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Greek lamb and spinach filo pie

Mon, 17 August, 2020

I’m not entirely sure a lamb, spinach and feta cheese pie in filo pastry wrap is a thing in Greece but the flavours are completely authentic. This is a meaty spanakopita, with leftover roast lamb.

greek lamb spinach and feta filo pie

Leftovers rule!

I have said it many times and I’ll say it again: leftovers are better than the original meal. I’m loath to mention the ‘C’ word in the middle of summer, when I’m writing these words, but if it weren’t for a/ gravy and b/ Boxing Day sandwiches with mayo, who would bother with the turkey?

greek style filo pastry pie with lamb and spinach

The best thing about a roast

I don’t often have many leftovers; the fewer people you cook for, the more precise the amounts. But a big roast is within the realm of our dinner fare – friends invited round for a meal notwithstanding – only on the proviso of using up leftovers.

spanakopita with lamb

What to do with leftover roast?

It’s a time- and worldwide-honoured custom to wrap your leftovers in shortcrust like English pies, or filo – the Greek pita or Spanish pastillas; in pizza dough like the Sicilian scaccia or simply dumping in a pan to fry up into Irish colcannon. It serves the purpose of bulking out the meal but also making it tastier than sad cold remnants – who can resist stuff wrapped in pastry?

greek lamb spinach and feta filo pie

And the Greeks have a wonderful way with pies: spanakopita is the best-known vegetarian stalwart, but lamb goes with spinach and feta cheese like a song.

How to shape a Greek lamb pie?

The shape does not matter much but I wanted to make a square pie so I could cut it in squares, like the best things in Greek life: moussaka, pastitsio and baklava. Interestingly, working out how to fold the filo sheets over the filling in a square tin is much more challenging than wrapping up a round pie: long side over short? clockwise like a cardboard box? corners in, envelope style? I packed it in the end like a shoddy parcel but I’m sure a neater way can be easily found.

filo pastry with lamb feta and spinach filling

How to serve a Greek lamb pie?

And it is so, so delicious! A smallish square goes a long way because it has so much going in it: meat and cheese and spinach, eggs and pastry wrapping. If a main course dish, I’d serve it just with a green salad unless very hungry diners will demand roasted potatoes, à la Greek mode. If it’s a snack or a lunchtime fare, it’s best at room temperature.

Greek lamb and spinach filo pie

Servings: 4Time: 1 hour
Rating: (3 reviews)


  • 350g (12 oz.) fresh spinach (or frozen, thawed)
  • 1 tbsp. pine kernels plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 tbsp. sunflower seeds plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 200g (6 oz.) cooked lamb (leftover roast), shredded
  • 200g (6 oz.) feta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp. grated Parmesan
  • 8 sheets of filo pastry
  • 50g (2 tbsp.) butter, melted
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • grated nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. almond flakes


1. If using fresh spinach, blanch it in boiling water or in the microwave. Squeeze as much moisture as possible and chop it roughly. If using frozen spinach, just squeeze it out.

2. Toast the pine nuts and sunflower seeds in a dry frying pan. Remove and keep aside.

3. Finely dice the onion, peel and chop the garlic.

4. Heat the oil in the same frying pan and add the onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes until softened. Stir in all the spices and sugar while it’s cooking, add the garlic then the shredded lamb. Cook for a couple of minutes to infuse it with flavours and take it off the heat.

leftover lamb

5. In a large bowl mash the feta with the eggs. Add the toasted seeds and pine nuts, Parmesan, lamb and onion mixture and the chopped spinach. Mix it all very well.

how to make greek pie filling

6. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Prepare a square 20 x 20cm dish or a cake tin and brush it with butter.

7. Working quickly so it doesn’t dry, prepare the filo pastry: place a sheet on a chopping board or worktop and brush liberally with the melted butter, sprinkle with salt, pepper, nutmeg and red pepper flakes. Layer the next sheet, brush, sprinkle and repeat with two more. Cover the pastry with a tea towel while it waits and prepare the other stack of four sheets in the same way.

how to layer filo pastry

8. Press one stack of filo into the dish with overhang on two sides. Cut the other stack in half crosswise and arrange to line the other two sides, overlapping on the bottom.

arranging pastry in the dish

9. Spoon the filling onto the pastry evenly and cover with the pastry; shorter sides first and the longer sides on top. Brush the top with remaining butter, sprinkle with the extra sunflower seeds, pine nuts and the almond flakes.

how to make greek style pie

10. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and crispy.

greek pita with lamb and spinach

11. Let the pie stand at least 15 minutes before cutting it into squares with a serrated edge. In fact it tastes the best just a little warmer than room temperature. Serve with green salad.

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Stephen - you're right, I lost the nuts and seeds! Now corrected - of course they should have been added to the filling. But the way you did it should have worked OK and I completely applaud the addition of pistachios and pumpkins. Thanks for pointing out my error!
4 years ago
Stephen Dubreuil
When and where was I meant to put the pine nuts and sunflower seeds? I had wrapped the pie up nice and snug and realised I still had all of the seeds to go somewhere. I sprinkled all of them on top in the end as I was not about to try to unwrap and sprinkle onto lamb, spinach and feta mixture. We still enjoyed the dish very much. The only changes I made was to add pumpkin seeds and pistachios to the nuts and seeds. By the time we had eaten the leftovers for lunch the next day they were perfectly roasted without burning and I could not imagine the recipe without the nuts and seeds.
4 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi June - I'm impressed: homemade puff pastry! Wow, it must have been delicious. Mushrooms a good idea and you've indeed spied the cheeky mint! BTW - Brian was the previous commenter not the recipe author.
4 years ago
June Howley
Right - confessions! here's what I changed - Spinach for chopped mushrooms and my own home made puff pastry for filo as I prefer it. I stuck to the spices but added just a little freshly chopped mint (and anyway there seems to be some cheeky little mint leaves on the pastry in the pics although it's not mentioned). That's that and it's a beautiful tasting pie, definitely recommended, thank you Brian.
4 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Brian - it's just as good at room temperature.
4 years ago
Brian W
Looks delicious! Does it keep well or must it be eaten immediately?
4 years ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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