Feb 7, 2009

Heart Shaped Spanakopita for Veggie Love

This recipe was created for the Veggie Love Challenge from Susan V's blog, Fat Free Vegan. It's a large flakey pastry, encasing a rich combination of veggies, using spinach, cashews, cauliflower, onions, and hearts of palm. Ok, now first, I must post a WARNING: this recipe is NOT for those lacking patience, nor is it for those who had scarring childhood experiences with paper mache. After a few failed attempts at weaving the phyllo dough, I gave up and decided to use my clever little silicone hearts.

Now, I must say that I always loathed Valentine's Day, simply because I felt somewhat excluded when I was single, and because it seemed like such a commercial holiday with all those icky neon pink and red hearts everywhere... doily anyone? But when I think of it as a holiday that celebrates love in all its forms, it takes on a much more acceptable quality- love for my family and friends, love for my pets, love for my health, my shoes, toaster, and all that I take for granted every day... and of course, love for vegetables! And come on, the certified vegan symbol is a heart with a "v" in it. Gotta love that!


1/2 C. raw cashews
1/2 C. cooked cauliflower
1 C. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and pressed until very dry
1/2 C. hearts of palm (or artichoke hearts), chopped
1/2 C. grilled onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 package of frozen phyllo dough, thawed in the refrigerator

Tools needed:

-pastry brush
-cooking spray (like Pam)
-kitchen scissors
-baking sheet
-dampened kitchen towel


First, prepare the filling by processing the cashews until grainy, then adding the cooked cauliflower (I did this in the microwave for about 3 minutes) and garlic, and pulse until combined. Add salt to season, then transfer to a bowl and mix in the spinach, grilled onions, and hearts of palm.

If you've never worked with phyllo dough, there's two things to remember: keep it from drying out, and work quickly! When these thin sheets are exposed to air for a small length of time, they become very brittle.

Spray your silicone hearts with oil (I use the spray because it's quicker than constantly dipping a brush and brushing it on). Make sure you get the sides too. Next, roll out your phyllo sheets onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. When you're not messing with the dough, keep it covered with your damp towel.

Gather a bunch of the sheets together and cut 1/2 inch strips- fairly long, about 12 inches or so.
Arrange strips in a radial pattern from the center of the heart. After laying a few strips, spray a shot of oil to the center and the rims to keep them soft. Continue to place strips until the rim is completely covered.

Next, fold a few phyllo sheets and cut out hearts that will fit in the silicon mold. Layer these hearts in the bottom, spraying oil between layers, and pressing into the corners gently with your brush.

Spoon some filling into the form, spreading evenly. Then, lift up the leftover sides (as shown), and fold it over towards the top center. Brush oil onto the tops.
Fold over the excess strips towards the center of the tops, spray with oil, then layer a few more layers of phyllo hearts in the same way as before.

Remove from molds by turning the molds upside down onto the baking sheet, and bake them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden. Then, broil on low for about 2 minutes or until golden on top. I attached a "V" to one of them by placing a few layers of small strips, brushing on oil between layers. You could use this method to attach someone's initials if you're ambitious!

Serve warm.

Note: you could make quite a few of these hearts, but I stopped at two because of I was getting tired!


  1. These look delicious, filled with lots of flavors I love. I'll have to give them a try. Thanks for submitting them to the contest!

  2. Those hearts look really pretty and tasty!

  3. that's so cute! i love working with filo dough. the best thing about it is that it's vegan!! i came up with an awesome vegan version of a spinach-feta filling that my mom used to make!

  4. That filo covering looks so amazing, and that filling with cashews, palm hearts and spinach-- all I can say is, divine.

  5. Love, love, LOVE that you incorporated the vegan symbol... so creative! :-D

  6. These look super scrummy and perfect for spreading some love!
    Good luck.

  7. i absolutely love this! I may just whip it up for my valentine this weekend...

  8. Wow - these sounds so very rich and tasty. I'm bookmarking these for later!