Here at the Veggie Vagabonds HQ we love experimenting with new recipes and flavours, we also hate missing out on a good thing. That’s why we’ve created this super scrummy Börek recipe which is easy to follow and is a spin on this popular national dish. Börek is loved all over Turkey and is often made with cheese and meat so we’ve switched it up and used a tofu, spinach and mushroom filling instead. This dish is full of flavours and textures making it a real taste sensation. So give this recipe a try and let us know what you think in the comments below and with the #veggievagabonds on social media!
Börek refers to a family of baked filled pastries made from think dough known as phyllo, filo or yufka. Börek is thought by some to have originated in the Anatolian Provinces of the Ottoman Empire, which is now known as modern day Turkey. Some believe that it may have been developed by the Turks of Central Asia before their migration to Anatolia in the late Middle Ages. Another theory is that it’s a descendant of the pre-existing Byzantine (Eastern Roman) dish plakountas tetyronmenmous which means “cheesy placenta”. This classical dish is comprised of layered dough and cheese and the first historical record of it is in Ancient Roman cuisine from 160 BC. Nowadays Börek can be found in many cuisines including the Bulkans, Levant, the Mediterranean, and some other countries in Eastern and Western Europe.
Wherever it came from Börek has remained a popular national dish of Turkey and can be found in various forms all over the country. A story that was first told during the Ottoman reign reflects why there is much passion behind baked goods in Turkey. The story states that Adam, the patron saint of bakers, was sent from the Garden of Eden and learned how to bake form the Archangel Gabriel. This made the Ottoman bakers take great pride in their baking and this had remained the case ever since.
Börek can come in many different forms but it most commonly consists of various meat and cheese fillings such as; Su böreği which is layers of dough, feta, parsley and oil or Paçanga böreği which is a Sephardic Jewish speciality consisting of meat, cheese, green peppers and olive oil and is eaten as a meze.
We’ve switched things up here at Veggie Vagabonds and have created our own vegan version which is a spin on this much loved historical dish. Swapping the classic meat and cheese filling we’ve made this recipe with tofu, spinach and mushroom but have kept it authentic with the addition of traditional herbs and seasoning. Börek can be prepared in a large pan and cut in to pieces or can be made as individual pastries. We have opted for the former and prepared this dish in one big pan so the Börek can then be cut in to pieces and shared around. This recipe is an easy one for you to try at home and doesn’t require lots of intricate ingredients. I used pre made filo pastry because I’m not a pastry chef but feel free to make your own!
This dish is perfectly seasoned and you can taste all the flavours coming through. Garlic and mint give this recipe it’s authentic taste and the variety of textures make it truly delicious. Now the weather is warming up, supposedly, this dish is great served with salad and enjoyed in the sun! Plus you can keep this in the fridge for up to two days to enjoy at your hearts content. Let us know what you think of this recipe in the comments below and if you give it a whirl tag us in your pics on social media with the #veggievagabonds!
Vegan Tofu, Mushroom & Spinach Börek Recipe
9 sheets of filo pastry
100 grams of fresh spinach
400 grams of tofu
A handful of fresh mint
6 cloves of garlic
2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
200 grams of mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
A generous knob of butter
Oil for frying – I used coconut oil as I always do
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
2. Heat the oil on a low medium heat in a pan.
3. Once the pan is hot crush and add the garlic, stirring occasionally.
4. Once slightly browned, slice and add the mushrooms as well as salt and pepper.
5. Whilst the mushrooms cook, prepare the rest of the filling but mixing together the drained tofu, nutritional yeast, mint, salt and pepper. Once the mushrooms have cooked add them to the bowl and mix everything together.
6. Then begin to assemble the Börek. Melt the butter in a pan and brush the bottom of a tin roughly 30cm by 26cm. Then layer 3 sheets of filo pastry and brush with butter, followed by half the tofu filling, half the spinach and 3 layers of filo. Then repeat the process again.
7. Brush the top of the Börek with butter before placing in the oven to cook for about 45 minutes.
Top Tip: If the top of the pastry starts to burn then cover it with foil.
8. Once cooked the top should be a golden brown and slightly crispy.
Serve and enjoy right away or keep in the fridge for 2 days!