Byrek me Spinaq; AKA Burek; Bourek; Spanikopita; Spinach Pie

Byrek stack

Byrek stack

There are times when I really miss my mother’s cooking.  She makes spinach pie like this but she rolls out her own phyllo and she also makes her own cheese for the filling.  Although my mother is a great cook, she has absolutely no patience when it comes to teaching so I never learned how to roll out my own phyllo nor how to make cheese.  😦  Fortunately for us non-rollers, phyllo can be found in the freezer section of many supermarkets and there are suitable substitutes for homemade cheese like a mix of cottage and feta cheeses.

This dish goes by many names in the Mediterranean.  In Albania, it’s called Byrek.  In Kosova, it’s Burek.  In Turkey, it’s Borek or Bourek.  In Greece, it’s Spanikopita.

I adapted a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated for my version of this savory spinach and cheese pastry.  Recipe after the jump.

Spinach and Cheese Phyllo Rolls

Makes about 10 rolls

To keep phyllo sheets from drying out, cover them with either plastic wrap or two dish towels. Place a dry towel directly over the phyllo, then cover the dry towel with a damp towel.


1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

3 green onions, chopped

10 ounces frozen chopped spinach. thawed and squeezed dry

4 to 6 ounces domestic feta cheese, crumbled

1 to 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese

1 egg

Salt and pepper to taste

1 pound phyllo, thawed

4 Tablespoons butter, melted and 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

  1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix spinach, feta, cottage cheese and egg in medium bowl. Add cooked onions and season with salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove one phyllo sheet. With the shortest end of the phyllo sheet nearest you, brush phyllo with butter and oil mixture; top with second sheet and brush again.  Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup of filling in the center of the bottom nearest you. Fold up the phyllo once and then fold over the right side and then the left side of the phyllo.  Brush with butter/oil mixture and then continue rolling up like a burrito.
  4. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet and brush rolls with butter/oil mixture. Bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Spinach roll, cut

Flaky spinach roll


4 comments on “Byrek me Spinaq; AKA Burek; Bourek; Spanikopita; Spinach Pie

  1. Cookie says:

    Wow, rolling out her own phyllo and making her own cheese? Your mom is hardcore! These look great and I bet the combination of cottage and feta is yummy!

    • tortatebukura says:

      My mom is old school and prefers making everything from scratch. Other recipes I’ve seen use only feta in the filling but I find using only feta to be too salty so I use a mix of cottage and feta. I want to give credit where it’s due….my stepdaughter, Gina, took the nice photo of the rolls.

  2. rhapsodyinred says:

    Oh wow. I am definitely coming back to your blog to check for updates often. The picture of the cake in the most recent blog drew me in; your fantastic array of recipes, descriptions, and photos are making me stay.

    • tortatebukura says:

      Thank you for your kind words. I’m so glad that you liked my blog. I look forward to hearing from you again.

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