This vegan spinach pie is easy to put together with a few simple ingredients. It’s super healthy and packed with nutrients. It’s tasty served hot or cold!
What is spinach pie?
Spinach pie is a savoury pie with a filling of cooked spinach encased in a pastry crust.
If you google spinach pie, you’ll most likely be directed towards recipes for spanakopita.
Spanakopita is a Greek recipe featuring a spinach and feta cheese filling encased in a phyllo pastry crust.
However, spanakopita is not the only way to make a spinach pie!
The recipe I have created here is an adaptation of an Argentinian pie called tarta pascualina, which itself is of Italian origin.
Usually pascualina is made with Swiss chard, but it can also be made with spinach or a combination of both.
The difference between spanakopita and pascualina is that pascualina uses a shortcrust pastry instead of filo, and ricotta or bechamel instead of feta. It’s also common to include whole hard-boiled eggs.
Is spinach pie vegan?
Most recipes for spinach pie are not vegan because they call for some type of cheese (usually ricotta or feta) and eggs as a binder.
My recipe for spinach pie is vegan because I have created a cheesy sauce from cashews and vegan cream cheese.
A specific binder ingredient to replace the eggs is not necessary. The filling holds itself together well.
Ingredients you’ll need
The beauty of this recipe is its short list of ingredients. Since phyllo dough can be delicate to work with, this vegan spinach pie recipe with its store-bought shortcrust pastry is much easier to make than spanakopita!
Spinach: Okay, so you need A LOT of spinach. This recipe is great if you grow spinach in your garden and don’t know what to do with it all! You can also use store-bought spinach. No need to use baby spinach, the mature spinach that comes in bundles or chopped in bags is fine and cheaper than baby spinach. You can also use frozen spinach but I have not tried it so I don’t know how much you’ll need.
Olive oil: For frying the onion, garlic and spinach.
Onion and garlic: The flavour base for the vegan spinach pie filling.
Cashews: To create a creamy cheese sauce we start with cashews. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, it’s recommended to soak your cashews for several hours or overnight so that they blend up creamier.
Vegan cream cheese: This helps add more creaminess to the cheese sauce and, depending on the brand you use, also imparts a nice cheesy flavour. I use the one from Lidl.
Lemon juice: We’re trying to recreate a vegan ricotta so a little bit of sourness is needed. Also, the vitamin C helps your body to absorb the iron from the spinach.
Shortcrust pastry: Be sure to read the ingredients to make sure that it’s not made with butter. You’ll need to round pie crusts that fit your pie plate, one for the top and one for the bottom.
Salt and pepper: To season the filling.
How to make vegan spinach pie
This vegan spinach pie is simple to make but it does take a little bit of time for the best results.
Prep the ingredients: If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you’ll have to soak your cashews before beginning.
Place them in a bowl of water for several hours or overnight. If you’re short on time, you can boil some water and allow them to soak at least 15 minutes.
Finely chop your onion and garlic.
Sauté the onion and garlic: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and fry until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so.
While the onion is frying you can prep the spinach. If your spinach is not already chopped, you can start chopping handfuls of it.
This is a lot of spinach so it’ll take some time to chop it all but you can start cooking it before you’ve finished chopping all of it.
Add the spinach: When the onion and garlic are soft, start tossing handfuls of chopped spinach into the pot.
The spinach will wilt and cook down. Keep chopping more spinach and tossing it into the pot until all the spinach is cooked down and wilted. Season the spinach with salt and pepper.
If you notice a lot of water on the bottom of the pot, try to make space for the water to evaporate as much as possible.
Cool the filling: Once the spinach is tender, transfer the contents of the pot to a strainer set over a bowl.
You want the spinach to drain out as much water as possible and cool completely to room temperature.
This will prevent your pie crust from getting soggy when you put the filling in.
Make the cheese sauce: While the spinach is cooling, add the cashews, vegan cream cheese, lemon juice and salt to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth a creamy.
Prepare the pie: Preheat your oven to the temperature recommended on your pie crust package.
Once the spinach is completely cooled and drained, transfer it to a clean bowl along with the cheese sauce and stir together to combine.
Line a pie plate with one pie crust and spoon the spinach mixture into it, smoothing it down with the back of your spoon.
Top with the second pie crust and pinch the edges closed. Cut a couple of vents in the top for steam to escape.
Bake: Bake in your preheated oven for the length of time instructed on your pie crust package.
Let cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
Substitutions and variations
Swiss chard: As I mentioned previously in this post, this vegan tarta pascualina is usually made with Swiss chard instead of spinach. Since Swiss chard doesn’t cook down as much as spinach, you’ll probably need slightly less. I haven’t made it with chard yet so I don’t have an exact measurement for you. You can also make this vegan spinach pie with a combination of chard and spinach.
Frozen spinach: You can use frozen spinach instead of fresh. Be sure to thaw it completely and drain it very well, squeezing out as much water as possible in order to avoid a soggy pie crust. Again, I have not made this with frozen spinach yet so I don’t have an exact measurement for you.
Cheese: Use vegan feta or tofu feta in you’re going for more of a spanakopita vibe.
Herbs and spices: Feel free to add your favourite herbs and spices like basil, parsley or dill to the spinach filling.
Leafy greens are very healthy for you and most people don’t eat enough of them. Spinach pie is a great way to get a good amount of leafy greens. It is high in fiber, Vitamins A, C, K, iron, folate, and potassium.
Store-bought pie crust is not the healthiest thing out there. You can make your own pie crust from scratch if you prefer or swap the shortcrust for puff pastry or phyllo dough.
Spinach has a lot of water in it so it’s important to remove as much as possible to prevent your pastry from going soggy. That’s why this recipe calls for frying the spinach instead of boiling or steaming it, which would add more water to it. Allowing the spinach to drain and cool completely will also remove a lot of moisture.
Yes, this spinach pie is delicious eaten cold.
Make ahead and storage tips
Can spinach pie be made ahead of time?: Once the pie is assembled it’s better to bake it as soon as possible to avoid a soggy bottom.
How long does spinach pie last in the fridge?: Leftover spinach pie can be covered tightly and refrigerated for 2 - 3 days. The pastry will get softer, though so it’s best enjoyed fresh-baked.
Can spinach pie be frozen? Yes, you can tightly cover the pie and freeze it for up to two months.
How to reheat spinach pie: If frozen, place the frozen pie directly into a hot oven - no need to thaw it first.
Refrigerated spinach pie can also be reheated in the oven or in the microwave, although microwave reheating makes the crust a bit soft and less crispy.
How to serve vegan spinach pie
This spinach pie is a great vegan main dish that can be served with a variety of sides.
Try a fresh green salad, steamed or roasted vegetables of your choice, a hearty soup, or crusty bread.
Love spinach? Try these spinach recipes:
Vegan Spinach Pie
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 pounds (900 grams) fresh spinach (mature spinach is fine, no need to use baby spinach)
- 1 cup (145 grams) raw cashews, soaked
- 6 tablespoons vegan cream cheese
- ¼ cup (60 ml) water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt divided
- Pepper to taste
- 2 vegan shortcrust pie crusts
- Heat the oil in a very large pot over medium heat. Fry the onion until translucent - about 5 minutes, stirring regularly, then add the garlic and fry for another minute or until fragrant.
- As the onion is frying, start roughly chopping the spinach. When the onion and garlic is fried, start tossing handfuls of chopped spinach into the pot. Keep chopping and tossing in handfuls of spinach until it is all wilted and cooked down.
- If there is a lot of water in the bottom of the pot, push the spinach to one side of the pot to allow the water to evaporate out.
- Add ½ teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the cooked spinach.
- Transfer the spinach to a colander set over a bowl and allow to drain as much moisture out as possible and cool to room temperature. This is important to make sure that your pie doesn’t get a soggy bottom.
- While the spinach is draining, combine the soaked cashews, vegan cream cheese, water, lemon juice and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt in a small food processor or blender and blend until creamy.
- When the spinach is completely cool, preheat the oven to the temperature indicated on your pie pastry package.
- Transfer the spinach to a bowl and combine it with the cashew cheese mixture. Mix well.
- Line a pie plate with one pie crust. Fill with the spinach filling and smooth it down with the back of your spoon. Top with the second pie crust and crimp the edges closed. Cut slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape.
- Bake for the time indicated on your pie pastry package.
- Allow to cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.