Spinach borek or Turkish spinach pie with feta and phyllo pastry, one of the most irresistible vegetarian boreks.
I had actually planned to make a typical Romanian spinach pie with homemade pastry and lots of feta.
And then I saw these mouth-watering pictures of a börek and I knew I had to make that instead. It was a great fit finding the recipe at that moment, I still had one pack of phyllo pastry in the fridge, which was supposed to become a wild garlic ground beef pie. So I gave up all the good made plans and started fresh.
I’ve changed the original recipe, which was actually a leek pie and used what I had instead, that is spinach.
What is a borek?
Or byrek or burek, depending on the region.
A borek is a very popular pastry in the Balkan area and all throughout the former Ottoman Empire.
Borek is made with phyllo or yufka pastry and it can be filled with lots of things from spinach and feta like today’s recipe to ground meat or other veggies and cheeses.
It can be baked in a large baking tray and cut into squares, it can be shaped like a rolled snake and cut into smaller pieces when serving.
Or it can come in the shape of triangles or rolls like this Albanian byrek. Or other similar rolls called sigara borek. The last ones are usually deep-fried, they are incredibly crispy and utterly delicious.
- Phyllo and yufka dough comes in really different sizes, depending on the brand you are using. The sheets can be as small as a baking tray or three times as large.
- So, when using the pastry for this recipe, it is quite difficult for me to indicate a certain number of sheets you might need, they can be either 6 smaller ones or 3 very large ones.
- What you have to know is that each pastry layer has to be double. So, if the sheets are small you will be using two for each layer. If the sheets are large (like mine usually are) you will work as indicated in the recipe below.
- Place a pastry sheet on the oiled baking tray.
- Brush it with the yogurt mixture.
- Carefully tear the overhanging pieces of pastry.
- Place the torn pieces on top of the first layer, so that you obtain a second layer.
- Brush again.
- Repeat the procedure with a second pastry sheet, brush again, and fill.
- Top with two further pastry layers, brushing, tearing, and brushing again as instructed.
- When working with phyllo pastry, you should work quickly to prevent the dough from drying out too much.
- Keep the sheets you are not working with well packed in the packet they came in or cover them with a damp (not wet) kitchen towel.
- Yufka pastry is similar to phyllo, but a bit sturdier. You should also keep it well covered, but it will not dry out as fast as the phyllo.
More savory pies:
Spinach Borek – Turkish Spinach Pie
- 125 g/ 4 oz/ 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 65 g/ 2 ¼ oz/ ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 bunch green onions about 6 thin ones
- 200 g/ 7 oz baby spinach
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- fine sea salt and pepper
- 4 large phyllo sheets 1 pack à 500 g/ 17.6 oz
- 4 eggs
- 500 g/ 17.6 oz/ 2 cups yogurt
- 60 ml/ 2 fl.oz/ ¼ cup olive oil + a little more for the baking tray
- about 1-2 tablespoons nigella seeds
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Chop the green onions into fine rings, remove the spinach stalks if too large (I don’t usually do it when using baby spinach), and chop it roughly. Place them in a large bowl, crumble the feta and grate the Parmesan on top, add the parsley and dill and some salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Beat the eggs in another bowl. Add the yogurt and the olive oil and stir well. Set aside.
- Brush a baking tray (35×40 cm/ 14×16 inch) with olive oil. Add the first phyllo sheet so that the sides of the sheet are overhanging. Brush the part of the sheet covering the baking tray with some of the egg yogurt mixture. Carefully tear the overhanging phyllo parts and place them over the brushed sheet of phyllo. Brush with yogurt mixture as well.
- Repeat with the second phyllo sheet. After brushing it with yogurt mixture, add the filling and level well.
- Place the third phyllo sheet on top, brush, and cover with the overhanging phyllo parts. Repeat with the last phyllo sheet. Brush with the remaining egg yogurt mixture. Cut the pie into squares now. Sprinkle the nigella seeds on top.
- Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden. Cover with a towel and let cool slightly. It can be served warm or at room temperature.