Albanian Vegetable Pie Recipe - Vegetarian Delight from Albania

Albanian Vegetable Pie

Albanian Vegetable Pie Recipe - Vegetarian Delight from Albania
Region / culture: Albania | Preparation time: 30 minutes | Cooking time: 45 minutes | Servings: 6 | Vegetarian diet


Albanian Vegetable Pie
Albanian Vegetable Pie

Albanian Vegetable Pie, known locally as Byrek or Pite, is a traditional dish that has been a staple in Albanian cuisine for centuries. This savory pie combines the earthy flavors of spinach, the tanginess of feta cheese, and the crispiness of filo pastry to create a dish that is both nourishing and satisfying. Perfect for any meal of the day, this pie is a beloved comfort food that has been passed down through generations of Albanian families.


The origins of Albanian Vegetable Pie can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, which had a significant influence on the cuisine of the region. The concept of layering dough with various fillings was a culinary technique that spread across the empire, and each region adapted it to their local ingredients and tastes. In Albania, spinach, feta cheese, and olive oil became the classic filling for this pie, reflecting the country's agricultural traditions and Mediterranean influences.


How to prepare

  1. It is recommended to use a medium-sized, round baking pan for an authentic result, but any medium-sized baking pan will suffice.
  2. Brush the baking pan with some oil, then start laying the pastry leaves inside.
  3. Begin by laying two leaves, then sprinkle or brush with oil. Repeat this process with two more leaves until half of the leaves are laid.
  4. Ensure that the leaves cover the pan by hanging them about one inch over the edges.
  5. Sprinkle the spinach with salt, then mix well by hand.
  6. Add the feta cheese, oil, onions, eggs, and salt. Spread this mixture over the already laid pastry leaves.
  7. Finish by covering the spinach with the remaining pastry leaves, repeating the first-half procedure. Roll the hanging edges of the bottom leaves over the pie, similar to a pizza crust. Sprinkle the top with oil.
  8. Bake moderately at 350°F (175°C) for approximately 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Serve hot, accompanied with buttermilk or beaten yogurt thinned down in cold water, or with chilled stewed prunes.
  10. Sometimes, a green salad can be a great addition to the meal!


  • While spinach and feta cheese are traditional, the pie can also be made with other fillings such as leeks, cabbage, or minced meat, offering a variety of flavors to suit different tastes.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure a crispy and golden crust, it's essential to brush each layer of filo dough with olive oil. This not only adds flavor but also helps the layers cook evenly. When mixing the spinach and cheese filling, make sure to squeeze out any excess moisture from the spinach to prevent the pie from becoming soggy. Lastly, letting the pie rest for a few minutes after baking will make it easier to cut and serve.

Serving Suggestions

This pie is traditionally served hot, often accompanied by buttermilk or a refreshing yogurt drink. A side of stewed prunes or a crisp green salad can balance the richness of the pie, making for a complete and satisfying meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key technique in making this pie is the layering of the filo dough, which requires a gentle touch to prevent tearing. Brushing each layer with olive oil is crucial for achieving the desired crispiness.

Ingredient Substitutions

For a gluten-free version, gluten-free pastry sheets can be used. Ricotta cheese can substitute for feta for a milder flavor, and kale can replace spinach for a different nutrient profile.

Make Ahead Tips

The pie can be assembled a day ahead and kept refrigerated until ready to bake. This can help the flavors meld together and reduce preparation time on the day of serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the pie in traditional slices, garnished with a sprig of fresh herbs for a touch of color. A dollop of yogurt on the side can add a creamy texture and a slight tanginess.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp white wine or a sparkling mineral water can complement the richness of the pie. For a non-alcoholic option, a lemon and mint infused water is refreshing.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warm throughout to maintain the crispiness of the pastry.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A typical serving of Albanian Vegetable Pie contains approximately 350 calories. This makes it a moderately calorie-dense meal, suitable as a main dish, especially when paired with a light salad.


A serving of Albanian Vegetable Pie contains approximately 30 grams of carbohydrates. The majority of these carbs come from the filo pastry, making it a good source of energy. The vegetables add a minimal amount of carbs but are crucial for the fiber content of the dish.


Thanks to the olive oil and feta cheese, a serving of this pie contains about 20 grams of fat. While this might seem high, it's important to note that the majority of the fat comes from olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats known to be beneficial for heart health.


Each serving of Albanian Vegetable Pie provides around 12 grams of protein, primarily from the feta cheese and eggs. This makes the pie a good vegetarian source of protein, essential for muscle repair and growth.

Vitamins and minerals

This dish is a good source of vitamins A and C, thanks to the spinach, and calcium from the feta cheese. It also provides iron and magnesium, making it not only delicious but also nutritious.


The primary allergens in this recipe are dairy (feta cheese) and gluten (filo pastry). Individuals with sensitivities to these ingredients should consider suitable substitutions.


Overall, Albanian Vegetable Pie is a balanced dish that offers a good mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It's a hearty meal that can fit into a balanced diet.


Albanian Vegetable Pie is a versatile and flavorful dish that embodies the rich culinary traditions of Albania. With its nutritious ingredients and satisfying taste, it's a wonderful meal to share with family and friends. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or explore variations, this pie is sure to be a delightful addition to your cooking repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

The first time I saw this recipe, I was immediately drawn to it. It was a sunny afternoon in the bustling market of Tirana, Albania, where I stumbled upon an elderly woman selling fresh vegetables alongside a stack of handwritten recipes. As I perused through the recipes, one in particular caught my eye - Albanian Vegetable Pie. Intrigued by the unique combination of ingredients and the promise of a delicious savory pie, I eagerly purchased the recipe from the kind woman.

Back at home, I carefully read through the instructions and ingredients list, taking note of the traditional Albanian spices and techniques used in the recipe. The next day, I set out to gather the freshest vegetables from my garden and local markets, preparing them with love and care as I followed the detailed steps of the recipe.

As the pie baked in the oven, the tantalizing aroma of roasted vegetables and herbs filled my kitchen, making my mouth water in anticipation. When the timer finally dinged, I eagerly pulled the golden-brown pie out of the oven, marveling at its beauty and the delicious scent wafting through the air.

I couldn't wait to taste my creation, and as I took my first bite, I was transported back to the streets of Tirana, surrounded by the sights and sounds of Albania. The flavors of the pie were unlike anything I had ever tasted before - a perfect balance of savory vegetables, fragrant herbs, and flaky pastry that melted in my mouth.

From that moment on, Albanian Vegetable Pie became a staple in my kitchen, a recipe that I would make time and time again for family gatherings and special occasions. Each time I prepared the pie, I would remember the kind woman in the market who had shared her recipe with me, and I would say a silent thank you for introducing me to such a delicious dish.

Over the years, I have added my own personal touches and adaptations to the recipe, making it my own while still honoring the traditional flavors of Albania. I have shared the recipe with friends and family, passing on the legacy of this beloved dish to the next generation.

As I write down the recipe for Albanian Vegetable Pie in my tattered recipe book, I can't help but smile at the memories it holds and the joy it has brought to my loved ones. Cooking has always been a passion of mine, a way to connect with my heritage and share a piece of myself with others. And through this recipe, I have found a connection to the vibrant culture and flavors of Albania that will always hold a special place in my heart.


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