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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!
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.
- 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.
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.
Tips for making the best fatayer
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Frequently asked questions
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!
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.
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.
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:
- Kibbeh Balls
- Okra Stew
- Chicken Fatteh
- Peas and Carrots Stew
- Beef Kafta
- Stuffed Eggplant
- Bulgur Pilaf
If you’ve tried this healthy-ish feel good Lebanese Spinach Pies recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!
Lebanese Spinach Pies
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.
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.