There are some recipes that are firm favourites with the kids in my kitchen garden cooking classes, and this is one of them. These little filo pastry rolls tick all the boxes when I’m choosing what to make with them: they’re simple enough for the kids to make but still tricky enough to keep them happily engaged, they are filled with green goodness from the garden and, most importantly, the kids love to eat them. Give them enough dishes like this to try, and before you know it they will be telling you they love spinach! It’s a delight to watch how carefully the kids handle the delicate filo pastry, the concentration given to master the folding and rolling and how proud they are of their efforts at the end.
Of course there are never any leftovers at when we make them school, but at home, they make a great lunch box addition too.
Spinach & Ricotta Rolls (makes 20)
- 1 small bunch spinach (silverbeet or rainbow chard will do just as well)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 brown onion, finely diced
- 3 small garlic cloves, crushed
- 250 g fresh ricotta
- 150 g feta, crumbled
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 10 sheets filo pastry, cut in half to make 20 long rectangular sheets
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.
Heat a little of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring until soft. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for a further 30 seconds or so.
Wash the spinach and cut down both sides of the stems. Discard stems. Finely chop the leaves and add to the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until the spinach has wilted.
Meanwhile, place the ricotta, feta, nutmeg and pepper into a bowl and mix together. Add the spinach mixture, discarding any liquid that may be left in the bottom of the pan, and stir to combine.
Unwrap the pastry and place on a clean work surface. Cover with a clean, dry tea towel, followed by a damp tea towel, to keep pastry from drying out. Take one sheet of pastry and lay it down with the shortest side closest to you. Brush the sheet with olive oil.
Spread a tablespoonful of the mixture evenly along the narrow end of the pastry, about a centimeter from the edge. Fold the end of the pastry over the mixture, then fold the long edges in about a centimeter and roll up gently. Place seam side down on the tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling.
When all the rolls are done, give them a light brush with olive oil then pop them into the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.