Rona's Favorite Healthy (And Not So Healthy) Recipes

Serbian Burek

Serbian Burek

Try saying THAT 5 times fast!  This is a dish that my friend, Jeff, made for our First Saturday dinner last month.  It’s an incredibly rich concoction akin to Moussaka and Spanikopita (but with meat).  It was delicious.  Jeff warned me beforehand, “Uhh, it’s a little rich.”  Gee, Jeff…ya THINK?!

He dared me to re-engineer it.  I did.  Some of the herbs are changed, but I felt that since the original used beef and mine uses turkey, I wanted a little extra flavor.  While I took a little liberty with the recipe, the feeling is the same, I think.  I’m including the before and after recipes and I’ll let you decide.  FYI, the difference in the fat and calories is astounding, as you’ll see.  As a matter of fact, Jeff’s recipe is divided into 12 portions and mine is only 8.

Jeff’s Beef Burek

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 75 minutes


  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 pounds ground beef chuck (80/20, not lean)
  • 1 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1-pound) package thawed #7 filo dough
  • 5 large beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole sour cream or Greek plain yogurt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large skillet, saute onion in olive oil until translucent.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until meat is no longer pink and the onions are translucent. Drain in a colander. Return meat-onion mixture to skillet and add garlic, parsley, spices, and cook for 1 minute, mixing thoroughly. Add 2 well-beaten eggs and mix thoroughly into meat until it is glistening. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Melt butter and add oil.
  4. Beat together remaining 3 eggs and heavy cream. Whisk in sour cream. Set aside.
  5. Lightly coat a 13×9-inch pan with melted butter or oil. Separate thawed filo dough and keep covered.
  6. Place 2 sheets in prepared pan and brush lightly with oil, folding in any overhanging edges.
  7. Spread the ground chuck mixture evenly over the filo and to the ends.
  8. Spread egg/cream mixture with spoon over the meat layer.
  9. Begin covering the meat with the remaining filo, again using 2 sheets at a time and brushing with oil, adding meat and cream to each layer, finishing with 3 filo sheets on top.
  10. Brush entire top lightly with melted butter. Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut burek all the way to the bottom into 12 squares or more depending on size desired.
  11. Pour cream over burek along the scored squares. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for about 15 minutes. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.
  12. This makes a great luncheon course, entree or appetizer and freezes well cooked or uncooked.

Nutritional Breakdown per 1/12 serving:

Calories: 462

Fat : 31gr

Sat fat: 14gr

Trans fat: 1gr

Cholesterol: 92gr

Sodium: 476 gr

Carbs:  23 gr

Fiber: 1 gr

Sugar: 2 gr

Protein: 22 gr

Sorry, Jeff!  That’s a lotta everything in a little bite!  🙂  Now, here’s my answer to your challenge:

Rona’s Turkey Burek



  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
  • Olive oil spray
  • Butter Spray
  • 5 sheets thawed  phyllo  dough
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup fat free half and half
  • 1 cup non fat Greek  yogurt


Preheat oven to 375. In a large skillet, saute onion in olive oil spray for about 5 minutes. Add ground turkey and cook through. Drain in a colander and return to skillet. Add garlic, herbs and spices, cooking for about 3 more. Add 3 egg whites and mix thoroughly. Remove from heat and let cool. Beat together the remaining eggs, half and half and Greek yogurt. Set aside. Spray a 3 qt Pyrex dish with butter spray. Lay 2 sheets on bottom. Spray with butter spray. Spread turkey mix on the bottom. Spoon egg/cream mixture over the top. Using 3 more phyllo sheets, cover top of the food. Spray well with butter spray, folding in the loose ends of the sheets. Let sit for about 10 minutes and then bake for about 30 minutes.

Nutritional Breakdown per 1/8 serving:

Calories: 301

Fat : 12gr

Sat fat: 4gr

Trans fat: 0gr

Cholesterol: 100gr

Sodium: 225 gr

Carbs:  11gr

Fiber: 1 gr

Sugar: 3gr

Protein: 34gr

And there you have it.  A side by side comparison.  I really like my version.  While not quite as juicy as his, it’s got a lot of flavor and is pretty easy to make.  If you try it let me know what happens!

Talk to you later,


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2 thoughts on “Serbian Burek”

  • Rona, I tried the Burek and used your recipe. I didn’t realize I had purchased Italian
    flavored ground turkey. Everything else was as you had listed. I had company for
    dinner that night to taste and we all agreed the Burek was very good.

    • Sharon, how are you?! I’m glad you all liked it. Did the Italian spices fight with the dill and chives? You can always use basil and oregano next time instead of dill and chives and I bet it would still be good! Hope all is well. Hugs to Larry. Please let me know when you’ll be back in LA!

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