Burekasim are easy to make and are perfect for a light summer dinner, served with a salad, tahini and some side veggies.
In Israel Burekasim are super popular. We buy them in bakeries, by the kilo, and they are filled with different kinds of cheeses or potatoes or mushrooms or olives or or or… veganizing Burekasim is easy – we just skip the cheese!
Burekasim are originally from the Balkan area where every country has its own version of them, and just like with Couscous, that arrived in Israel thanks to the Moroccan and Tunisian Jews, the Burkeasim arrived thanks to the immigrants from the Balkan: Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria.
Funny thing is that we adopted the Turkish name Börek or Börekas in plural, but added the Hebrew plural ending (im) to the already plural Turkish name, creating: Burekasim.
My father’s family came to Israel from Thessaloniki, Greece, where “Bureka” is of course a kitchen staple and a very common food. My grandma used to make them and we called them “Burekitas”. Growing up it was my dad who was responsible for our weekly Burekasim (baked on Friday with the intention to be eaten on Saturday morning) but in the last few years my mom took over the responsibility (mainly because my dad is too busy with his Art) and she makes me a vegan tray every time I come for a visit!
Good to know:
- I use vegan Puff Pastry dough, but Phyllo dough is actually the original dough for Burekasim – both are working perfectly
- In case of guests or parties or picnics, you can make the filling a day in advance – once the filling is ready you need less than half an hour
- I like to keep the filling simple, not to go over the top with ingredients and flavors, keeping it simple but interesting
- Burekasim are really awesome once they are out of the oven – letting them cool down is important but sometimes it’s hard to wait… be careful from the hot filling please!
- Filling mix has only one rule – it shouldn’t be watery!
- Yes, there is trans-fat, like in every oily dough – but we are not going to eat 10 of these every day – all in moderation, like every other food!
- One roll Puff Pastry dough / Phyllo dough (the one I use has a picture of butter on it but it is 100% vegan)
- Filling mix (combination suggestions below)
- 2 spoons of olive oil
- Nigella seeds (if you don’t know these aromatic “black sesame” like seeds, that’s the time to buy some!) / sesame seeds
- Sweets potatoes mash with spices
- Sautéed onions, mushrooms and pine nuts
- Roasted eggplant with vegan cheese and onions
- Spicy peppers mix with tomatoes
- Spinach with soy yogurt
- Soft tofu / vegan cream cheese with olives
- Pumpkin mash with miso and maple / soy sauce
- Potatoes mash with peas and curry powder
- Prepare a bowl of your mix of choice, depends on the amount of Burekasim you want to make; for one tray a small bowl will do
- Heat the oven (200 c / 400 f)
- Open the dough (unroll it)
- Cut with into squares
- Put a spoon of the mix in the middle
- Fold into triangles
- Tightly close with a fork
- Brush with olive oil
- Add Nigella seeds or sesame
- Bake till puffy, brown and you cannot resist the smell anymore – 15-20 minutes