakopita.

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Traditionally, spanakopita is a Greek dish made up of spinach, feta cheese, and onions, all layered between buttery pieces of phyllo dough.  It’s basically Greek lasanga and it’s incredible (I suspect the butter has quite a bit to do with its popularity.  People don’t often go ham over spinach-filled entrees unless they’re full of butter, sour cream, or cheese).

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With this recipe you get the best of both worlds: cheesey, garlicky spinach stuffed into crunchy wonton wrappers just waiting to be dipped into a hot bowl of marinara. It’s perfect for a quick, easy meal during the week when you don’t have a lot of time but are sick of making more spaghetti or grilled cheese. Plus, it sneaks vegetables into your day in the most delicious way!

Skinny Spanakopita

recipe adapted from Slender Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 package of wonton wrappers (usually contains 24 wrappers. This recipe won’t use all of them, so feel free to double the recipe to use up the rest of the wrappers)
  • 10 oz bag of fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (I use full fat–more satisfying, less mystery ingredients)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg white (to be used as an egg wash)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes.
  3. Once the vegetable mixture is fragrant (you’ll really be able to smell the garlic), slowly add the bag of spinach and stir until the spinach has cooked and wilted.
  4. Place your spinach and vegetable mixture in a medium-sized bowl and add the feta cheese. Stir until combined.
  5. Lay out the wonton wrappers on two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  They should be laid out in squares
  6. Fill a bowl with warm water and get your egg white into another bowl.  Place both bowls by the cookie sheets.
  7. Assemble the skinny spanakopita by scooping a tablespoon or so of the cheese/spinach mixture on the middle of the wontons.
  8. Using the back end of a spoon or a pastry brush (if you have one), line the edges of the square wonton with warm water.  Once the edges are all wet, fold the wonton in half diagonally so you are left with a triangle. Press all the edges down to close. The warm water should help seal the stuffing in. Repeat with all the wontons.
  9. Brush each wonton (now a triangle filled with stuffing) with your egg wash.
  10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until crispy.
  11. Serve alone or with marinara sauce, and enjoy!

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Question:

  • Have you ever tried spanakopita?
  • Have you ever used wonton wrappers in a recipe?

 

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Garlicky Shrimp

Here’s a super simple scrumptious shrimp dish for those nights when you feel like acting fancy.  It’s healthy, hearty, and most of all, delicious.

Enjoy!

ImageIngredients:

  • 1 tbls butter
  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp (peeled, cleaned, deveined)
  • 5 cloves garlic (never fear the garlic)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (optional)
  • 9 oz bag of spinach

Prep Work

  • Before beginning to cook, sautee or microwave the spinach so that it is cooked when you add it to the shrimp dish later.  Also, cut the cherry tomatoes in half lengthwise and use your fingers to get all the insides of the tomato out.  The tomatoes you use for the dish should look like little tomato-boats, like this:

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Directions

  • Melt butter and oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet
  • When you see the butter bubbling, add the shrimp to the bottom of the pan (make sure they are in a single layer or they might not cook evenly)
  • Depending on the size of your shrimp, cooking time can vary.  Smaller shrimp take about 2 min each side and larger take about 5-6.  You just need to cook them until they are pink on both sides and opaque throughout.
  • Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes soften
  • Sprinkle panko bread crumbs on the mixture and toss until everything is nicely coated
  • Add prepared spinach to the pan (sidenote: it’s important to cook the spinach on the side because it releases a lot of water while it’s cooking.  You have to get rid of that before you add the cooked spinach to the shrimp dish or it will be watery)

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Serve with whole wheat pasta or eat alone! It’s delicious either way.

Enjoy!