Got phyllo dough in the freezer? Time to make vegan spanakopita / Turkish ıspanaklı börek! This crispy spinach pie does not disappoint. Video with step-by-step instructions included.
Börek is a family of pastries made with flaky dough (think phyllo or yufka) and various fillings. They are truly an integral part of Turkish cuisine. You could think of them as a delicate version of Hot Pockets. We eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The varieties are almost endless; to name a few, there are:
- Çiğ Börek
- Sigara Böreği
- Su Böreği
- Gül Böreği
- Tepsi Böreği
- Göçmen Böreği
Keep in mind that each of the above can also be made with many different fillings! I wish I had access to these combinations today. In the U.S., the most famous type of börek is likely the Greek spanakopita—aka spinach pie, aka ıspanaklı börek.
Spanakopita often has feta cheese and in this recipe we are substituting it with tofu—though you can certainly use vegan feta if you have access to it. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Ingredients for Vegan Spanakopita
For the Spanakopita:
- 1 lb, 21 sheets of phyllo dough (42 half sheets)
- 1 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- nigella & sesame seeds
For the Filling:
- 3.5 cups of spinach* (~20 oz)
- 1 block of firm tofu
- juice of 1 lemon
- 5 scallions
- 1 bunch of dill
- 1 bunch of Italian parsley
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt & pinch of pepper
- optional: 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes & ½ cup vegan feta in the filling
Disclaimer: There is lots of spinach in this recipe, so refrain from consuming too much of it if you have kidney problems. Dr. Greger explains why you may want to do that in this NutritionFacts video.
How to Work with Phyllo Dough
Many are intimidated by the delicate nature of phyllo; I was also in this camp up until I was taught the right method of managing it. The key to minimizing their brittleness is to keep them moist.
Begin by thawing the phyllo in the refrigerator overnight. Right before you take it out of the refrigerator, spray two clean dishtowels with water. You can keep the phyllo between these slightly moist towels and keep it from drying out. Make sure to check and respray with water every 5-7 minutes to make sure there’s enough moisture. Don’t go overboard with the water or they may stick together.
At the end of the day, remember that phyllo is indeed delicate, and don’t worry if it tears. The taste will not be affected by that. Just make sure to have a few sheets that aren’t torn for the topmost layer. All the other layers are quite forgiving.
How to Make Vegan Spinach Pie
- Start by removing water from the spinach. The easiest way is to freeze the spinach overnight, thaw, then squeeze, or you can cook it down.
- Make the filling by crumbling the tofu in a large bowl and add the lemon juice. Set aside for a few minutes to quickly marinate.
- Mix in the rest of the filling ingredients: drained spinach, scallions, parsley, dill, garlic, salt, and pepper. Aleppo pepper flakes and vegan feta are optional.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F.
- To make the spanakopita, brush the tray with olive oil and start layering the phyllo sheets. Brush with olive oil in between each layer for maximum crispiness.
- You may have to cut the store-bought phyllo in half depending on the size of your baking tray to make them fit (mine was 8 x 11 in). If the sheets are overhanging, simply fold these leftovers back into the tray.
- Continue until half the phyllo sheets are layered. At this halfway point, add the filling. Then layer the rest of the sheets on top, still brushing with olive oil in between.
- When all the layers are complete, brush the top with olive oil and cut into rectangles, making sure not to cut all the way through. Sprinkle nigella and sesame seeds on top.
- Bake until golden brown, which should take about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Allow for it to set for at least half an hour, then cut into the pie all the way through.
- Serve with plant-based Greek yogurt, labneh, or acuka on the side.
- You can store spanakopita in the fridge for about 3-4 days, and I’d recommend using a regular or toaster oven instead of a microwave for reheating.
Watch how to make it step-by-step in this video, spanakopita starts at 1:12:
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you make vegan spanakopita! Afiyet olsun (bon appetite)!Print