Chicken, walnuts and a cheesy spinach filling all wrapped in layers of flaky fillo dough pastry make these Chicken Spanakopita Rolls with Walnuts so irresistible and are great finger food for parties, snacks and Game Days, too.
I’m excited that today’s post is sponsored by my friends over at California Walnut Board. Walnuts are so versatile not only for snacking ideas, but in cooking and baking uses. Did you know that more than 99% of the walnuts in U.S. are grown in the fertile soils of California’s Central Valley. Internationally, California walnuts supply three-quarters of the world’s walnut trade. Pretty amazing!
Sustainability is important to the California walnut industry. The California Walnut Board has supported sustainable growing practices through its production research program for over 20 years.
There are over 4,000+ walnut growers, a large majority being family farms, many of which have been in the walnut business for several generations.
After a walnut sapling is planted, it takes five to seven years for it to grow into an adult tree suitable for harvesting. Although many varieties of walnuts are grown in California, six varieties account for over 85%: Chandler, Hartley, Howard, Tulare, Serr, and Vina.
So to add a little more goodness to a spanakopita, that wonderful, fillo dough wrapped spinach and cheese filled appetizer, I decided to add some beautiful California walnuts and shredded chicken. Besides puff pastry, using fillo dough (or Phyllo dough) is a great way to get that tender crunch appeal in appetizers, dinners and desserts.
This is not your average spanakopita filling recipe either. No, no. I use Greek yogurt and mozzarella cheese as well as the usual ingredients.
For these Chicken Spanakopita Rolls with Walnuts I also went so far as to omit brushing the fillo dough with melted butter and opted for Greek olive oil instead! Although I’m sure any olive oil will do just as good a job. 🙂
After my first recipe test I decided to add even more cheese, mozzarella cheese, to the mix for added flavor and to keep things all moist and gooey on the inside. This ended up being the version I’m sharing with you today.
Mind you, the first attempt resulted in delicious finger snack food, but I wanted it to be a little more cheesy and gooey on the insides.
Adding the mozzarella did the trick. Plus I bumped up the amount of spinach, too. Gotta sneak those veggies in where you can, right?!
By brushing the fillo dough with olive oil it assisted in less tearing and I love the end result. A beautifully flakey and rich crunch in every bite!
Alongside the chicken, spinach and cheese filling I made sure to pour on the chopped walnuts. The flavor of the walnuts was a wonderful touch and added a bit of texture to the soft filling.
What I love about these is that California-grown walnuts are not genetically modified either.
The California Walnut Board works closely with the University of California’s walnut breeding program to release new walnut varieties for planting that have been developed through conventional breeding methods.
Take a look at this video on How Walnuts are Processed. It’s pretty interesting.
Besides being delicious, most included ingredients for these Chicken Spanakopita Rolls with Walnuts are characteristics covered below in a healthy Mediterranean diet! According to the American Heart Association, the common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics:
- High consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans, nuts and seeds
- Olive oil is an important monounsaturated fat source
- Dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, and little red meat is eaten
- Eggs are consumed up to four times a week
- Wine is consumed in low to moderate amounts—up to one five-ounce glass of wine per day for women and up to two five-ounce glasses for men.
- Walnuts are a traditional component in this dietary pattern. Research has suggested that this is a heart-healthy pattern of eating.
- PREDIMED is a landmark Spanish study that has been investigating specific benefits of this eating style. Preliminary published findings have found that consuming Mediterranean ingredients, including walnuts, is linked to heart health benefits including lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and inflammatory markers.
So grab yourself some California Walnuts and give this sure to be a Game Day snacking hit a try. It’s a great finger food appetizer for any party, holiday or not!
For other holiday appetizers or Game Day treats, check out my Roast Beef Cheddar Muffins, Baked Crunchy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Bleu Cheese Drizzle and Hot Sauce, Bacon Wrapped Tots with Homemade Ranch Dressing or more on my Appetizer page. Enjoy!
Thanks again to the California Walnut Board for sponsoring today’s post. Thank you for supporting the companies that continue to make Kevin Is Cooking possible.
Chicken Spanakopita Rolls with Walnuts
- 6 oz feta cheese crumbles
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 1 cup Greek plain yogurt
- 1 egg large
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dill
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 /8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 10 oz frozen spinach thawed and drained
- 1 cup Mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup parsley chopped
- 8 oz chicken cooke and shredded
- 16 oz package Fillo dough Phyllo pastry sheets, thawed per package instructions
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 cup walnuts chopped fine
- In a bowl mix together the feta, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, egg, olive oil, dill, salt and red pepper flakes by hand or with electric beater until smooth.
- Fold in the spinach, Mozzarella cheese, parsley and shredded chicken. Set aside.
- Lay the fillo dough lengthwise facing you. Brush the top sheet with olive oil to cover lightly.
- Spoon the filling mixture the length of the fillo dough about an inch from the edge and an inch thick. Carefully pull up a sheet of the dough and roll over filling away from you. Carefully pick up the roll and bring back to the long side closest to you and roll another sheet or two again.
- Lift and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone matt. Repeat to make 8 to 12 depending on how thick you want these. Brush with remaining olive oil and bake at 325°F for 24 minutes or until golden brown and flakey. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before cutting each roll into thirds. Serve immediately.