If you are not sure what to serve or bring on New Year’s Eve or any party or potluck for appetizers, this recipe is a crowd pleaser!
Vegan Phyllo pastry holiday wraps are perfect NYE party appetizers to feed a crowd
Try these phyllo pockets for a perfect holiday party food appetizer for a New Years Eve party appie or Christmas party or simply a share food for any party or potluck! And these phyllo packets are a relatively healthy holiday party roll or wrap! And since they are handheld they are great finger foods and nibblers for a casual party. This spanakopita is not only dairy free, vegan and vegetarian, but also tofu free without any “tofu feta” as most vegan spanakopita and its soy free.
When making the Salmon Spinach spanakopita from the Fraiche Food Full Hearts cookbook by Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer, I was inspired to do my own vegan dairy-free Spanakopita phyllo pastry filled with antipasto (you can also make these phyllo wraps with ratatouille as shown below, so if you wanted a new way to use ratatouille or antipasto in a recipe here it is!)
And these flaky phyllo packets were so delicious you won’t even miss the feta in spanakopita and they are a great change up from the traditional spinach feta pie, so give them a try! Though of course if you can have dairy you can top the antipasto with crumbled feta or goat cheese if you like and serve with tzatiki as dip! Check out the Fraiche Food Full Hearts cookbook for homemade tzatziki and a hearty salmon spinach, herb & feta spanakopita variation which I also made and loved as depicted in the picture next to my antipasto phyllo pastries (I don’t have so many mouths to feed so I couldn’t make mine all with salmon as per the recipe and once you thaw phyllo its best to use it all, hence my delish take on it! It requires only 3 ingredients (but jarred antipasto conatins several veggies so its secretly veggie loaded!)
I’ll admit working with phyllo takes a bit of time, but the antipasto filling is easy, and they bake quickly, and are sure worth it for an impressive vegan spanakopita share plate be it at a potluck or special occasion like over the holidays or even New Years.
And hey, if I can make Spanakopita you can too!
One package frozen Phyllo, thawed overnight in the fridge
2 x 375 ml jars of antipasto (such as garden, Mediterranean or roasted red pepper antipasto, I recommend Dalla Terra for best taste, found at Whole Foods or some Persian markets for the same price as the Safeway kind, only much tastier for this recipe), OR sub homemade ratatouille (go light on the tomatoes and evaporate/drain all the liquid before stuffing the pastry to prevent sogginesss)
Olive oil, lots for brushing (prepare it in a small bowl with a pastry brush handy)
Optional variations for a hearty dinner with phyllo: add crumbled goat cheese or feta and/or sautéed or grilled chicken thigh or breast (as cubes or shredded chicken).
A few tips before taking out your phyllo:
Phyllo is flakey so it needs to be worked with quite quickly so have a slightly damp clean kitchen cloth ready to cover it with before and between uses. Organize yourself ahead kind of like for an Easter painting job, but without the newspaper! It’s best to prep everything ahead, your generous oil in a small bowl along with pastry brush, a large work surface or if you don’t have a big counter then use a large wooden board or an extra sheet pan on the dining table. Plus a large lightly oiled sheet pan to transfer the spanakopita phyllo wraps to. Also of course predraining the antipasto slightly in a sieve and having it in a bowl beside you is helpful.
Read the recipe ahead of time if you have never used phyllo.
(These may seem like no brainers but they will help your first phyllo experience! Also I have a tiny closet sized kitchen and only a half sheet pan, so I had to get organized and prepped my small dining table ahead with an extra large wooden cutting board (or another large surface) that i placed some extra long plastic wrap on and then the phyllo on top of so the phyllo wouldnt overhang and break, plus a well-oiled full sized sheet pan ready beside you to put the ready phyllo pockets on.
Another tip: I first tried to use old spelt phyllo that had been left at the back of the freezer too many months and got crushed, so if its totally falling apart, its not you- its the phyllo. I had to restart with regular new phyllo for my next batch and it was much easier! But yes it is flakey so don’t fret if little pieces flake, because it will be layered and the layers will cover other flaked layers and it will work out nicely in the end despite its imperfection. The flakiness of phyllo is whats delicious!
Place a sieve over a bowl and place the antipasto in it to drain some of the moisture for a few minutes. (This is not highly critical if you use an extra layer of phyllo, but it helps prevent sogginess.)
grease a full sized sheet pan well and prepare it beside your work surface. place plastic wrap on the large cutting board or large work surface, with enough over the side to cover the phyllo if need be if you step away for a second, so it wont dry out. place a bowl with lots of oil nearby it with a pastry brush ready.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Gently unwrap the phyllo on the large work surface or large cutting board, keeping it on its paper, with the long side towards you, rolling out the sheets on top of each other. Cover with the damp (not wet) cloth to keep it from drying out until ready to use. Gently take one sheet out and place on a large work surface in front of you. Cover the rest in the damp towel again. Start brushing the one layer with oil. Then uncover and gently lift another layer and place as evenly as possible on top of first layer (don’t fret if its not perfect). Brush that layer in oil. Repeat with next layers.
Make 4 layers of Phyllo per spanakopita since antipasto is a bit moist and you don’t want it to get soggy and have the filling go through.
Once you have 4 layers, cut the phyllo in half in both directions so you have quarter sections. Spoon in the antipasto into the middle of one half, leaving room on the sides for folding. Don’t overfill as the filling is moist so it will hold up better as small phyllo square envelopes with enough pastry wrapped well all around, rather than big long rectangular spanakopita pies, I’ve learned. Gently fold pastry like a little parcel to seal in the filling. Oil the top and sides of your phyllo packet to ensure it all gets evenly golden.
Transfer to oiled sheet pan and repeat with the other half, making another nice envelope (alternatively you can roll the end to seal it like you would a lunch paper bag). Place seam side down on oiled sheet pan.
Repeat with next phyllo sheets, oiling each sheet, sticking one sheet on top of another to make 4 layers, dividing them in half and filling with antipasto, then wrapping and brushing the envelope with oil.
Bake for about 11-15 minutes or until golden.
Phyllo triangle shape variation (for those well-acquainted with phyllo, since they take more time, craft and practice to make, and I usually prefer the faster method above because I get too hangry to play arts and crafts with dinner!)
brush oil on a phyllo sheet. keep rest of phyllo under damp towel. place another sheet on top of oiled sheet. Oil the next sheet and then it cover them with a third sheet. cut them into long 3 inch wide strips, making about 12 sets of strips. Put one set vertically in front of you. Cover the rest with the slightly moist towel.
Put 1 tablespoon of the filling in the bottom left-hand corner of the street about a quarter inch from short edge. Lift the corner over the filling to make a triangle. The bottom edge will be on the right side. Hold the triangle upwards and to the left to encase the filling. Keep folding in from side to side towards the top. Dab a bit of water on the top and fold to seal it in place. Place with the seam side down onto oiled sheet pan. Repeat with other sets of strips. Bake until golden (approx 9-14min).
Enjoy this delicious appetizer at a New Years Eve Party or holiday Potluck! And of course this is a plant-based appie that is dairy free and vegan so everyone can enjoy. This yummy phyllo pastry h’ors d’oeuvre recipe is also great year round!
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