Spinach Pies

4.93 from 39 votes

This authentic Lebanese Spinach Pies recipe (called fatayer) is made with a simple homemade dough recipe and the best zingy spinach filling!

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Lebanese spinach pies, which are also called fatayer, are basically the Spanakopita of the Middle East. They’re made with a simple homemade dough recipe, stuffed with a spinach, herb and lemon filling and baked in the oven until golden and puffed. Your house will smell like the best Middle Eastern bakery!

Large platter of spinach pies with small bowl of yogurt for dipping

There are many variations of this recipe with the fatayer stuffed with hashweh (a spiced ground beef and onion mixture), or cheese. This version is vegan made with just a few simple ingredients for the stuffing. Feel free to use any store bought dough to make it faster but the dough recipe is absolutely perfect with this filling.

How to make Lebanese spinach pies

Make the dough

The dough recipe is a simple recipe similar to pizza dough, but with a little more oil. So it will be oily when mixed and this creates the better golden crust on the fatayer. See below for the dough recipe.

Prepare filling

  • Place the spinach, parsley, chopped onions, olive oil, lemon juice, sumac and salt in a large bowl.
  • Mix all the ingredients together until well combined. It helps to use your hands to mix everything well. Store in the fridge until you’re ready for it. Side note, if you have extra it’s delicious on its own!

Assemble and bake

  • Flatten each dough ball into a round shape with your hands.
  • Add the spinach filling in the middle.
  • Hold two ends of the dough and seal them together to cover the filling. Pinch the dough together to help bind.
  • Fold the last side up to meet the first two sides. Again, be sure to pinch the dough together with the first two sides to bind.
4 image collage to show how to stuff and fold the spinach pie

It’s much easier to stuff and seal the mixture in the pan that you’ll be baking the fatayer in. One standard cookie sheet can accommodate half the dough (about 15 balls). Divide the mixture into the dough and fold them right in the baking sheet for the fastest method.

4 image collage to show how to assemble the dough

Tips for making the best fatayer

  1. Remove as much liquid as possible from the spinach. Traditionally you’ll use frozen spinach for the recipe. But when thawed, it has a lot of water. Make sure to use your hands to squeeze out as much liquid as possible so the pies don’t get soggy in the oven.
  2. Allow the mixture to set. Try making the spinach filling up to one day in advance but you can even make it up to 2 days in advance. That long waiting time in the fridge really helps to soften the spinach and incorporate all the flavors well. If you’re in a bind, 30 minutes will do!
  3. Don’t roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Use your hands instead. So often, rolling out the dough changes the circular shape of the fatayer and can make them thinner than necessary. Use your hands to lightly press down on them but they shouldn’t be too thin.
  4. Spread the filling and make the spinach pie in the baking dish. Transfering the dough from surface to surface loosens it and can cause its shape to change. It’s much easier to press the dough, fill it and shape it right on the baking sheet.
  5. Make it faster using store-bought pizza dough. I will cheat sometimes and buy dough from my favorite local Lebanese bakeries and make this at home in a fraction of the time. If you can get your hands on good pizza dough, the results will still be amazing.
Large tray of spinach fatayer pies served with laban yogurt

Frequently asked questions

How long do they last?

Since the recipe is entirely plant-based, these will last for up to seven days in the fridge. Store in an airtight container and you can enjoy them all week!

Can you freeze the spinach pies?

Yes, these freeze beautifully before or after baking. Before baking, place them on a baking sheet in the freezer. When frozen, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag and keep for up to 3 months. If you’ve already baked them, you can simply allow them to cool completely and then transfer to a freezer safe container or bag.

What can I use instead of sumac?

Sumac has a lemon flavor that is very unique and difficult to replicate it. It really adds the best flavor here. Try adding lemon pepper seasoning and some lemon zest to the recipe if you can’t find sumac.

close up of spinach pies on a plate

This fatayer recipe is such a popular one in Lebanon and all over the middle east and can be customized with many different ingredients. It’s a great appetizer for a crowd, perfect for lunchboxes and makes a delicious snack.

More Lebanese recipes:

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Lebanese Spinach Pies

This authentic Lebanese Spinach Pies recipe (called fatayer) is made with a simple homemade dough recipe and the best zingy spinach filling!
4.9 from 39 votes
Servings 15 servings
Course Appetizer
Calories 158
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 50 mins

Ingredients
  

Dough

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons instant yeast 1 packet
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup olive oil

Spinach Filling

  • 1 16- ounce package frozen spinach thawed/drained
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Make the Dough

  • Combine the warm water, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Add the flour and salt and mix together until well combined. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead the mixture until sticky, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the olive oil and continue kneading until the dough becomes soft and smooth and lightly sticky without leaving any dough on your fingers. The dough will be oily.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased and allow it to proof until doubled, about 90 minutes.
  • Remove the dough and divide into 30 pieces and reshape into round balls. Let sit in an oiled tray covered until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Make the stuffing

  • In a large bowl, place the thawed spinach, parsley, onions, olive oil, lemon juice, sumac and and salt. Stir to combine until very well mixed. Set aside in the fridge until ready to use.

Assemble & Bake

  • Preheat the oven to 425ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Divide the dough into the two trays with 15 balls each separated into 3 rows of 5. Use your hands to press down on the dough to flatten them while keeping a circular shape.
  • Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture inside each circle.
  • Hold two ends of the dough and seal them together over the filling, pinching the dough together to help bind. Fold the last side up to meet the first two sides, pinching the dough together with the first two sides to bind.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
  • Serve warm on their own or with plain whole milk yogurt as a dip.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 5-7 days in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through or enjoy cold.
Make Ahead Tips: You can prepare the stuffing up to 5 days in advance because the mixture benefits from softening as is sets.
Freezing Instructions: You can freeze the spinach pies before cooking by placing them on a baking sheet in the freezer. When frozen, transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag and keep for 3 months. You can also freeze the baked spinach pies after they’ve cooled completely.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • Instead of frozen spinach, you can use 16 ounces fresh spinach. Add it to a skillet with a teaspoon of olive oil and allow the spinach to wilt completely and cook off any moisture released before removing from the heat. Cool completely and add the remaining ingredients
  • Instead of parsley, you can use more cilantro, but parsley is more traditional.
  • Instead of lemon juice, you can use 2 teaspoons citric acid
  • Instead of sumac, you can substitute lemon pepper seasoning.
Nutritional Data: Please note that the nutrition label provided is an estimate based on an online nutrition calculator. It will vary based on the specific ingredients you use. The data is estimated for two spinach pies assuming the recipe makes 30.

Nutrition

Calories: 158kcal, Carbohydrates: 22g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 485mg, Potassium: 141mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2744IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 38mg, Iron: 2mg

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Large platter of spinach pies with small bowl of yogurt for dipping

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Comments

  1. Hi Yumma,

    Haqve you or any of your users tried to make a Gluten Free dough? any recommendation is greatly appreciated.

  2. These were delicious and so easy to make. I’ll try stuffing them with ground beef next time like sfeehas. Thank you for the great recipe!!

  3. These were delicious and so easy to make. I’ll try stuffing them with ground beef next time like sfeehas. Thank you for the great recipe!!

  4. This recipe was amazing. Very yummy! A few of my pies opened up in the oven, they weren’t over filled. Any suggestions on what I’m doing wrong or what I should do?

    1. So glad you tried it! And I find that it helps to add some flour to your hands when you pinch the sides together. The flour and the olive oil on the surface create a type of glue to help hold them together.

  5. Yummy Spinach Fatayer! I made these for Eid and they turned out awesome! I’m so glad I learned this so I could make more and remind myself of home!!!

  6. The filling is fantastic! I am waiting bake but found the dough very sticky to work with. Not like pizza dough. Should I add more flour to make it more pizza dough like? Help pls! Thanks!

    1. So glad you love the filling! The dough starts out very sticky, but once you add the oil, that should take care of the problem and make it more pliable. I would not recommend adding more flour. It should feel soft and wet. I hope that helps!

  7. These unfortunately did not make the cut in my house. The recipe was really easy to follow and to make, they came out absolutely beautiful, however, nobody loved the taste of them…
    I do have to mention that we are not used to Sumac in my house and maybe the taste took us by surprise? I thought they looked so pretty though, i did freeze them and give the rest to my libanese neighbours, and i’m waiting on some feedback from them !! 🙂

    1. It can definitely come down to preferences! I’d be excited to hear what your neighbors think.

  8. Easy to make and very tasty!
    mine just didnt stick to together and opened up half way.
    but still very yummy. Everyone loved them

    1. I like to buy my dough from my favorite local Lebanese bakeries, but any store-bought pizza dough will work!