Mushroom Bourek (or Burek or Börek)

I have not been sharing recipes for a while, but this one reminded me of home and comfort food I grew up with, so I thought why not share it with the world! Bourek or Burek or Börek is one of the most favorite breakfast foods (yes, you heard that right – BREAKFAST) on the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Turkey… Burek is a baked pastry made of very thin layers of dough – in the US this type of dough is known as phyllo. A “pie” filling (traditionally meat, cheese, spinach (or other leafy greens like chard), sautéd mushrooms…) is placed in between the dough layers to create a very rich and amazingly delicious pie. It’s actually quite impossible to describe burek – if you have not tried it, you should, and with the recipe below now you can make one at your home!

Mushroom Bourek

What you’ll need:

  • 20 sheets of phyllo dough (about 8 oz, 250 g)
  • 16 oz (450 g) white mushrooms, diced
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red peppers
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste

What you’ll do:

  1. Prepare the phyllo dough according to the instructions on the package. For most of you who live in the US, this means leaving the dough out to thaw either in the fridge or on the kitchen counter following the directions of the manufacturer. This can take anywhere between 4 hours to overnight.
  2. Once the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  3. Prepare your mushrooms, onion and garlic by: dicing the mushrooms and the onion into small pieces (1/4 inch (0.5 cm) or so), and mincing the garlic.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil into a large frying pan and heat over medium high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until golden.
  5. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the mushrooms and cook them through, which will take about 5-8 minutes.
  7. Stir in nutritional yeast, crushed red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt and pepper and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool.
  8. Place 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 1/4 water in a bowl. They will not mix, so you will have to “agitate” aka mix the two each time before applying.
  9. Using a pastry brush, or a spoon, spread 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil around 9 x 13 in (23 x 33 cm) baking dish.
  10. Once the dish is oiled, start layering your phyllo dough sheets into the dish. The sheets are gentle, so treat them with care. Layer a single sheet to cover the bottom (you will likely need to fold it in half to fit into the dish, and that’s ok), then sprinkle with water/oil mix. To do this, use your pastry brush to mix the water/oil well then “paint” the dough layer all over. The dough should not be soaking wet, but it should be moist. Layer another sheet of dough in the same manner, moist with water/oil mixture, and repeat until you’ve used 5 sheets of dough.
  11. Once the 4th (or 5th) sheet of dough is in, you are ready to add 1/3 of your mushroom filling. Spread the filling evenly across the phyllo dough. It should cover the layer thinly. Proceed to layer the phyllo dough, 5 sheets wetted with water/oil mix in between each layer. Top with another third of your mushroom mix, topped with another 5 sheets of phyllo dough and repeat one more time. At the end, you should have a pie with 5 sheets of phyllo – 1/3 of mushroom filling – 5 sheets of phyllo – 1/3 of mushroom filling – 5 sheets of phyllo – 1/3 of mushroom filling – 5 sheet of phyllo. Make sure that the top sheet of phyllo is brushed well with the water/oil mix.
  12. Place the pie into the hot over and bake for 20 minutes then increase the heat to 425 F (220 C) and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until the top layer is crispy and golden brown (see photo). Let cool for 5-minutes before cutting. Enjoy hot for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! I like to add some yogurt on the side – it’s delicious!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2021

Easy Spanakopita Rolls


Easy Spanakopita
Easy Spanakopita Rolls, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Let me describe Greek and Middle Eastern pies. They are made using very thin sheets of dough, called phyllo dough, and than build by either interleaving layers of phyllo dough with a filling or by rolling/holding the filling in phyllo pockets or rolls. As you can imagine, these pies are diverse and varied, as many different ingredients can be made into an amazing pie filling. If you still have trouble picturing what one of these pies may look like just think of baklava, probably the most famous of phyllo based pies.

Some of my favorite phyllo pies are cheese pie, mushroom pie and spinach pie. This last one has been brought to the frozen sections of most grocery store chain in US and known as spanakopita.

Traditionally, spanakopita recipe uses spinach as a central ingredient and combines it with cheese, eggs and onions to create either a rolled or layered pie that is served both warm and cold, usually accompanied by a yogurt drink.

Now I offer you a vegan version of this pastry that uses almonds and nutritional yeast as a substitute for cheese and eggs. Here I used store bought phyllo dough sheets precut into triangles that I picked up in an Indian store. You can use any phyllo dough you like, or make your own.

The spanakopita rolls come together quickly and bake to a lovely, crispy appetizers that are easy to pass around. They are also a great breakfast item, a quick snack or a dinner add-on. As I mentioned, you can eat them hot or cold, but they are really the best served fresh from the oven as while their phyllo dough exterior is crunchy. They will get soft as they sit for few hours or overnight so if you plan to serve them the next day you’ll need to reheat them in a toaster oven.


Spanakopita Rolls

(Makes 24 rolls)

What you’ll need:

24 triangle-shaped thick phyllo dough sheets (or thinner phyllo dough sheets stacked 2-3 together and cut to triangle pieces)

4 cups frozen spinach

1 cup almonds, dry roasted

1/4 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Olive oil, or olive oil cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the 400 F (200 C).
  2. Soak the almonds in cold water for 1-2 hours at room temperature or in the fridge overnight. Drain to remove excess water, add nutritional yeast and lemon juice, and start grinding to a fine paste, adding the almond milk slowly. You may not need the whole 1/4 cup or you may need a bit more – you be the judge because what you are looking for is a nice smooth  consistency of a paste, not a sauce.
  3. Place frozen spinach in a large mixing bowl and purée using a hand held immersion (stick) blender. You can also purée the spinach in a food processor.
  4. Combine spinach with the almond paste and mix well. Add the spices and mix again.
  5. Lay out the piece of phyllo on a flat surface, spray with cooking spray, or drizzle a drop or two off olive oil, and spoon 2-3 tablespoons of spinach pie filling onto the long end of the pastry then roll towards the tip. Tuck the ends in and place on a baking sheet. I like to line my baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up, but that’s not really needed.
  6. Once all your rolls are ready, spray the tops with cooking spray or drizzle oil, and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes. You want the tops golden brown.
  7. Let the spanakopita rolls cool for 10-15 minutes and serve.


Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017