Two Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls on a plate

Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls

These Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls are crispy and golden swirls of filo pastry filled with a cheesy pesto and spinach filling. Great for parties, gatherings and picnics.

The big Jubilee weekend is coming up later this week in the UK (June 2022) and a lot of us are thinking about party food. Whether that’s for neighbours, friends and family, there will be lots of tea parties happening and these Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls are a very welcome savoury addition to your menu. They are great for preparing ahead as they taste delicious warm or cold and will impress your guests.

Close up of Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls
Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls

How delicious are these pastries?

These swirls are truly delicious, they are:

  • Golden, crispy and crunchy
  • Packed with a vibrant green pesto filling
  • Cheesy and salty
  • Easy to make in a few steps
  • Light enough for finger food
  • Special enough as a main course
  • Naturally vegan and nut-free
  • Easily gluten-free (if you can find the pastry)
  • Great to make ahead of time

If you are already convinced you need to make these pastry swirls, skip ahead to the recipe card below. First, let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

The recipe is divided into three parts: the homemade pesto; the filling and the pastry swirls.

Let’s start with the pesto:

  • Sunflower seeds: these keep the recipe nut-free although it tastes just as nutty. Roasting the seeds for 10 minutes at 160Fan/180*C beforehand adds more flavour but it is just as good without it. You could also use pumpkin seeds or swap these for pine nuts for a more traditional and nutty pesto.
  • Nutritional yeast: for the savoury cheesiness that we love about pesto. Note that regular pesto often uses parmesan so you could swap this for vegan parmesan, if you’d prefer.
  • Garlic: for flavour. Fresh is best here but if not, you can use ½ tsp garlic granules.
  • Fresh basil: always use fresh herbs for your pesto for the flavour. I am not too fussy about removing all the stalks and stems, only take care to remove the thick woody stems but the little ones are fine to add in.
  • Spinach: to add a little more green goodness. You could try this with kale, too.
  • Lemon juice: for tang and flavour.
  • Olive oil: for richness and texture. Extra virgin olive oil (or at least a good tasting olive oil) is best here for the best flavour and richness to your pesto.
  • Water: I add some water rather than more oil to keep this pesto lighter but keeping the rich flavour and smooth texture.
  • Salt and pepper: seasoning is a must.

Onto the filling for these Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls:

  • Pesto: as above. If you want to make these swirls more quickly, prep the pesto the day before oy use shop bought pesto (make sure it’s vegan and nut-free where needed).
  • Baby spinach: this recipe uses a lot of spinach, a whole bag to be precise. But all of this wilts down to about 1 cup worth of spinach. Be patient and work in batches if you only have a small pan. Don’t be tempted to add water or oil as we want to get rid of the moisture.
  • Olive oil: for frying off the onion and garlic.
  • Red onion: I prefer the taste of red onion but white or brown onion also works.
  • Garlic: for frying with the onion.
  • Vegan feta cheese: there are a few brands that do this really well. It’s salty, rich and crumbly which is perfect for the filling as it’s not too wet so won’t make the swirls too soggy.
  • Vegan cheddar cheese: grated cheddar cheese is also quite readily available in the free-from aisles so pick your favourite. Feta can be quite strong on its own, and this balances out the flavours well.

Now onto the pastry swirls:

  • Filo pastry: this is accidentally vegan for the most part, and if you need the pastries to be gluten-free then check your pastry.
  • Olive oil: for brushing over the pastry.
  • Sesame seeds: for a little texture and colour on top as these swirls bake.
  • Fresh basil: to serve I like to add a few of these on top.

How do I make these Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls?

There are a few steps involved in making these pastries but they are simple:

  • Make the pesto: blitz together all the ingredients to a smooth but chunky mix.
  • Wilt the spinach: for the filling then leave to one side for 5-10 minutes and then squeeze out all the excess liquid. You will be left with about 1 cup of spinach.
  • Fry off the onion and garlic: for the filling until soft.
  • Stir together all the filling ingredients: to a chunky, tasty mix.
  • Working one by one, lay out a sheet of filo pastry: and brush with olive oil.
  • Make a long sausage shape of filling: along the bottom longer edge of pastry.
  • Roll up the filling into a sausage: working loosely so it does not split so easily.
  • Coil the sausage shape into a swirl: and place on the baking sheet.
  • Brush with olive oil and sesame seeds: and repeat to make all 5 pastries.
  • Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and crisp: and then allow to cool slightly.
  • Enjoy warm or cold: with salads, as part of picnics and with other finger food.

How long will these keep?

These are great to make ahead to time as they keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can eat them cold or warm them back up in the oven for 10 minutes.

Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls on a metal tray
Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls

Are these nut-free and gluten-free?

Yes, these are naturally nut-free as the pesto is made from seeds. To keep these gluten-free, make sure that your filo pastry is free from gluten.

Why do my pastries split?

Filo pastry is very delicate, so it’s only natural they will tear in a few places, just work carefully and roll them loosely, and you can cover and tears with extra pastry if you like.

My pastries are unravelling in the oven, help?

To keep the pastries from unravelling, pack them more tightly on the tray, so that they are touching and as they bake they will not spread out as much.

Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls on a plate
Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls

I love these pastries, what else can I make?

I hope you are going to love making and eating these Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls and for more savoury ideas, how about my:

Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls

  • Servings: 5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

These Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls are crispy and golden swirls of filo pastry filled with a cheesy pesto and spinach filling. Great for parties, gatherings and picnics.

Ingredients

    For the Pesto:
  • 80g sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 20g fresh basil (some small stalks are OK)
  • 10g baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1-2 tbsp water, as needed
  • For the Filling:
  • 100g pesto
  • 250g baby spinach
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, small dice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 80g vegan feta cheese, crumbled
  • 40g vegan cheddar-style cheese, grated
  • For the Swirls:
  • 5 sheets of filo pastry
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • Fresh basil leaves

Directions

  1. Start by making the pesto: add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth, adding water as needed. Measure 100g for the filling and keep the rest in the fridge in a sealed container for 3-5 days.
  2. For the filling: add all the spinach to a large pan and cook over a high heat with a lid on, stirring often to wilt the leaves. They will reduce down a lot and leave you with about 1 packed cup of spinach. Leave in a sieve suspended over a bowl.
  3. Return the pan to the heat with 1 tsp olive oil and fry off the onion and garlic for 10 minutes until soft.
  4. Preheat the oven to 170Fan/190*C and line a tray with baking parchment.
  5. Squeeze out all the excess water from the spinach and roughly chop it. Add to a mixing bowl with the pesto, onion and garlic mix, both cheeses and season with salt and pepper. Stir well.
  6. Place one sheet of filo pastry on a clean work surface and gently brush with olive oil. Spoon 1/5 of the mix all along the longest edge of the pastry in a sausage shape. Gently and loosely roll up the filling into a long sausage shape. Now coil the pastry into a swirl (don’t worry if there are some tears). Place on the baking sheet and repeat to make 5 swirls.
  7. Brush the swirls with more olive oil and sprinkle over the sesame seeds.
  8. Bake for 23-25 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.
  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving with salads, potatoes and other vegetables.
  10. These can also be enjoyed cold, allow to cool fully then store in a sealed container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Two Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls on a plate
Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls

I hope you are going to love these Vegan Pesto Feta Filo Pastry Swirls so please let me know what you think in the comments below. If you do make these, please do let me know and tag me in them, I am @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With filo feta love x

p.s. the original recipe was made with Tala and their lovely baking products but this post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own.

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