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Spinach and Cheese Pie – Ispanakli, Peynirli Borek




Ispanakli, Peynirli borek; spinach and cheese pie

Merhaba (means Hello in Turkish);

I hope this lovely borek recipe inspires you to go back to kitchen and make it for friends and family – or why not just treat yourself?-

This wonderful pie has to be one of the most deliciously pleasing and easy borek around. If you can get yufka, fresh paper thin fresh pastry sheets, it would be best. Alternatively, filo pastry sheets for this recipe also work well. If frozen, you need to defrost them overnight in the fridge and leave at room temperature about 2 hours before using. I combine the feta cheese with mozzarella in this recipe to make it moister. At home, boreks, savory pastries are a very popular snack with ladies’ tea time gatherings and immensely popular with children too. I remember fondly looking forward to my mother’s tea parties to enjoy these tasty treats, and now my children totally love them anytime of the day.

Here’s also my YouTube video to make this delicious and easy borek:


I love our savory pastries in Turkish cuisine; boreks, gozlemes, pogacas and more; there’s a Savory Pastries chapter in my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, with all these savoury treats and regional specialties included. Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table is available to order at this link and delivered worldwide – and signed copies are now 20 % off, as a gift from us to enjoy healthy, delicious Turkish recipes at home. Also our new item, this lovely Ozlem’s Turkish Table apron, can also make a wonderful gift to a foodie. There is now lower delivery costs  of Ozlem’s Turkish Table cookery book for the US, Canada and Mexico at this link 

Delicious spinach and cheese pastry with fillo sheets; Ispanakli, peynirli borek

Delicious spinach and cheese pastry with fillo sheets; Ispanakli, peynirli borek

This borek is a great addition to a weekend brunch or a dinner party appetizer, Afiyet Olsun!

Serves 8 -10
Preparation time – 15 minutes
Cooking time – 40 minutes

150 gr / 7 oz spinach leaves
150 gr/ 7 oz feta cheese, beyaz peynir, mashed with a fork
100 gr / app. 4 oz grated mozzarella
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup / 125 ml milk
1/2 cup / 125 ml water
3 tablespoons mild olive oil
12 sheets of fillo pastry (cut in half vertically, which makes 24 sheets)
1 tablespoon nigella seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 180c/350 F/gas mark 4

Remove the stalks of the spinach, wash and chop roughly. Mix together in a bowl with the feta cheese, shredded mozzarella and two of the beaten eggs. In a separate bowl, mix the water, 1 tablespoon olive oil and milk.

Grease a rectangular baking dish with the remaining olive oil. Lay the pastry sheets along its long side and cut in half vertically. Open the sheets only when you are ready to use them and cover the rest with a damp towel so that they don’t dry out.

Lay three sheets in the greased baking dish. Pour a little of the milk-olive oil-water mixture (about 3 tablespoons) all over the sheet. Repeat this layering two more times, using three fillo sheets each time.

Lay three more sheets over and spread the spinach filling evenly. Continue laying three sheets of fillo, pouring over each the milk mixture, three more times. Lay the remaining sheets on the top of the pie, sprinkling the milk mixture. Whisk together the remaining beaten egg with a little olive oil and brush over the pastry. Sprinkle with sesame or nigella seeds.

Bake the pie in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Serve hot, cut into pieces. This dish can be successfully reheated.

Important tips: If you would like to cut back on the amount of the eggs, you can omit or decrease them in the spinach and feta filling. 2) Once cooked, if you keep the pie covered with flax or parchment paper, this will keep the pie moist. 3) This pie freezes wonderfully. Once cooled, put the pie in a freezer bag and seal. When you’d like to reheat (at 350 F for about 15 minutes), put the pie in a greased baking tray and sprinkle the top with a little milk and water mixture to give some moisture.

Afiyet Olsun,


Vegetarian Coiled/Swirl Filo Pie (Kol Boregi) and Bulgur Wheat Salad (Kisir) Zoom Cookery Class

Saturday, April 17th 2021, 6 pm – 7.30 pm (BST) 

I love our savoury pastries, boreks, with a variety of fillings, at home; I am repeating this delicious Vegetarian Swirl Pie, Kol boregi zoom cookery class, due to your kind interest. I would be delighted to see you at  my zoom cookery class on Saturday, April 17th, 2021, 6 pm – 7.30 pm (BST), where I will show you how to make this impressive and so moreish Coiled / Swirl filo pie with zucchini/courgette, dill, cheese and onions, Kol Boregi, as we call in Turkish. The class also includes one of my favourite salads, Spicy bulgur wheat salad with pomegranate molasses, Kisir, from my southern Turkish roots.

You can see the class details and registration at this link, as well as all my other zoom cookery class on offer.



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24 Responses to Spinach and Cheese Pie – Ispanakli, Peynirli Borek

  1. Adriana January 16, 2012 at 7:58 am #

    Merhaba Ozlem,

    I have been browsing your blog for a while and finally I cooked one of the recipes yesterday. The Ispanakli, Peynirli Borek. Truely, a success. My friends and family loved it.
    I’ll be trying more recipes soon.

    Cok Tesekkur ederim!

    Adriana from Romania

    • Ozlem January 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      Merhaba Adriana:)

      I am delighted that you tried the Ispanakli, peynirli borek and that you all enjoyed it, that’s one of my favorite borek recipes too. So glad it worked out for you:) There are plenty boreks, mezes, casseroles, cakes, hope they keep inspiring you:) many thanks for your comment and visiting the blog,
      Afiyet Olsun,

  2. Kalyan May 5, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    Lovely dish!! Looks yummy!!

    • Ozlem Warren May 6, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

      Thanks Kalyan, it is delicious and easy to make, hope you enjoy it : )

  3. Alida August 12, 2013 at 6:48 am #

    I really like this pie. I have a dinner party for my sister’s birthday this week and would love to make this. In Italy we find it difficult to find filo pastry especially in small towns so perhaps I could use puff pastry instead?
    Thank you for sharing this!

    • Ozlem Warren August 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      Dear Alida, I am glad you’ll have a go at the pie; traditionally it is made with the fillo sheets or the Turkish equivalent fresh yufka sheets, but if you can’t get it, sure, you can use puff pastry. You can spread the puff pastry and spread the filling over the top or you can make triange packages with filling in the middle like calzone pizza. I hope you all enjoy it! Ciao, Ozlem

      • Agape Pappas July 29, 2015 at 11:45 pm #

        Merhaba Ozlem!

        I love your sight! Please tell me though- Is there a reason why you don’t use any leeks or green onion in the typical Spanakopita ? No fresh herbs either?
        Also, is there a reason you don’t brush the phyllo with butter instead with milk and olive oil?
        Curious in Chicago:)

        • Ozlem Warren July 31, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

          Merhaba, Kalimeras Agape, many thanks for your kind note! This is a traditional recipe within my family and how we make Ispanakli borek; we would sometimes add chopped green onions to the spinach mixture but not typical. We do add chopped parsley to another filling with white cheese and we use leeks as a filling as itself with onions and cheese. Re the use of milk & olive oil, again a hand me down from my mother, she would treat her yufka, fresh paper thin pastry sheets with this mixture and it would bake like a flan, we love it. I tend to use olive oil more than butter in general, though I am sure it will be also absolutely delicious made with it: ) Wonderful to hear delicious variations as always, many thanks again for stopping by.

  4. Melanie October 13, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    Do they actually use spinach in turkey? As it tastes different fm what we get in the uk

    • Ozlem Warren October 13, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

      Hi Melanie, yes they do. Spinach, ispanak appears in boreks, in casseroles (with tomatoes, rice, onions) and as vegetables cooked in olive oil. We tend to use the stem part of spinach as well as the leaves in Turkey, so perhaps that makes a little different texture and taste wise.

  5. Naciye September 10, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    Hi there! 🙂

    Can you use baby spinach??

    • Ozlem Warren September 11, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Sure, baby spinach works perfectly, afiyet olsun!

  6. Hirar Asikyan January 30, 2018 at 1:19 am #

    Very interesting! We had this most of our younger years and remember mom making hte individual sheets then gently dipping them into very hot water to soften as she builds up the treat.

    • Ozlem Warren February 1, 2018 at 9:41 pm #

      Merhaba Hirar, thank you for stopping by – yes, my mother did a similar way too – cooking the pastry sheets over hot water is the way su boregi is made. Quite labor intensive but so delicious. This borek is easier to make with filo sheets and does bring smiles.

    • Rym May 19, 2021 at 11:31 pm #

      Omg this comforting pie reminds me of my childhood! Funnily enough you said stay safe and this was 10 years ago,all before corona!.Thank you for this recipe I can’t wait to try it looks delicious! Turkish food is the best!!!!

      • Ozlem Warren May 23, 2021 at 4:20 pm #

        Many thanks, really a delicious, easy pie – I hope you enjoy it!


  7. Gulden Smith November 30, 2019 at 7:07 pm #

    Merhaba Ozlem,

    I tried this for the first time and it tasted so good – just like my mom used to make – of course she made her own dough but it worked just as well with the phyllo dough. thank you!

  8. Kula April 23, 2020 at 12:20 am #

    Özlemciğim ellerine sağlık tek kelimeyle şahane bir börek

    • Ozlem Warren April 24, 2020 at 11:31 am #

      Cok cok tesekkur ederim, Afiyetler olsun, sevgilerimle, Ozlem

  9. Deborah Ann Taylor March 23, 2021 at 11:33 pm #

    Your recipes take me back to Turkey – the most beautiful place I have ever visited. The people of Turkey are daily in my prayers. Thank you for your wonderful cookbook and for this page.

    • Ozlem Warren March 24, 2021 at 4:15 pm #

      Merhaba dear Deborah,
      Many thanks for your kind note, so glad you enjoy my recipes and it brings happy memories of Turkey – cok tesekkurler, afiyet olsun, Ozlem


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