Vegetable Filo Cigars

In 2011 I was inspired by this Moroccan Meat Cigars post and made my own version with vegetables instead of meat for my German blog. What made my version Moroccan was the spice mix I used, called Marrakesh Bazaar. It contained spices like dried rosebuds, peppermint, ginger, salt, pepper and cumin. It’s no longer available, though, so I decided to make a new version using different spices.

Apart from salt and pepper, I added za’atar – although I’m not sure you can really taste it due to everything else I added – , salt, pepper, and my homemade parsley paste. The latter went quite well with my vegetable combo. I also brushed the filo with a mix of ras el hanout paste and harissa paste to add a little heat but not too much. This turned out to be a wise decision, as these two pastes went well together, and the heat was distinguishable but not really hot.

To serve, I mixed crème légère with more of the parsley paste, which made for a great dip. You could also use sour cream instead, of course, or Greek yogurt, mixed with fresh chopped parsley or mint.

All in all, this new variation turned out very well. I could imagine serving this as a starter, or on a buffet as these cigars can easily be reheated in the microwave. Definitely not the last time I made this.

All vegetables can be substituted for others that might be more to your taste, and the same goes for the spices.

Vegetable Filo Cigars

  • Servings: makes 12 - 14 cigars
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filo pastry
olive oil
1 carrot (120 g)
1/3 zucchini (70 g)
6 mushrooms (150 g)
½ red pepper (100 g)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp raw cane sugar
3 tsp parsley paste (or fresh herb of your choice)
1 tsp za’atar (optional)
ras el hanout paste
harissa paste

To serve
crème légère, sour cream, or Greek yogurt
parsley paste (or fresh herb of your choice, e.g. chopped mint or parsley)

Grate or cut all vegetables into sticks. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, add sugar, then as soon as the sugar starts dissolving, add the grated carrots. In short succession, add the remaining vegetables in this order – peppers, zucchini, mushrooms. Once the vegetables start softening, add the garlic and stir well.

Season with salt, pepper, za’atar and parsley paste, then turn off heat.

Cut filo sheets into strips of about 15 cm and brush well with oil on both sides as they will break if not well oiled.

Mix a few teaspoons each of ras el hanout and harissa paste. Brush about 1/2 tsp full onto each filo strip, then add approx. 1 1/2 tbsp of vegetables to the top end of each strip. Fold in both sides of the filo strip, then start rolling it up from the vegetable filled side down.

Brush a small baking sheet with olive oil. Place filo cigars on sheet and brush the tops with olive oil again. Bake on middle shelf at 160°C / 325°F (fan oven) for 25 minutes. Check the cigars are browning evenly, turn if necessary, and adjust cooking time if they’re too pale after 25 minutes.

While the cigars are in the oven, mix crème légère, sour cream, or Greek yogurt with parsley paste, freshly chopped parsley, or mint.

Serve the cigars warm, accompanied by the dip.