Triangles, burek, spanakopita, téftlonkopita (ok, I made that one up with the help of Google’s translate tool) – whatever we call them, these are some pretty popular tidbits in our house.
Recently, I read that beet greens are edible, tasty and quite nutritious. They’re actually in the same family as spinach, chard and quinoa — mmm, good company. Beet greens are high in vitamins A, C and K plus fibre and protein. I needed to find a way to incorporate these into our diet. G and I eat them steamed with olive oil and garlic, but, even though they have a mild beet taste she loves, I didn’t think Emma would embrace them with enthusiasm that way.
And then it came to me: awhile back, I posted a recipe for spanakopita which is super easy to make and delicious. Substituting beet greens for the spinach would be a great way to introduce them to Emma. Spanakopita with a hint of flavour from another favourite vegetable, beet. Not only did she love them, we all did. They’ve now become a part of our appetizer and lunch repertoire and are received with cheers each time I pull them from the oven.
Beetakopita (aka Beet Green and Feta Triangles)adapted from: our Spanakopita recipe
(makes 36 triangles)
- leaves and about 1/2 of the stems of 6 beets
- 1 1/2 cups light feta cheese, crumbled
- 10 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
- 2 spring onions, coarsely chopped
- juice and rind of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2-3 pinches of salt
- 18 16″x12″ sheets of phyllo pastry, thawed if frozen but still in its original packaging
- olive oil for brushing the pastry
To prepare the greens, wash and rinse them at least twice in a sink full of cold water. They tend to be really sandy and gritty.
Once the greens are washed, steam them in the microwave for 3-5 minutes on high. Remove them from the microwave and rinse them in cold water again. Squeeze out as much of the water as you can and then chop the greens, stems and all, coarsely and add them to a medium bowl.
Add the cheese, parsley, onions, black pepper and salt to the beet greens and combine well. Set aside.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Next, place 1 sheet of phyllo pastry with the long side nearest to you on to your work surface and brush it lightly with olive oil. Place a second sheet over top of it and brush it with oil as well. Cut the 2 stacked sheets of oiled phyllo into 4 4″x12″ rectangles.
Place a heaping tablespoonful of the beet and feta mixture in the centre of one of the rectangles, about 1/2″ from the bottom. Then take the corner of that rectangle, fold it over the beet and feta mixture to the edge on the opposite side forming a triangle. Take the point of the triangle you just created and bring it over to the other edge, forming another triangle. Continue this folding until you reach the end of the rectangle. Lightly brush the triangle with more olive oil and place it, seam side down, on to a prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rectangles and phyllo.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 20-25 minutes, switching the baking sheets halfway through, until the tops are golden. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Serve while warm.
Tips and Suggestions:
- Be slightly stingy with the olive oil when brushing the pastry. I’ve been generous with it when in a hurry and found I needed to sit the baked triangles on a paper towel before serving to remove some of the oil.
- These are great to make ahead and freeze. Rather than bake them once they are arranged on the baking sheet, place them in the freezer for 30 minutes or so. When they are firm, move them to an airtight container and back into the freezer. When you’re ready to bake them, without thawing, arrange them on to a baking sheet and bake them as described above.
- Once baked, the cold leftovers make a super school snack.
Yum! I love beet greens, have to keep this one in mind for when I start getting my CSA again this year.
They are really delicious. I hope you enjoy them! So eager to have fresh local produce again. It can’t come soon enough.