Vegan Burek (Balkan-Style Pastry)

I have a weakness for stuffed pastries, especially Balkan and Turkish savory pastries such as burek and burekas. While they can be easily made with store-bought filo or puff pastry, I prefer to stay away from these options because they often contain undesirable additives such as corn starch, canola oil, preservatives, and sugar (dextrose and maltodextrin). Instead, I make this homemade Balkan-style dough, which contains only flour, salt, and olive oil. It’s pretty easy to make too.

You can fill the pastries with my vegan cashew ricotta or opt for regular feta, labneh, or ricotta. I would serve it for lunch or dinner with a crunchy salad.

The best time to make this burek is when you’re feeling restless or anxious. The process of kneading, filling and rolling will quiet your mind. To enhance the experience, play meditative music and put your phone on airplane mode. Trust me, the universe, and this pastry. By the time these golden spirals of goodness comes out of the oven, some of your concerns would seem meaningless and life would be slightly more delightful.

Vegan Burek

Easy to make Balkan-style savory pastry (but make sure to fill one or two bureks with vegan cashew paste and maple syrup for dessert). 
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour 20 minutes
Course: Breakfast, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern
Diet: Vegan
Keyword: Bread, Plant-Based
Servings: 4
Author: Shelly


For the dough

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Olive oil

For the filling

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion - finely sliced
  • A bunch of Swiss chard or collard greens or kale - thick stem removed and chopped finely
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Cashew labneh
  • ½ cup raw cashews soaked overnight
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon curry powder – optional

Sesame or poppy seeds are optional


    • Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in 2/3 cup of water. Slowly work the flour and water together for five minutes until a dough forms.
    • Divide the pastry dough in four, roll each piece into a ball and put back in the bowl. Cover with a damp dish towel, and let it rest for 20 minutes.
    • Meanwhile, make the filling: put a generous splash of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onion, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the leaves and season to taste. Cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and let it cool a bit.
    • Drain the cashews and put them in a blender. Add the rest of the cashew “cheese” ingredients. Add ½ cup filtered water and blend until smooth. Pour ¾ of the cream into the filling and keep the rest for a sweet pastry.
    • Oil the counter. Put 1 ball of dough on the counter, drizzle it with olive oil, and start to stretch it gently with your hands into a large, filo-thin circle, about 12 inches. Brush the dough with olive oil. Leaving a 2 inch gap at the edge, spoon a line of filling in a 1 – 1½ inch wide strip across the width of the pastry.
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
    • Coil one end of the rolled pastry inward into a spiral. Join the ends of the rolls by squeezing the dough together.
    • Brush with olive oil and and sprinkle sesame or poopy seeds. Bake for 30 minutes, checking every now and then, until golden brown.

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