Palak Paneer “Spanakopita” Rolls
Oct 18, 2023
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Phyllo dough sheet rolls filled with a paneer and spinach filling and flavored with fresh herbs and spices, these Palak Paneer “Spanakopita” Rolls are an Indian twist on the classic Greek spinach pie. I was inspired to make these rolls during a trip to Greece. These make the perfect finger food for parties and can be served as a side or an appetizer.
One of the most memorable days on my Greece trip this year was actually the day I took a cooking class in Athens. I had 3 days of solo travel in Athens while Sarvesh was in Cairo and while I did visit some of the important historical sites, I have to say that the cooking class was what I enjoyed the most. Learning how to cook authentic Greek food from a local with a bunch of other travelers was just what made my heart sing.
We made a few dishes during the class and while I loved it all, I think Spanakopita was my favorite. If you are not familiar with spanakopita, it’s basically a spinach pie with made spinach and feta cheese using phyllo pastry. During the class, we were given phyllo sheets made by a local in Athens and trust me when I say this, they were so easy to work with (unlike the store bought sheets we get in the US)!
Inspired by the Spanakopita that I made in Greece, I came up with these Palak Paneer Spanakopita Rolls. I actually thought of making these with paneer during the class only, and once I was back home, I couldn’t wait to recreate them. We made large spirals there but here I made rolls which are easier for entertaining. With the festive season around the corner, this would be great for parties and get together.
Table of contents
Why You Will Love These Rolls
- It is an easy to make recipe for holiday parties.
- The filling can be made in advance making this a great option for the festive time when we are all running short on time.
- The rolls are crispy and flaky and can go well with tomato ketchup of cilantro chutney.
- Easy to serve and eat at parties. Finger food=winner at parties!
Phyllo Sheets: I find “Athens” brand phyllo sheets at grocery stores here and so that’s what I have used in this recipe. They are in the freezer section along with puff pastry sheets etc. You can use any brand you find at your grocery store.
Paneer: Homemade paneer works great here but you can also use store-bought paneer. Make sure to place it in warm water for 20 minutes and then use in the recipe if you are using store-bought paneer.
Spinach: You can use either baby spinach or regular spinach. But you need to chop it really fine for this recipe.
Butter/Ghee: Each phyllo sheet has to be brushed with melted butter or ghee. You can use either of the two.
Seasonings & Herbs: This recipe needs fresh herbs like mint and parsley (flat leaf parsley), you may substitute with dried herbs but fresh is highly recommended. To give these rolls Indian touch, I have also used coriander powder, garam masala and some cumin seeds in the filling.
How to Make Palak Paneer Rolls
- Add 180 grams of finely chopped spinach to a large bowl. You need to chop the spinach really fine for this recipe. You can use a food processor or chop with a knife. Then add 2 tablespoons chopped mint, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and 1/2 cup of chopped white onion to it.
- Add in the 200 grams of crumbled paneer. And then add 1 teaspoon coriander powder and 1/2 teaspoon garam masala.
- Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan on medium heat and add 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds to it and let it sizzle. Then add 2 chopped garlic cloves and sauté until the garlic starts changing color. Remove the pan from heat and transfer this tempering (tadka) to the bowl along with everything else. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and some fresh black pepper. Mix until everything is combined, the filling is now ready. The moisture from the paneer helps bring everything together.
- Thaw the phyllo sheets according to the instructions on the package. You can use 2 or 3 sheets per roll. Place one sheet on your working surface and brush it with melted ghee (or butter). Place another sheet on top and brush it with melted butter as well. You can do 3 sheets for more layers.
- Using a knife or pizza cutter, divide the sheets into 3 equal parts lengthwise.
- Add the prepared filling (around 1 & 1/2 to 2 tablespoons each) to each roll at one end of the sheet.
- Gently start rolling from the side where you have placed the filling. Roll until you reach the other end. Since we applied ghee/butter the roll with seal easily. Make all rolls similarly until you have used all the filling. I was able to get 18 rolls out of his mixture. Preheat your oven to 350 F degrees.
- Arrange all the rolls in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with oil and sprinkle sesame seeds if you like. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 F degrees for around 25 minutes until they are golden brown in color and crisp.
Make Ahead Option
These Paneer Spanakopita Rolls are a great make ahead option for holiday parties. You can make the filling 1 to 2 days in advance and keep it refrigerated. Thaw the phyllo sheets and fill and bake them on the day of the party.
You can also make the entire rolls, cut, fill and shape them and then place them in the freezer in a freezer safe bag. Bake them straight from the freezer, they would need a few additional minutes of baking if you do this.
You can serve the rolls with ketchup or mint chutney or a spicy mayo. You can even serve these with a yogurt based dip like tzatziki.
Manali’s Expert Tips
- Reheat the rolls in air fryer at 300 F for 10 minutes or in the oven at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes.
- To make these rolls vegan, you can replace the crumbled paneer with crumbled tofu (extra-firm preferably) and use vegan butter in place of ghee/butter. The phyllo dough sheets that I have used in this recipe are naturally vegan.
- To present them in a fancy way, take shot glasses and add chutney at the bottom. Place the roll on top of the chutney and serve.
- Don’t forget to brush each layer with melted butter or ghee. The dough tastes kind of raw if it’s nor brushed nicely with butter.
More Paneer Fusion Recipes
I have shared many fusion recipes with paneer over the years. Here are some more that you can check out!
Palak Paneer “Spanakopita” Rolls
- 180 grams spinach 6 oz, very finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons mint finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped, I used flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 cup white onion chopped
- 200 grams paneer crumbled
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- black pepper to taste
- sesame seeds to sprinkle, optional
- 36 phyllo dough sheets or 54 if using three sheets per roll
- melted butter or ghee to brush the sheets
- Finely chop the spinach, mint and parsley. To a large bowl add the finely chopped spinach along with the herbs. Also, add the chopped onion. White onion works best here.
- Then add the crumbled paneer along with coriander powder and garam masala. You can use either homemade paneer (works better) or store-bought.
- Meanwhile heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the cumin seeds and let them sizzle. Then add the garlic and sauté until the garlic changes color. Remove from heat and transfer this tadka to the bowl with spinach and paneer. Add salt and pepper and mix everything. The filling for the rolls is ready. The moisture from the paneer helps bring everything together.
- Follow the instructions on the package and thaw the phyllo sheets. Carefully place a single sheet on your working surface and brush it with butter or ghee using a pastry brush. Place another layer and brush it again with melted butter or ghee. If you want you can put an additional third layer as well and repeat the same.
- Now, use a knife or pizza cutter and divide the stack of sheets into 3 parts lengthwise. Place the filling on one end of each part (see pictures in the post for reference). Carefully roll from the filling side and roll until you reach the other end. The roll will seal easily since the sheets have been brushed with butter. Make all rolls similarly. You would need to do this process (of layering, brushing with butter, cutting in three parts and filling) 9 times and use 36 sheets if using 2 sheets per roll or 9 times and use 54 sheets if using 3 sheets per roll to get a total of 18 rolls.
- Preheat the oven at 350 F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arranged the rolls on it. Brush with butter and sprinkle some white sesame seeds on top if you like. Bake at rolls at 350 F degrees for around 25 minutes until they are crispy and golden brown. Check from 20 minutes onwards. Serve hot!
- Don’t forget to brush each phyllo sheet with melted butter or ghee. If you don’t brush each layer, the dough can taste raw.
- The rolls can be prepared in advance and frozen. Bake them straight from the freezer and add an additional few minutes of baking time.
- To make these rolls vegan, use extra-firm tofu in place of paneer. Crumble it and use it in the recipe. And replace the butter/ghee with vegan butter.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.