A classic vegetarian Turkish/Middle Eastern dish: Spinach and Feta Cheese Börek made by layering phyllo sheets with spinach and feta cheese. This dish can be made ahead and it freezes beautifully. Ready in an hour and perfect recipe for entertaining.
Living on a small island in the Caribbean, it does not feel like “it’s the holidays”, mostly because we do not have big malls or fancy restaurants that are decorated with Christmas trees with colorful lights and ornaments.
The warm weather does not help either.
I am aware that the weather up north is terrible and people are waiting at the airport for hours to visit their families for Thanksgiving. Who am I to complain???!??
I knoooowww… But, still, I cannot help but want to go to a mall, get a cup of latte from Starbucks and walk around the mall and shop for Christmas.
I should stop complaining. Because I did not even grow up celebrating Christmas. Growing up in Turkey, we celebrated bayrams (holidays). They were just as big as Christmas, where you get together with family and friends and eat a lot of food.
One dish that is very popular for those holidays is called Börek (pronounced as B-eu-reck). Börek is very popular in almost all Middle Eastern and Balkan countries. I remember my mother spending hours to make it when we have special guests coming over during the bayrams (or any other special occasion).
Börek is made by layering several sheets of phyllo dough with a mixture of milk (or yogurt), eggs, and oil in between, and is flavored by placing a filling of your choice (like this spinach and feta cheese) in the middle of those layers.
Phyllo dough (or what we call – yufka) is made up of flour, water, and oil. Homemade phyllo dough takes time, patience and skill, requiring progressive rolling and stretching to a single thin and very large sheet with continual flouring between layers to prevent tearing.
When I say it requires skill, I mean REAL skill… No joke!
Thankfully, nowadays you can easily find it in your supermarket either in fresh or frozen form. I personally like the frozen phyllo dough simply because it has a longer shelf life.
For this Börek, I used spinach and feta cheese filling but you can use whatever you want. Leftovers are perfect for Böreks. You can use meat, sausage, cheese, potatoes, other vegetables, etc.
The end result is simply delicious. It is flaky, light and filling. It is perfect for lunch with a simple green salad. The spinach and feta version is a great option for your guests who are vegetarian.
In Turkey, most people serve it with a glass of Turkish tea for breakfast. Dwight, my American husband, who visited Turkey twice, thinks that Börek is his favorite thing in the world.
So we continue the tradition and enjoy it with a glass of tea in the morning, every once in a while, when we want to have a “special” breakfast.♥
PS: If you liked this recipe, you may also like this Cheesy Parsley Phyllo Rolls recipe as well. Click here (or the photo below) to get the recipe and watch a quick how-to video.
Spinach and Feta Cheese Börek
Recipe for Spinach and Feta Cheese Borek – A classic Turkish Borek recipe made with stuffing phyllo sheets with spinach and feta.
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cook Time: 30 min
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 8
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Turkish
- 10 Phyllo Dough sheets – thawed overnight (if using frozen)
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup of skim milk
- 1 large eggs + 2 egg yolks – divided (one for the mixture – 2 yolks for the egg wash)
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- For the filling:
- 20 oz. (1 lbs.) fresh baby spinach, washed and dried ( I used a salad spinner)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt* see note
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I used black and white)
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Whisk olive oil, milk, 1egg, yogurt, salt and pepper in a bowl until combined.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan. Add the chopped onion and cook until fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Add the spinach, salt and pepper. Close it with a lid. Cook it, in medium heat, until the spinach loses most of its volume, around 5 minutes. Give it a stir and turn the heat off. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- When it cools down, using a mesh strainer, strain it from all of its juices. Place it in a bowl, add the feta cheese and stir it gently until combined.
- Line a baking sheet (mine is 12X17) with parchment paper. Lightly spray it with vegetable oil.
- Place 2 sheets of phyllo dough and brush it with 3 tablespoons of the milk mixture.
- Repeat the same process one more time.
- Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough and spread the spinach-feta cheese filling evenly leaving 1/2 inch space on the edges and corners.
- Continue with placing 2 sheets of phyllo dough and brushing it with 3 tablespoons of the milk mixture TWICE.
- Place the last phyllo dough on top and brush it with 2 tablespoons of the milk mixture.
- Cover it with stretch film, place it in the fridge and let it rest at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 F. degrees.
- Slice the borek evenly as desired. Brush it with 2 egg yolks and sprinkle each piece with black and white sesame seeds.
- Transfer it into the oven and bake until it is golden brown, 30-35 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
Note: Prior to adding salt to the filling, it is good to taste your feta cheese and determine if you need more salt or not.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 285
- Sugar: 3.1g
- Sodium: 562.2mg
- Fat: 13.3g
- Carbohydrates: 42.6g
- Protein: 12.8g
- Cholesterol: 113.5mg