Spinach & Kale Polenta Pie

Believe it or not, I used to order spinach pie (spanakopita) for breakfast when I was a kid.  I wasn't crazy about eggs and breakfast meat, and I was pretty picky about my pancakes, so at some point, I just started ordering spinach pie with a chocolate milkshake.  Yes, spinach pie and a chocolate milkshake for breakfast.  I'm not sure what I was thinking.
I first made Spinach Pie at home using Ina Garten's recipe from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.  It involves layering phyllo dough with lots of butter and making a filling from frozen spinach, eggs, and a mixture of Parmesan and feta cheese.  Delicious, but not the healthiest option for dinner (or breakfast!).  After seeing Martha Rose Shulman's recipe for Greek Greens Pie with Cornmeal Crust in the NY Times last week, I was inspired to give spinach pie another try at home.

This version uses a combination of spinach, kale, and parsley with a cornmeal crust that will remind you of polenta.  The crust takes much less time to prepare than phyllo dough and adds great flavor to the pie.  This is a great dish to make when you're having people over for dinner - it takes a bit of time, but you can make it in advance and serve it at room temperature with a big Greek salad and perhaps some grilled chicken breasts.

Spinach & Kale Polenta Pie - 6-8 servings
Inspired by Ina Garten's Spinach Pie and Martha Rose Shulman's Greek Greens Pie With Cornmeal Crust

1 bunch of kale (about 1 pound), washed, with stems removed and set aside
3 cups (or more) fresh baby spinach, washed
Extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 leek, washed and chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, washed and minced
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1.5 oz. Parmesan, freshly grated
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk, soy milk, or almond milk
1.5 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
(Optional) 1 oz. Parmesan, freshly grated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spray a pie dish with cooking spray.

1.  Steam the kale and spinach.  If you have a steamer, you can use that to steam the greens, but if not, you can easily create your own steamer using a colander and pot of simmering water.  I just cover the colander with aluminum foil and put the top of the pot over it to create a seal.

Steam the kale for 5 minutes total, adding the spinach after 3 minutes.

2.  Chop the kale stems and set aside with the chopped onion and leek.
3.  Heat a medium nonstick pan over medium heat.  Add about 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the onions, leeks, and chopped kale stems to the pan, add a pinch of salt, and sauté the vegetables for about 6-8 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent. Turn the heat off and allow the mixture to cool down.  
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the parsley, pepper, nutmeg, feta, Parmesan, eggs, and another pinch of salt.  Add in the cooled vegetable mixture, and stir to combine.

5. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and water over medium high heat.  When the liquid is hot and starting to form bubbles around the edge of the pan (before it starts to boil), slowly add in the cornmeal in a stream, whisking the mixture to prevent lumps from forming. If the mixture gets too thick to continue stirring with a whisk, switch to a spatula.  

Turn the heat off when you have finished stirring in the cornmeal.  Add a pinch of salt and the optional Parmesan cheese and allow the mixture to cool.

6.  When the mixture is cool enough to handle, add about half of it to the prepared pie dish, pressing the crust out to the edges with your hands (getting your hands wet first makes this much easier).
7. Add the cooled vegetable mixture to the pie dish.
8. Add about 1/2 cup of additional water and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to the remaining polenta mixture and stir to combine.  The mixture should have the consistency of "wet sand." Spoon the polenta mixture over the top of the vegetables, spreading with a spatula or wet hands to create an even layer.
9. Bake the pie at 375 degrees for about 1 hour, until the crust is cooked through and the filling is set.  The edges will start to brown. 
Allow the pie to cool for at least 30 minutes to allow the crust to set.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.  Reheat chilled slices in the oven at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until the filling is warm.

Nutrition facts for 1 serving of pie, assuming you get 8 servings, made with 1% milk, 1.5 teaspoons of total salt (1 teaspoon in the filling, 1/2 teaspoon in the crust), and the optional Parmesan cheese in the crust.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 175 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 206%Vitamin C 138%
Calcium 31%Iron 16%


  1. I'm going to make this tonight thanks!

  2. Ok I made this last night and it was really good! Added more salt and pepper for flavour and some butter in the polenta but the rest was great thanks!