Greek Spinach Puffs
Greek Spinach Puffs are an easy and delicious appetizer! You can make the spinach mixture well in advance, fold in fresh feta and a beaten egg, and then fill them inside muffin pans lined with a square of puff pastry dough right before baking! Great to make ahead for parties!
Every time I hear the words ‘spinach puff’ I think of Kronk from the Emperor’s New Groove.
Tell me I’m not the only one!
These Greek-inspired spinach puffs are filled with an easy, homemade spinach filling flavored with onions, garlic, crumbled feta, fresh dill, lemon zest, and a hint of nutmeg. Plus, you can make the filling ahead of time. Then when you’re ready to make the puffs, mix in the fresh herbs, feta cheese, and an egg, fill the puff pastry squares with the filling, brush with an egg wash, and bake these until they’re golden and puffy!
These little golden puffs are the perfect appetizer to make for the holidays (perfect for a Christmas or a New Year’s Eve party) and you can pretty much make them year-round for other get-togethers too!
Each bite has briny feta, buttery puff pastry, a hint of lemon zest, and tender spinach, and to be honest, they remind me of the best spanakopita!
Ingredients for homemade spinach puffs:
- Puff Pastry: Is usually in the same aisle as frozen desserts in most grocery stores these days. Keep in mind that puff pastry and phyllo dough are different. Puff pastry is laminated with thin layers of butter in between. Phyllo (or Filo) is virtually fat-free and very delicate, like parchment. Be sure to defrost the pastry according to the package directions. I usually just let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Frozen Spinach: Frozen spinach works best for this recipe. All you need to do is thaw it in the refrigerator overnight, or zap it in the microwave until it’s softens. squeeze as much of the water from the spinach as you can before adding it to the filling mixture.
- Olive oil: Is used to cook the filling in.
- Onions + Scallions: We’re using both white onions and chopped scallions in this recipe. The onions and scallions give the filling an amazing flavor.
- Garlic cloves: We’ll flavor the filling with some garlic as well.
- Spices: just a dash of ground nutmeg and some red pepper flakes work well with the other ingredients. Nutmeg makes it smell amazing and the pepper flakes add just the tiniest bit of heat.
- Eggs: Are used in two different ways The first is as a binder for the filling. The remaining egg is used for an egg wash on the outside of the puff pastry.
- Lemon: We’ll use a tablespon of lemon juice and the zest of one lemon to help add a bit of freshness and acid to the filling.
- Herbs: I use both fresh parsley and fresh dill for the filling. I love the flavor of dill with spinach. I always like to add some to my palak paneer as well! If you aren’t a fan of dill, feel free to up the amount of parsley a bit.
- Cheeses: You’ll need both fresh crumbled feta and parmesan cheese. I usually buy parmesan cheese in bulk and keep it in my freezer. If you have a high powered blender, it takes seconds to pulse up some parmesan! I usually prefer to buy a chunk of feta that I crumbled myself. My favorite grocery store in town makes feta in store and it’s so good.
How to make spinach puffs:
- Saute the spinach. If you’re working with frozen spinach, make sure to zap it until it melts, then squeeze out all the water out of it. Then head a pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute them with a pinch of salt until softened. Add the garlic, scallions, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes. Allow the garlic to become fragrant and for the spices to bloom in the oil. Then add the spinach and saute until heated through. Season with a big pinch of salt and white pepper.
- Prep for baking. If you’re just making the filling, allow it to cool then refrigerate in an air-tight container. If you’re preparing the spinach puffs, preheat the oven and spray a muffin pan with cooking spray. Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the chopped herbs and a large egg. Make sure the filling is cool though, otherwise you run the risk of scrambling the egg!
- Cut the pastry. unfold the puff pastry sheet on a clean work surface and gently press to remove any seams. Cut each sheet of pastry into 9 pieces using a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Line the sprayed muffin tin with a puff pastry square, then divide the spinach mixture into the muffin cup. I usually use a cookie scoop that is a flat 2 tablespoons worth of filling. Bring the 4 corners of the puff pastry to the center and gently press so that it sticks. Beat the last egg in a small bowl and brush on the puff pastry.
- Bake until golden brown. Bake the puffs until they’re golden and cooked through. I usually remove them soon after they come out of the oven (about 2 minutes later or so) so that they don’t stick to the sides of the muffin tin. Let them cool on a wire rack for a few minutes before serving. If you have trouble removing them from the pan, use a small offset spatula.
FAQs about spinach cups:
- Can I use fresh baby spinach instead? Yes, you can but you’ll need close to double the amount of spinach. You’ll need to roughly chop the baby spinach, add it to the onion mixture and saute it down until almost all the water has evaporated from the spinach. This takes quite a bit of time, frozen spinach saves the headache!
- Can you prepare and freeze these for later? I suggest preparing them and baking them all the way through. Then, layer them in a freezer-safe bag with parchment paper in between layers. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in a 300ºF oven until warmed through!
- How do you suggest cutting the puff pastry so that it’s in even pieces? You’re going to laugh, but I use a ruler and a pizza cutter. I prefer a pizza cutter because it glides as opposed to a knife. And a ruler helps make sure I make straight lines!
- Can I use a different kind of seasoning? I will forever and always be obsessed with Za’atar! So when I’m looking to make these more middle eastern-inspired. I usually add in a few tablespoons of za’atar seasoning and swap the feta for grated Akawi cheese – divine!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Gruyere, Mushroom, & Caramelized Onion Bites
- Easy Addicting Crab Cake Bites
- Cranberry Brie Bites in Puff Pastry
- Firecracker Meatballs
- Southwestern Egg Rolls with Avocado Sauce
- 1 box puff pastry sheets, thawed in refrigerator
- 1 (10-ounce) bag frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup white onion, chopped
- 5 scallions, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed
- ⅛ teaspoon EACH: ground nutmeg AND red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt + white pepper
- 2 large eggs, divided
- Zest of 1 lemon + 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped
- 4 ounces feta, crumbled
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- SAUTE: Add oil to a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, season with a small pinch of salt, and cook for 5-7 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, scallions, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes; cook for 45 seconds. Then add spinach, stir to combine, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a bowl; allow it to cool to room temperature. At this point, you can use it immediately or refrigerate mixture until ready to make puffs.
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray a 12-cup standard muffin pan with cooking spray.
- MIX: Add one of the eggs to the spinach mixture, along with the lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, and dill; stir to combine. Then fold in the feta and parmesan.
- PASTRY: Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 9 squares. Line the muffin pans with the puff pastry squares. Gently press into the bottom of the pan. Divide the spinach mixture into the muffin cups (a flat 2 tablespoons each.) Bring the 4 points of the pastry together in the center and gently press. Lightly beat the remaining egg in a bowl and brush the tops of the pastry.
- BAKE: Bake puffs for 23-27 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Let cool slightly on a wire rack before serving. Use a small offset spatula to help loosen the puffs if they’re stuck around the edges.