A new lunch box staple – Spinach, Ricotta & Sunflower Seed Savoury Rolls

We have an abundance of kale and spinach in our vegie patch at the moment and I am sneaking it into every meal possible! A friend was telling me about an easy spinach and ricotta pie she makes (thanks Jess!) and I needed to make some more savoury lunch box snacks so I created these … Spinach, Ricotta & Sunflower Seed Savoury Rolls. They are a nice alternative to my Vegetable and Lentil Savoury Rolls (Vegetable and Lentil Savoury Rolls … a great lunch box staple!)  and Andy and Abi have both given them the big thumbs up!

Kale, kale, kale – I highly recommend it as a high-yielding and hardy crop!

Nutritionally, I feel happy with the main ingredients in these tasty morsels …

Spinach/kale – Spinach is high in insoluble fibre which is very important for our digestive system. It also provides our body with vitamins A,  C, and K1 (essential for blood clotting), folic acid, iron and calcium. Kale has similar nutritional benefits to spinach – the major difference seems to be that kale is a better source of Vitamin C & K. Chinese Medicine views spinach as a ‘cooling’ vegetable.

Ricotta Cheese – Ricotta is a good source of carbs, protein and calcium. It also provides our bodies with phosphorous, riboflavin, vitamin A, zinc and B12. Its’ fat and cholesterol content means that it isn’t something we include in our diet daily, but as always, I take an ‘everything in moderation’ approach.

Sunflower Seeds – Sunflower seeds are jam-packed with goodness! They are good source of protein, vitamin E, B complex vitamins, phytosterols (which help to support healthy cholesterol levels), calcium, iron, manganese, zinc, magnesium and selenium. Chinese Medicine views sunflower seeds as nourishing our yin and having a moistening effect.


These rolls contain only a handful of ingredients and are pretty simple to make. Because I used fresh spinach/kale I pre-wilted it and squeezed the excess moisture from it. You could also use frozen spinach. I think I probably used the equivalent of 1 ½ large bunches of fresh spinach (once I had chopped and wilted the leaves and squeezed out the excess moisture it amounted to about 2 cups).

Other than wilting the kale/spinach, the only other ingredient I precooked was the onion and garlic. You could probably skip this step and just use raw onion, but I love the caramelised sweetness that cooked onion provides.

Once the onion is cooked I simply mixed all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Once this was done I assembled my savoury rolls. I used the same technique as with my vegetable and lentil savoury roll recipe: cutting the pastry sheet in half, placing the mixture in the middle of the pastry and making a long roll shape by folding both sides onto each other and rolling them over (so the join is on the bottom). I then cut each long roll into 5 pieces.

Once I had assembled and cut all the rolls Abi brushed them all with a little milk.


I  baked them in the oven for approximately 35 minutes at 190 degrees (this time may differ depending upon your oven) until they were golden brown.

They are great eaten as a meal with salad. I placed the leftovers in the freezer and will use as lunch box meals.



Spinach, Ricotta & Sunflower Seed Savoury Rolls


  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups wilted kale/spinach (with excess moisture squeezed out), approximately 200 grams
  • 500 grams ricotta cheese
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 eggs
  • 40 grams parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • Shortcrust pastry (I used approximately 3.5 sheets)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil, for cooking
  • Milk, for brushing


  1. If using fresh spinach/kale – cut, wilt (by placing in a saucepan with a little boiling water with lid on for 1-2 minutes) and squeeze out excess moisture
  2. Saute onion and garlic in a little oil until golden
  3. Mix onion, spinach/kale and remaining ingredients in bowl.
  4. Assembly savoury rolls:
    • Cut pastry sheet in half.
    • Place mixture in middle of pastry halves.
    • Fold both sides onto each other and roll over so folded sides are on bottom.
    • Cut each roll into 5 pieces. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
    • Brush rolls with milk.
  5. Bake in 190 degree oven 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

Enjoy xx


Author: essenceandacupuncture

Hey my name is Clare and I’m an Acupuncturist and Mum. I started this blog because I wanted to share some ideas about health, food, the home, and ‘home-made’ that have worked for my family. I believe in taking a balanced and practical approach to health and life and think there are simple things we can all do to improve our health and well being, and that of our children.

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