Savory spinach pie

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Savory spinach pie
Piece of layered variety of savory spinach pie
Alternative nameszeljanica, spanakopita, ispanaklı Selanik böreği, ispanaklı Boşnak böreği
TypeBörek (savoury pie)
Place of originTurkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, Greece
Region or stateBalkans (more broadly Southeastern Europe)
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsPhyllo, spinach (or leeks, chard, or sorrel), white cheese (mladi sir, or beyaz peynir, or feta, or ricotta), eggs, sometimes onions or scallions

Savory spinach pie is a pastry eaten throughout the Balkans. The filling is made of chopped spinach (sometimes chard) and usually feta or white cheese, and egg.

Etymology and history[edit]


Ispanaklı Selanik Böreği and /or Ispanaklı Boşnak Böreği,[1] is a Turkish savory spinach pie, or börek.[2][3] The börek gets its name from either Selanik (Thessaloniki) or Bosnia as it is widely common in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Zeljanica in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a savory pie filled with spinach, or sometime chard (in Serbo-Croatian blitva); the word burek (Turkish börek) is a pie filled with minced meat.[4][5][6]

TasteAtlas, an encyclopedia of traditional dishes, in their presentation of the 100 best pastries in the world ranked Bosnian and Herzegovinian traditional pastry dishes, putting zeljanica above burek, sirnica and krompiruša.[7]


Spanakopita (/ˌspænəˈkɒpɪtə, ˌspɑː-, -ˈk-/; Greek: σπανακόπιτα, from σπανάκι spanáki 'spinach', and πίτα píta 'pie') is a Greek savory spinach pie.[8] It often also contains cheese, typically feta, and may then be called spanakotiropita (Greek: σπανακοτυρόπιτα "spinach-cheese pie"), especially in northern Greece.[citation needed] In southern Greece, the term spanakopita is also common for the versions with cheese. A version without cheese and eggs is eaten during religious fasts throughout Greece. Spanakopita appears in many traditional Greek cookery books and appears in numerous restaurants and hotel menus throughout Greece and internationally.

Ingredients and variations[edit]

The traditional filling comprises chopped spinach, feta cheese, onions or scallions, egg, and seasoning.[9] Other white, preferably salted cheeses such as kefalotiri may also be mixed with the feta cheese, and some may be used as a substitute for feta cheese. Herbs such as dill, mint and parsley may be used as flavouring.[10] The filling is wrapped or layered in phyllo (filo) pastry with butter or olive oil, either in a large pan from which individual servings are cut, or rolled into individual triangular servings.[8] While the filo-dough recipe is most common, some recipes use a village-style pastry horiatiko, which has a thicker crust.[10] It can also be made with puff pastry. The pastry is golden in colour when baked, the colour often enhanced by butter and egg yolk. It can be served straight from the oven or at room temperature.[citation needed]

There is a "fasting" (νηστίσιμη; "nistisimi"), or vegan, version of spanakopita, eaten during Lent and other religious fasts. This version has spinach, onions or green onions, other green herbs like dill, parsley, or celery as filling and uses olive oil and a little wheat flour but no eggs or dairy products. The mixture is oven-baked until crisp. Non-traditional vegan versions are available that typically use tofu instead of cheese.[11]

In rural Greece, smaller amounts of spinach are used, with the missing amount replaced with leeks, chard and sorrel.[citation needed]

Related pastries[edit]

Börek[12][13] or burek is a family of pastries or pies found in the Balkans, Middle East and Central Asia. The pastry is made of a thin flaky dough such as filo with a variety of fillings, such as meat, cheese, spinach, or potatoes. Boreks are mainly associated with the Middle East, Armenia, and also with the former Ottoman Empire, including the Balkans and the South Caucasus, Eastern European and Central European countries, Northern Africa and Central Asia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Buğdaydan Gelen Lezzetler Börekler". Skylife (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 2021-06-26. Retrieved 2021-06-26.
  2. ^ "Selanik böreği nasıl yapılır, özelliği nedir? İşte ıspanaklı Selanik böreği tarifi". (in Turkish). Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  3. ^ "Ulu Önder Atatürk'ün sevdiği yemekler ve tarifleri". (in Turkish). Retrieved 2021-05-02.
  4. ^ Elvır Hodzıc; Stipe Majic (16 Oct 2022). "Simpatična regionalna rasprava u pat poziciji: Bio šareni, sjeckani ili buredžik, u Bosni je burek samo s mesom". Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  5. ^ "KAKO JE POPULARNO JELO PODIJELILO REGIJU: Čuj "burek sa sirom"". (in Bosnian). 18 October 2022. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  6. ^ "Mit je razbijen - burek nije isključivo s mesom!". 30 Oct 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  7. ^ "Zeljanica prestigla burek: Taste Atlas odabrao 100 najboljih peciva svijeta". (in Bosnian). 24 February 2023. Retrieved 29 January 2024.
  8. ^ a b Wright, Clifford (2003). The Little Foods of the Mediterranean: 500 Fabulous Recipes for Antipasti, Tapas, Hors D'Oeuvre, Meze, and More. Harvard Common Press. pp. 268–269. ISBN 978-1558322271.
  9. ^ Zane, Eva (1992). Greek Cooking for the Gods. Santa Rosa, California: The Cole Group. ISBN 978-1-56426-501-2.
  10. ^ a b Cloake, Felicity (22 August 2018). "How to make the perfect spanakopita". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  11. ^ Galer-Unti, Caitlin (7 May 2016). "Vegan Spanakopita (Greek Spinach & Feta Pie". Vegan World. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Home : Oxford English Dictionary". Archived from the original on 2021-09-25. Retrieved 2021-09-25.
  13. ^ "BOREK | Definition of BOREK by Oxford Dictionary on also meaning of BOREK". Lexico Dictionaries | English. Archived from the original on September 16, 2021. Retrieved 2021-09-25.