Spinach Pies

4.99 from 419 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
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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!
5 from 419 votes
Servings 15 servings
Course Appetizer
Calories 158
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
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Video

Ingredients
  

Dough

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.

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

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Course: Appetizer

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Comments

  1. Baker says:

    Amazing

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you! So glad you liked it!!

  2. Ronnie Moses says:

    I grew up on Middle Eastern foods…spinach pies were one. Your recipe seems like hers, she would add raisins to the mix, they were delicious.
    Thanks for your great recipes & website.

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Aww I love to hear that!! Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoy my Middle Eastern recipes!

  3. Deborah says:

    I so appreciate that these are vegan Hoping I can substitute flour for gluten free blend. Any suggestions ?

    1. Yumna says:

      Hi there! I have not tried these with a gluten free flour, but I would say your favorite gluten free 1:1 flour should work out well. Or, you could just use a store-bought gluten free pizza dough.

  4. Lauraine says:

    Great recipes. Thanks. Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Yumna says:

      Hope you love it!

  5. Deborah D says:

    Can fresh spinach be used?

    1. Yumna says:

      Yes, 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

  6. Lee says:

    I want to make these with meat, what’s the amount of ground meat to add to this recipe? Thank you!

    1. Yumna says:

      Hi there! I would try with 1/2 pound of lean ground meat.

  7. Ellie says:

    Ok, mind blown! First, I’d like to apologize. I originally posted a negative review a couple hours complaining about the dough. But after I added a little more flour, it turned out spectacularly! Thank you for posting this recipe. It brought back a lot of really nostalgic memories 🙂 I made some with cheese filling and it was great!

    1. Yumna says:

      So happy it worked out well!

  8. CJ says:

    Hi,

    Can you use canned spinach in the recipe?

    1. Yumna says:

      It may work out ok as long as you remove as much excess water as possible.

  9. Carol says:

    Hi Yumna,

    Can you use active dry yeast instead of instant yeast?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Yep! You can substitute it at a 1:1 ratio, keep in mind the rise time may be slower but that’s pretty much the only change.

  10. Ferida says:

    Hi! I have made a few of your recipes and they are wonderful! Do you have a recipe for cheese fatayer?

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Thank you so much! I do not but I added it to my list, thank you for the great suggestion!

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