Anytime I can find a way to get spinach into my diet and give it some great flavor, I am THERE! This recipe did all those things perfectly for me. Bourekas are a Middle-Eastern pastry. They are generally savory and filled with meats, cheeses and or vegetables, with either a thin pastry or puff pastry crust. This particular recipe is vegetarian, although it is not vegan since it does contain cheese and eggs. Spinach is the star of these little pastries. Part-skim ricotta and feta are used as alternatives to heavier, fattier cheeses such as mozzarella.
Each bite is flaky, light, and delicious. But since these are made to be healthier they don’t quite have a creamy filling, which is something I would have liked… to solve this problem you might want to serve them with a nice dipping sauce. Maybe like the lemon-sour cream dip suggested for the zucchini fritters I posted about here?
This recipe suggests making small, bite-sized bourekas. Honestly, I thought that was not only especially time consuming, but simply a pain in the butt. I really think that instead of dividing each batch of phyllo dough into 4, you should divide them into 2- making 12 larger bourekas, rather than 24 tiny bourekas. They’d be more similar to the size of spanokopita this way (which I happen to love too). But keeping them small does have its advantages… I mean they would make a perfect appetizer for a party that way. Especially with a dip!
- 8 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1½ tsp olive oil, plus 6 Tb for brushing phyllo, divided
- 1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
- ¼ cup part-skim ricotta
- ⅓ cup feta cheese, finely crumbled
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp oregano
- 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
- sesame seeds for sprinkling
- Rinse and drain spinach and, with water still clinging to leaves, transfer to large skillet. Cover and cook over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes, or until wilted. Cool, squeeze out liquid, and coarsely chop. (You should have 1⅓ cups).
- Heat 1½ tsp oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion, and cook 5 minutes, until tender. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes more. Transfer to bowl, and cool.
- Stir in ricotta and feta cheeses into spinach mixture. Stir in egg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment.
- Lay 1 phyllo sheet on work surface; brush phyllo with oil. Top with a second phyllo sheet, and brush with oil. Cut phyllo sheets into 4 long strips. Place 1½ tsp spinach mixture on bottom of first phyllo strip. Fold one bottom corner over filling to make a triangle. Continue folding phyllo strip over filling (like a flag) until filling is encased in phyllo. Brush top with oil, and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining phyllo, oil, and filling; sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake 15-18 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before serving.