This deliciously crispy Spinach and Feta Borek is one of the most popular boreks in Turkey. They are made of a delicious and lightly spiced spinach and feta cheese filling wrapped in thin yufka sheets. There are many different ways to shape these savoury Turkish pastries and this one is perfect if you just starting to work with yufka sheets.
We are sort of obsessed with borek in Turkey. We make these savoury pies for any occasion and we eat them any time of the day! They are great for breakfast as well as for lunch, dinner parties, or just as a snack on the go.
You can find borek in every bakery or pastry shop in Turkey, but here in the UK, it is not quite possible. The good news is that it is very easy to make them! You can buy yufka sheets from a Turkish or Middle Eastern shop and make your own delicious homemade versions.
What is Borek?
Borek is the general name for the crispy and flaky baked or fried savoury pies. They are the staples of Turkish cuisine and they come with a variety of fillings such as meat, cheese, potatoes, and vegetables. They are also widely consumed in the Balkans, and Middle East and now becoming popular in the western world.
Some boreks are cooked in a large pan and cut into portions after baking, or as individual pastries. There are also fried versions such as Turkish Rolls (Sigara Boregi) or Pacanga Boregi.
Why This Recipe Works?
- It is very easy to make with step-by-step pictures and instructions.
- You can serve it for breakfast, brunch, lunch or even for dinner. They are perfect for picnics, lunch boxes, party food or a snack on the go.
- They freeze well, and it is very easy to reheat them without needing to defrost.
Ingredients & Substitutes
- Yufka - These round shape thin dough parcels are easy to find online or from Turkish or Middle Eastern food shops. You can use filo pastries instead which are similar but thinner than yufka, and they come in rectangular shapes. Filo (or phyllo) pastries are available in most supermarkets and shops, and you can buy them fresh or frozen.
- Butter - Use salted or unsalted. It adds great flavour to spinach filling. Replace it with a tablespoon of olive oil if you prefer.
- Onion - They add umami flavour and sweetness to the spinach and feta filling. You can use white, brown or yellow onions.
- Spinach - Wash and dry the spinach before using it. You can replace spinach with cavalo Nero or nettle leaves.
- Feta - I prefer feta cheese made with sheep milk with high-fat content with a creamy texture. Feta cheese works perfect with spinach but you can replace it with goats cheese, cottage cheese or halloumi cheese.
- Eggs - It gives colour as well as flavour to the borek. You can omit and add extra oil and/or yoghurt to the sauce.
- Milk - Use semi-skimmed or full-fat milk. You can replace the milk with yoghurt.
- Vegetable oil - You can substitute it with melted butter, olive oil, sunflower oil or rapeseed oil. It adds an extra crispness to the borek.
- Egg yolk - It helps the pastry brown quicker and also adds crispness to the crust. Use melted butter for the top instead of egg yolk if you want a crispier borek.
- Sesame seeds or nigella seeds - Optional, they add an extra layer and texture to the pastries as well as flavour.
Making your own borek is an easy and rewarding task with a few simple tips and steps to follow:
Prepare the Spinach and Feta Filling
Melt the butter in a large pan on medium heat and add the onions. Sauté the onions until slightly brown and add the freshly ground black pepper along with the flaked chilli (if used). Sauté for a few seconds before adding the spinach. Cook the spinach for 5 minutes or until they lose most of its volume, remove it from the heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes.
When the spinach is cooled down, add the feta cheese and mix together. If you don't have or want feta cheese, you can also use halloumi, cheddar, or any of your favourite cheeses. Prepare the sauce while the spinach is cooling down. You can make the spinach and feta filling a day before and keep it refrigerated until you need it.
Prepare the Sauce and Build the Borek
While the spinach is cooling down, prepare the sauce. Place 2 eggs and 1 egg white in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Add the milk and vegetable oil, stir and then set aside. Preheat your oven to 180 °C (360 °F). Place the yufka sheets on the kitchen top and cut them into 8 triangles. You should have 24 triangles altogether. You can watch the video tutorial for more detail.
Take one of the triangles and drizzle 1-1 ½ tablespoon of the sauce. Use a brush to spread it evenly. Cover the triangle with another piece of triangle pastry, and drizzle with more sauce.
Put 1 ½ to 2 tablespoon of the spinach and feta filling on the large side of the triangle, leaving 2 centimetres on each side. Fold the outer corners over and then start rolling the pastry tightly into a rectangular parcel. Set it aside and continue with the remaining yufka and filling.
Line a baking tray with silicone paper and place the borek parcels ½ cm away from each other. Make an incision in the middle of the parcels using a sharp small knife, leaving 2 cm on both sides. Brush them with egg yolk and then sprinkle on some sesame seeds or nigella seeds.
Place the tray in the hot oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until they have turned golden brown and crispy.
For other great borek recipes why not try:
Yufka is a kind of large and round shape, thin unleavened flatbread and is usually used for making boreks, desserts, or filled pies. In Turkey, there are small shops where local women make and sell them and they are the best ones for boreks.
Filo is much tinner and they usually come in rectangular shapes. They are crispier than yufka sheets and more delicate to handle. They are great for making baklava, borek, or pies.
Yes, you can easily freeze borek. You can either prepare the borek and freeze it before cooking or you can cook, cool it down, and then freeze it afterwards. You don't need to defrost it, just straight to the hot oven and cook until golden and crispy. If you freeze after cooking, reheat them in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes covered with tin foil.
If you serve borek for breakfast, the best way to serve it is with a cup of Turkish tea! I also like to serve it with some fresh and crunchy cucumbers and juicy summer tomatoes. Other ways to serve it are with a bowl of delicious soup such as Red Pepper and Tomato Soup, Mercimek Corbasi (Turkish Lentil Soup), or Ezogelin Corbasi (Ezogelin Soup). Salads are also a great accompaniment to borek for a lighter meal option.
Why not try these lovely savoury cheese and spinach-filled pastries with some Tomato and Walnut Salad (Gavurdagi Salatasi) or delicious Greek Cucumber Salad?
Top Tip From the Chef
Always check the seasoning before adding salt to your dishes especially if you are using feta cheese as an ingredient.
I hope you enjoy the process of making this delicious vegetarian Spinach and Feta Borek as much as you enjoy eating it! 🙂
Bon appétit! / Afiyet Olsun!
Did you make this recipe?
Spinach and Feta Borek
- 3 pieces fresh yufka (they usually are sold round shape)
For the Spinach and Feta Filling
- 30 g butter
- 1 medium onion (small diced)
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon flaked chilli (pul biber) (optional)
- 400 g spinach (washed and chopped)
- 300 g feta cheese
For the Sauce
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg white (keep the yolk for the top)
- ½ cup milk
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil
For the Top
- 1 egg yolk
- sesame seeds or nigella seeds
Preparing the Spinach Filling
- Melt the butter in a large pan on medium heat and add the onions.
- Sauté the onions until slightly brown and add the freshly ground black pepper along with the flaked chilli (if used).
- Sauté for a few seconds before adding the spinach.
- Cook the spinach for 5 minutes or until they lose most of its volume, remove it from the heat and let it cool down for 10 minutes.
- Prepare the sauce while the spinach is cooling down.
- When the spinach is cooled down, add the feta cheese and nicely combine it together.
Preparing the Sauce
- Place 2 eggs and 1 egg white in a small bowl and whisk until combined.
- Add the milk and vegetable oil, stir and set aside.
Making the Boreks
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C (360 °F).
- Place the yufka sheets on the kitchen top and cut them into 8 triangles. You should have 24 triangles altogether.
- Take one of the triangles and drizzle 1-1 ½ tablespoon of the sauce. Use a brush to spread it evenly.
- Cover the triangle with another piece of triangle pastry, and drizzle with more sauce.
- Put 1 ½ to 2 tablespoon of the spinach and feta filling on the large side of the triangle, leaving 2 centimetres on each side.
- Fold the outer corners over and start rolling the pastry tightly into a rectangular parcel. Set it aside and continue with the remaining yufka and filling.
- Line a baking tray with silicone paper and place the borek parcels ½ cm away from each other.
- Make an incision in the middle of the parcels using a sharp small knife, leaving 2 cm on both sides.
- Brush them with egg yolk and sprinkle on some sesame seeds or nigella seeds.
- Place the tray in the hot oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until they have turned golden brown and crispy.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
See more guidelines at USDA.gov.
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