Meatless Monday – Mushroom spanakopita pie

This hearty meal will satisfy your family’s hunger! A Greek-inspired pie bursting with flavour and nutritious mushrooms, it is a hit with vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Serves 8-10 

You’ll need: 200g leeks, sliced; 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced; 400g Swiss chard, roughly chopped; ± 1 packed cup mixed herbs, roughly chopped (oregano, dill, parsley, basil & mint work well); 60g Parmesan cheese, grated; zest of 1 large lemon; 3 large free-range eggs; 200g feta cheese; 400g Portabellini mushrooms, sliced; 6 sheets phyllo pastry; 1 Tbsp mixed sesame seeds; olive oil; salt and pepper, to taste; fresh dill sprigs, for serving; ± 26cm cast iron pan/ buffet casserole or baking dish 

How to:  

Heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a large cast iron pan or buffet casserole. Add the leeks and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant. Add the Swiss chard in batches and cook down until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.  

Scrape the mixture into a sieve and press out any excess moisture. Leave in the sieve while you prepare the next step. 

Place herbs, Parmesan, lemon zest and eggs into a large bowl. Mix well together. Add the strained spinach mixture and combine. 

Crumble in the feta cheese, leaving it in fairly large chunks. Mix gently.  

In the same pan previously used for the spinach, heat another drizzle of olive oil. Pan fry the sliced mushrooms until golden brown and they have released all of their moisture. Season lightly. Fold mushrooms through the spinach and feta mixture. 

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Wipe out the cast iron pan with a paper towel and brush it with a fresh drizzle of olive oil.  

Working quickly, with one phyllo sheet at a time, lay it in the pan and brush with a little olive oil. Leave the overhang on all sides. Gently press the phyllo into the pan to eliminate any large air bubbles. Repeat with the remaining phyllo sheets, rotating each sheet in a different direction as you add it, brushing with olive oil as you layer.  

Spoon in the filling and spread into an even layer. Scrunch up the overhang of phyllo around the filling. Trim it if necessary so you ​​have a circle of uncovered mushroom mixture in the centre, surrounded by a ring of phyllo.  

Brush the top of the phyllo with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for ± 35 minutes until the phyllo is deeply golden and super crispy. Remove from the oven and place the pan on a low burner. 

Cook for 5 minutes on the stovetop. (This little extra step makes sure you have a crispy base- it is not necessary but worth the extra effort)  

Rest the pie for 10 minutes before slicing it into generous wedges and serving scattered with some fresh dill.  

* Recipe & image by The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association. 

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