Holiday Appetizer

December 11, 2014

The holidays are here and for me, that means two things; food and family. As I’m sure is the case for many others, I’ve developed my personal favorites over the years including Swedish korv, Dutch almond ring, and my Aunt Sue. These holiday foods are a tradition for my family and always make an appearance during at least one of our get-togethers.

I don’t have much experience hosting these gatherings, but having never missed a Christmas in my hometown, I have had plenty of opportunities to witness the amount of time devoted to perfecting each one. While we wait for the main, more complicated dishes, we always have appetizers on hand to keep those children, siblings, cousins, in-laws, and friends satisfied, that most importantly, can be made ahead.

Executive Chef Polly Sang has shared her favorite holiday appetizer that can be prepared ahead of time, frozen, and baked when needed.

Chef Polly Sang’s Spinach and Feta Roll-Ups

Spanakopita filling rolled into puff pastry and baked in little slices

Serves 20 as hors d’oeuvres



  • Puff Pastry Dough Sheet – 1 ea
  • Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Diced Onions, Fresh, 1/8″ – 2 oz
  • Mushrooms, Fresh, Chopped – 2 oz
  • Minced Garlic Cloves, Fresh – 2 tsp
  • Crushed Red Pepper – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Cumin – 1/4 tsp
  • Kosher Salt – 1/8 tsp
  • Chopped Spinach, Frozen, Chopped – 10 oz
  • Feta Cheese, Crumbled – 3 oz
  • Cream Cheese, Softened – 5 oz


Defrost puff pastry in the refrigerator 2 -3 hours or overnight. When working with puff pastry, if it gets too soft, return to refrigerator or freezer to chill the dough. Cut the puff pastry into 4 rectangles. Meanwhile, sauté the onions in olive oil and add the mushrooms and garlic. Season with cumin, crushed red peppers, and salt. Place in a bowl and cool. Squeeze as much water as possible out of the thawed spinach and add to mushroom mixture; add the feta and cream cheese. Mix to combine well.

Place puff pastry onto a dry clean work surface and gently stretch the dough to make a bit thinner and larger without tearing. Spread 1/2 cup of filling evenly over the dough, leave a 1 inch border on one side without filling. With the no-filling border away from you, gently and as tightly as possible, roll up the dough to create a pinwheel effect with the filling. End with the no-filling border and pinch gently to seal the roll. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Place rolls on paper lined sheet pan and return to freezer to chill and firm up. Once firm, slice rolls into 1/4-inch wheels and place on sheet pan. Do not slice if the roll is not firm enough to hold its shape during the slicing; return to freezer and chill. Bake slices in a preheated 425F degree oven until golden brown, about 10 – 15 minutes. Rotate pan half way through cooking to ensure even cooking.

Chef Polly Sang is an R&D Chef with Compass Group USA’s Business Excellence team.

– By Jonathan Squibb, Communications, Engagement & Recognition Specialist, Compass Group USA