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Chinese Violet Spanakopita


Crispy, flaky, buttery phyllo dough always seems to be a crowd pleaser. These are special occasion feast food at my house, due to the time they take to make, but always so loved and appreciated. The mild flavor of Chinese violet greens (Asystasia gangetica) are a great base for these, but you could also mix in more strongly flavored wild greens like Spanish needles (Bidens pilosa), bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa), or gotu kola (Centella asiatica). You will need a food paintbrush on hand to brush on the butter, or you can use a paper towel in a pinch.



8 cups washed, loosely packed greens

4 oz feta cheese

1 tablespoon powdered garlic

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted

12 (13×18″) phyllo sheets, cut in half



Put washed greens into a boiling pot of water for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and immediately drain liquid.


Once greens have cooled, squeeze out any remaining liquid.


In a small bowl mix the feta, powdered garlic, and black pepper evenly.


Melt butter in a small pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or whatever temperature indicated on the package of your phyllo dough.


Phyllo dough comes in various sizes, but most grocery stores carry 13×18″ sheets, which can be cut in half. The phyllo dough in this photo has some cracking on the edges, probably from being frozen and thawed twice, but no worries it still tasted great and I wasn’t worried about it looking perfect. Start at the top of your strip of phyllo and put a dollop of greens and the feta mixture in the corner, roughly 2-3 tablespoons. You will then fold over in a triangle, brush on some butter, fold over again, brush on some butter, and repeat. Basically you don’t want two pieces of dry phyllo dough touching each other, there should be butter between each layer. Make sure to also butter the entire outside before placing on your baking tray.


Place each wild greens phyllo pie at least 2 inches apart on baking tray. Bake until golden brown.

Alternatively, you don’t have to individually wrap the pies into triangle shapes. You could also take a 2-4″ baking dish and put phyllo sheets, layered with butter between each one, on the bottom. Then spread your wild greens and feta evenly, and add several more layers of phyllo dough on top (with butter between each layer!). Bake and cut into squares of wedges, as shown in the photo below.


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