Bourekas are a kind of baked pastry that’s popular in Sephardic Jewish and Israeli cuisine. You’ll find them freshly made on every other corner of Tel Aviv, just waiting to be devoured. They are made in a wide variety of shapes, with a vast selection of fillings inside the flaky puff pastry. One bite of this spinach and almond cheese-filled version fresh from the oven and you’ll surely be a fan. Reprinted with permission from The Traveling Vegan Cookbook by Kirsten Kaminski, Page Street Publishing, Co. 2021. Photo credit: Kirsten Kaminski.
Spinach Cheese Bourekas [Vegan]
For the Almond Cheese:
- 1 1/2 cups (215 g) blanched almonds, soaked in water for 6 hours or overnight, and drained
- 2 tablespoons (10 g) nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra-virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For the Bourekas:
- 17.5 oz (500 g) frozen vegan puff pastry
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 7 oz (200 g) fresh spinach, chopped
- Black pepper
For the Toppings:
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) aquafaba or soy milk
- 1 tablespoon (9 g) mixed black and golden sesame seeds
- For the almond cheese, put the almonds in a high-speed blender. Add the remaining ingredients, plus 1/2 to 3/4 cup (120 to 180 ml) of water. Start with less water and slowly add more, depending on your desired consistency. Blend until creamy.
- Use a spatula to scrape down the sides. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge to chill.
- Take the puff pastry out of the freezer and let it thaw for 10 minutes.
- Heat the olive oil in a medium nonstick pan over medium heat and add the garlic. Sauté for 30 to 60 seconds, then add the spinach. Sauté for another minute until it’s wilted. Place in a medium bowl and let it cool down a bit, then add four or five spoonfuls of the almond cheese and combine. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread out the puff pastry on a work surface and cut it into 4-inch (10-cm) squares. Set a small dish of water next to your work surface. Place about 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 g) of the cheese-spinach mixture on one side of one pastry square, toward the corner, then fold over the opposite corner so you have a triangle. Wet the edges of the pastry with water and use a fork to press them down and seal the bourekas. Place them on the baking sheet, brush the top with aquafaba or soy milk, and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
- Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Let them cool down a bit and enjoy.