Spinach Feta Salad with Crispy Filo Chips

A simple, incredibly delicious Spinach Feta Salad that’s only five ingredients and great for any season.

My Big Fat Greek Feta tour started with an invitation from the EU to attend a press trip hosted by the Feta PDO consortium. Feta is a cheese that I always have on hand, but admittedly, I haven’t featured it very much in recipes beyond a salad garnish here or there.

As a chef, I’m constantly learning about new ingredients and techniques, so I had to say yes to this opportunity. A trip to the Feta heartland of Thessaly and the gastronomical destination of Thessaloniki? Yes please.

It turned out to be the experience of a lifetime – and has inspired a flurry of new recipes in the Simple Bites kitchen, like today’s Spinach Feta Salad. Read on!

Discovering Feta PDO in Greece

What is Feta PDO?

Although many versions of tangy feta-like cheeses exist, the true, authentic feta is certified Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). This means it is produced in Greece (and only in Greece) using traditional methods dating back to Ancient Greece.

The European Union recognizes feta as a traditional Greek product of PDO. Producers adhere to strict regulations around the making of this incredible cheese. Now you know!

Psst. When shopping for feta, look for the round gold ‘seal’ that says ‘Protected Designation of Origin‘ on the packaging. You can see it here; that’s your stamp of excellence!

Where is Feta PDO produced?

Authentic feta is produced all over the mainland of Greece, but the heart of it is in the beautiful region of Thessaly. Here the rich flora of alfalfa, barley and wildflowers all contribute to the unique flavour of the feta. The locals say the feta is best in summer, when the sheep are grazing on flowers in bloom.

Historically, feta has been made here since Ancient Greece, dating back to 8th century BC. There’s even a mention of feta in Homer’s Odyssey. I can so relate to waxing poetic over feta.

What makes Feta…Feta?

We toured multiple factories, from the family-run Greek Family Farm, to the high-tech Olympus. I won’t go into all the details but it’s important to note that Feta PDO uses only sheep and goats milk, with up to 30% goat milk. Cows milk feta is not a true feta.

So in short: feta is a soft, white cheese, produced in Greece under strict PDO regulations, made from sheeps milk, and matured in brine for at least 2 months and up to 6 months.

Now you’re eating authentic feta!

How does Feta PDO taste?

We tasted authentic Feta PDO all over Greece, from Volos to Thessaloniki. Our final day culminated in an exclusive tasting of seven cheeses from artisanal PDO feta producers. WOW! Talk about mind-blowing.

So the milk used, the season, the maturation date – these are all factors that affect the taste of feta. It should be creamy and tangy, with just a hint of ‘funk’.

I like it barrel-aged, with strong flavour and a dry crumb. I grew up with goats and eating goat cheese, and it was incredible how some feta awakened taste memories from over 30 years ago.

Spinach Feta Salad with Crispy Filo Chips

This salad is an example of how five ingredients can come together for the perfect dish. I had a version of this salad on my first night in Greece and was struck by how simple it was: just greens, feta, dill, green onion and a stack of very addicting crispy filo crisps.

A basic vinaigrette tied it together (although it could have been just a drizzle of olive oil). I was determined to recreate the Spinach Feta Salad for you.

If you love Spanakopita – then I know you’ll enjoy this salad. They share the same flavour profile.

This is definitely an any-season salad, as the ingredients are easy to find. However, I know I will be jazzing mine up with seasonal ingredients throughout the year.

We recently enjoyed the Spinach Feta Salad with sliced strawberries and toasted walnuts – a classic combination! A handful of blueberries would be delicious too, as would sliced pear in the fall.

Spinach Feta Salad with Crispy Filo Chips

A simple, incredibly delicious Spinach Feta Salad that's great for any season. Just five ingredients – greens, feta, dill, green onion and Crispy Filo Chips – plus a vinaigrette, and you have your new go-to salad! All the flavours of Spanakopita, but in salad form.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salads
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Vegetarian
Essential Ingredient: Feta
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 6 cups baby spinach
  • 2 cups crunchy lettuce Romaine hearts or Iceberg
  • 3 green onions
  • 1/2 cup crumbled Feta PDO
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill or to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons Garlic Herb Vinaigrette or vinaigrette of your choosing
  • 1 batch Crispy Filo Chips recipe below

Instructions

  • In a large salad bowl, layer half of the following ingredients: spinach, lettuce, green onions, feta and dill. Drizzle lightly with Garlic Herb Vinaigrette.
  • Repeat the layering of the salad: spinach, lettuce, green onions, feta and dill. Finish with another drizzle of vinaigrette.
  • Top salad with Crispy Feta Chips and serve immediately.

Notes

I like a combination of tender baby spinach and crunchy Romaine hearts, but use any and all greens you have on hand.

Crispy Filo Chips

These simple chips are great for a soup or salad garnish, or even a light snack with Tzatziki.

You all know I love a zero waste kitchen tip! I enjoyed these olive-oil brushed crispy fill chips as a salad topper when in Greece and thought – GENIUS! What a great way to use up those leftover few sheets of filo pastry.

They are so easy to make, and stay fresh in the freezer (yes!) until you want to crumble them on chilled soup or today’s Spinach Feta Salad.

Crispy Filo Chips

A simple and delicious garnish for soups or salads. A great way to use up leftover filo dough.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: Vegetarian
Essential Ingredient: Filo
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes
Servings: 2 people

Ingredients

  • 3 sheets Filo pastry
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • pinch fine sea salt optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place a single sheet of filo on the baking sheet. Brush with one teaspoon of olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Add a dash of additional seasoning here if you wish (see Notes).
  • Bake filo for 3-4 minutes or until golden (ovens will vary). Remove and cool slightly. Break into shards with your hands. Transfer to a platter to cool completely.
  • Repeat step 2 and 3 with the remaining filo and oil. Use the filo chips as a salad topper or a garnish for soup or pasta.
  • Store any leftover filo chips in an airtight container. Will keep at room temp for 1-2 days. Or freeze for 1-2 weeks.

Notes

Feel free to sprinkle a dash of your favourite spice mix on top for a little extra flavouring. Try Dukkah, Za’atar, chili lime, or Mediterranean herbs.

Disclaimer. I was delighted to be hosted by the Feta PDO consortium, a campaign financed with aid from the European Union. All opinions are my own.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

Subscribe For Free!

Like reading this post?
Get more delivered to your email inbox.

Comments

  1. 5 stars
    a great use of filo! even worth using not as leftovers but just on purpose, anything besides a crouton in my salads is welcome these days so thank you

  2. This looks so crispy and crunchy. I would love to make this at home for my children.

Speak Your Mind

Recipe Rating




*

Quantcast